Raised Dog Bowls: Should You Get One?
by Dr Vivian Loren on Jul 04, 2023.
Raised dog bowls have started popping up more frequently in pet stores and online. Why this all off a sudden? Is it just a fad or is there actually more to switching to an elevated dog bowl for your dog?
While to some they may seem like an unnecessary luxury, there's a range of potential advantages and disadvantages to using them that every pet owner should know.
The Concept of Raised Dog Bowls
Raised dog bowls, also known as elevated feeders or elevated dog bowls, are just as the name implies. Instead of your traditional floor-level dish, these bowls are raised off the ground and positioned at a height that much better aligns with the natural walking position of your dog, whilst eating.
They come in various designs - some with adjustable heights, some fixed, others with single or dual dishes. In terms of material, the majority I have come across are stainless steel, but the frame tends to vary from wood to hard plastic or metal.
The idea behind their design is to create a more comfortable and healthy eating experience. However, as with any product, not all dogs may need or benefit from them. This would mainly depend on individual factors such as your dog’s breed, size, age, and health conditions.
This raised dog feeder pictured above will set you back about £65!
The Pros of Raised Dog Bowls
Improved Dog Posture
Traditional floor-level bowls often require dogs to stoop or bend down to eat. This position can lead to unnecessary strain on their neck, back, and joints. This is particularly the case in larger dogs who have to bend down further! You may find that elevating their dog bowls also improves their posture.
Improved Digestive Health
By allowing dogs to eat from a position that's more akin to their natural stance, raised bowls may also improve digestion. They help reduce the air intake during eating, which might lead to less bloating and discomfort. This should be particularly of note if you find your dog to be bloated or complaining of tummy problems often.
Cleaner Feeding Area
With bowls positioned off the floor, there's less chance of food and water spillage. This not only keeps your feeding area cleaner, saving you time, but can also help prevent the growth of bacteria on the floor around where your dog is feeding.
Comfort for Older or Dogs with Arthritis
Older dogs, or simply those with health conditions affecting their joints may also find an improvement in posture beneficial. Essentially, raised dog bowls promote a more upright and natural eating posture which in turn can reduce this physical strain on the neck.
Better Hygiene and Pest Control
Elevated bowls make it harder for pests like ants or roaches to get into your pet's food. If you live in the countryside or warmer climates where rat or mice infestation may be a problem, a raised dog bowl will also help!
Additionally, since raised bowls are often easier to clean, you can help maintain a higher standard of hygiene for your furry friend.
Last but not least, it also means you don’t need to bend down as low to pick up the bowl in the first place - helpful for those of us with an achy back!
The Cons of Raised Dog Bowls
Potential Choking Hazard
Some veterinarians and experts warn that eating from a raised position could potentially increase the risk of choking. This may be more so the case in greedy eaters who tend to eat too fast e.g. labradors, we know where you’re at! It's essential to monitor your dog's eating habits if you choose to use an elevated bowl and see if you notice any potentially problematic changes.
Raised dog bowls are often more expensive than traditional ones. Depending on the design, material, and quality, some raised bowls could significantly impact your pet care budget. However, if you do your raised dog bowls research right and get a high quality one, then this would last you for a very long time!
Less Suitable for Puppies
Puppies, especially of smaller breeds, may have difficulty reaching bowls that are too high. However, that’s perfectly fine. You don’t need to get a raised dog bowl for them until they grow big enough to need one. As they grow, you may also decide to get one of those raised dog bowls with adjustable leg so you can adjust it to their comfortable height as they grow.
Whatever you do though, please make sure you don’t force your puppy to use a dog at an elevated height higher than what they are comfortable with. Doing so might impact their feeding habits in a negative way.
Raised dog bowls are generally less portable and require more space than traditional bowls. If you're traveling or have limited space, this could be a significant disadvantage.
Advice for Dog Owners on elevated dog bowls
If you're considering transitioning to a raised dog bowl, it's vital to consider your pet's individual needs. As mentioned above, factors like your dog's breed, size, age, and health should guide your decision.
Only you can weigh the pros and cons and decide whether it’s worth trying an elevated dog bowl or not. If in doubt, you could also ask for your vet’s opinion and they may be able to guide you or advise further. While there are clear advantages to using raised dog bowls, they aren't suitable for every dog.