Every dog owner wants everything to be right for their dogs. Whether it can be food or food eating habits, every owner wants things to be perfect to make his dog healthy and happy. There are many dog accessories that have flooded the market to satisfy the owner’s intent to make his pet happy.
We have come across Elevated bowls for dogs to feed them in a different way. But it is important to consider the pros and cons of elevated dog feeders before using them for your dog.
Pros and Cons of elevated dog feeders
How does a dog eat its food in the wild? From the ground or from a table? Nature has designed its body system to eat food from the ground by bending its neck. As dogs are carnivores they have a tendency to eat cautiously by protecting its meal from other preys. Eating in a standing position ensures that it can easily protect its food from other animals. In a standing position, it can easily attack its opponent or carry away its food to another place immediately. So even if you observe the stray dogs most of them eat standing unless if they are some kind of bones. In case of bones, they prefer a sitting position while this position ensures holding the bone properly between its paws.
Remember one thing, your dog will be healthy if its eating and way of eating are closer to the way nature has designed it to be.
Elevated dog bowls- What are they actually?
In our houses, we generally feed our dogs in bowls placed at a ground level. But elevated dog bowls are bowls which are placed at a higher level than the ground surface. They come in various heights, shapes and claim certain health benefits.
Most of the elevated dog bowls come in a height which is approximately parallel to your dog’s shoulders and does not strain your dog while eating its food. Many pet owners who are fascinated with its claimed health benefits stopped using normal bowls for feeding their dogs. But it is essential to understand the whole picture and find out the truth, Are elevated dog bowls good or bad?
Benefits of Elevated dog bowls
Firstly let us have a look at the pros of using these bowls
1. Useful in conditions like Megaesophagus
Megaesophagus is a medical condition in which the esophagus becomes enlarged and it becomes difficult for the food to reach your dog’s stomach. As the food and water are not pushed into the stomach, the esophagus becomes fully enlarged.
Labradors are one of the breeds that are at risk of developing this disease. Using elevated dog bowls can help the food to pass easily as there is no difficulty in travelling of food from the ground level.
2. Other medical issues like Arthritis
If there are any medical issues that are interfering with your dog’s normal movement to reach the floor level your Vet may prescribe an elevated bowl for feeding your dog.
Dogs with arthritis, neck injuries and other inflammatory conditions cannot reach the ground easily and reaching the ground surface can be quite painful for your dog. In such cases using an elevated bowl can ease the pain and help your dog to eat its food easily. It is always essential to discuss if there is any necessity of using an elevated bowl for your dog for a particular medical condition.
3. Healthier posture for some dogs
If your dog is a large breed like the Labrador, your dog needs to stretch its neck a lot to reach the food on the ground. Even though dogs are quite comfortable eating in head down posture, this might not be the same case in all dogs.
Eating food in head down posture may be difficult for some dogs which are old and suffering from conditions such as joint pain and mobility issues. Elevated bowls can be of great help to such dogs
Although elevated bowls have certain benefits, it is necessary to consider the side effects and disadvantages of these raised dog bowls before using it for your dogs.
Cons of elevated dog bowls
Have you heard of Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)? This GDV is an emergency medical condition where your dog’s stomach is filled with excess gas and gets twisted. This is also commonly known as bloat. Bloat can usually occur when your dog eats very quickly and ingests a heavy amount of air along with food.
The origin of elevated dog bowls came up with the idea of reducing the risk of bloat in dogs. In the past, elevated bowls were believed to minimise the risk of developing bloat. But latest studies indicate the opposite and indicate that an elevated dog food bowl caused risk of bloat. Hence it is necessary to understand that there exists a strong correlation between elevated feeders and bloat.
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed that elevated bowls may increase gastric dilation in dogs. This is especially true with respect to deep chested dog breeds such as the Labrador. Studies indicate that in 20 per cent of cases among large breeds and 52 per cent of cases among giant breed, there exists a direct correlation between bloat and raised food bowls Hence elevated food bowls especially for large breed dogs is undesirable.
Elevated dog bowls for Labradors
Finally, if you want to feed your Labrador in an elevated bowl, there are both pros and cons. If your dog is a deep chested breed like Labrador the disadvantages of using an elevated dog food bowl will outweigh the advantages.
Suppose if you have a dog breed with minimum risk of bloat and suffering from joint issues. You can feed him in raised dog food bowls to ease its condition.
It is important to consult your Vet in case of changing the type of dog feeder. Depending on the breed and condition of the dog on a case by case basis a wise decision need to be taken whether to use or not use an elevated feeder for your Dog.
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