Is it better to feed your dog from the floor or a raised position? There’s been a long-standing controversy over the benefits and dangers of feeding dogs from raised food dishes. Talk to two different experts and get two different answers. The fact is, no study has really come to any definite conclusion as to whether one type of dog dish is better or worse than the other, but here are a few pros and cons of elevated vs. floor feeding so you can make an informed decision for what’s best for your pet.
Pros of Raised Food Dog Dishes
- Ease of access – Elevated food bowls allow aging and arthritic pets to reach their food more easily. Eating from a raised dish puts less strain on the dog’s back, neck, shoulders and hips. Some suggest it also makes for better digestion as the posture when eating promotes food movement from mouth to stomach. As a pet owner, you also have easier access to dishes when it’s time to fill them.
- Cleanliness – Because the dog is able to reach his food better, he is less likely to be sloppy while eating. Dogs are less likely to “play” in their water and you won’t need to get on your hands and knees to scrub the feeding area as often.
- Dishes stay where you put them – Raised dog dishes stay where you put them – no more sliding around the floor or being carried off as a chew toy. You always know where the dishes are.
Cons of Raised Food Dog Dishes
- Expense – Raised dog dishes are more expensive than conventional feeding bowls.
- Health Risk – Potential cause of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus commonly know as Dog Bloat or Twisted Stomach
Dog Dish Controversy
Here’s where the controversy comes in. While some vets recommend raised feeders for large and giant breed dogs because studies have shown they aid in proper eating and digestion, other experts say feeding these large breeds from raised dishes may actually cause more harm than good.
The risk factor in question here is bloat. It’s no secret that large and deep-chested breeds are at greater risk for developing the condition, but the jury is still out on whether the type of dish you choose to use to feed your pet has anything to do with increasing that risk. Bloat is highly treatable if caught quickly, but it’s definitely a killer. Vets fight the condition on a regular basis and still have no definitive clue as to why it happens in the first place. All you can do as a responsible pet owner of a large breed dog is follow your vet’s recommendations – feed small portions twice daily and avoid exercise just before and just after eating.
As to whether you should use an elevated dog feeder… All I can say is talk to your vet and use at your own risk. Maybe some day someone will prove once and for all whether we should or shouldn’t be using these convenient feeders for our pets.
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