Should You Be Using Raised Dog Food Bowls? Here’s What You Should Know

There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether or not raised dog food bowls are dangerous for your pet…

And with these new, trendy bowls on the market, it’s hard to know what to believe. 

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of using these types of dog food bowls, so you can make an educated decision when it comes to your own dog.

Let’s begin.

Should A Dog’s Food Bowl Be Elevated?

Many veterinarians believe that raised feeders are a safe and comfortable way for your pup to eat…

But not all vets agree.

When the first raised dog food bowls became widely available, it was thought that they may help reduce the risk of bloating in larger breed dogs.

However, this claim is now seen as flawed… and it may even have the opposite effect for some bigger breeds.

Why Do Raised Bowls Cause Bloat?

Bloat (or gastric dilatation-volvulus) is a medical emergency in dogs.

It happens when there isn’t enough room for the stomach to expand, causing your dog’s abdomen to literally twist itself… and it can become fatal in very little time.

Some of the symptoms that you may notice include:

– Vomiting without being able to bring anything up (retching).

– Labored breathing.

– A distended abdomen or your dog’s belly sticking out more than it should be.

If your pet is experiencing any of these things, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.

One of the key issues here is how elevated dog bowls make it easier for your dog to eat… and for large or giant breeds, this isn’t always a good thing!

In fact, some larger dogs can develop problems with their when food is consumed too quickly.

When this happens, your dog is at a much greater risk of developing bloat.

When Are Elevated Dog Bowls Better?

But just because elevated dog bowls aren’t necessarily best suited for large breeds who eat too quickly, it doesn’t mean they don’t have other benefits to offer.

For example, elevated dog bowls can be fantastic for older, senior dogs… simply because it puts less strain on their joints.

Some dogs have joint problems which make it hard to bend over to eat from a low-lying dog bowl.

By raising the height of your dog’s food bowl, you can help these dogs still get all the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Are Raised Dog Bowls A Good Choice For Small Breeds?

When it comes to small breed dogs, elevated dog bowls can have both benefits and drawbacks.

While they allow your pup to eat comfortably, they may also encourage them to eat too fast.

Some dogs who are used to eating from raised bowls will simply put their head down and inhale their food when they get a chance.

This doesn’t give them the time they need to realize that they’re actually full… and it can also lead to bloat (as we discussed earlier).

Does My Dog Need A Raised Food Bowl?

Again, the main thing you need to keep in mind is the size, age, and temperament of your dog.

Smaller dogs often do well with raised dog food bowls… but if your pet has a history of putting on weight or is overweight already, it’s best to avoid them.

Older dogs with joint problems are also good candidates for raised dog bowls… but young, active pups probably aren’t.

How Raised Should My Dog’s Bowl Be?

When it comes to the height of your pet’s food bowl, there isn’t one ideal number that will work for every dog.

You’ll need to find the perfect balance between your pet’s needs and their preferences.

Most dogs prefer to have their bowls raised 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) off the ground, but this will vary depending on the overall size and height of your dog.

Some large dogs should have their food bowls raised higher to prevent them from putting pressure on their lower backs. If you’re not sure, speak with your vet about what may work best for you and your dog.

How Can I Tell If My Dog’s Bowl Is The Right Height?

The easiest way to see whether your pet’s current food bowl is the right height is to watch them as they eat.

Try to see if their body starts to vary from a comfortable position. If it does, you’ll need to adjust their dog bowl’s height – either by raising or lowering it slightly.

It can also be helpful to take some measurements of your dog (like the length of their legs) and use this to determine how high your dog bowl will have to be in order for it to be at the right height.

If you want to make adjustments, here are some things you can try adding a little bit of food in the bowl at a time until you see your dog starts eating more comfortably.

Once you start making adjustments, take note of how your pup reacts.

Are they more comfortable?

Do they seem to be eating faster, or slower… and with less strain?

Keep an eye on your dog’s body language to see if you can recognize any patterns.

If they seem happier in general, then it’s likely you’ve found the right food bowl height for them.