When it comes to feeding all dogs are different, not only in their preferred foods, but also in how they eat. Some dogs struggle when their food bowls are on the floor, and many more can benefit from having their bowls raised. There are many raised dog bowls on the market, all offering different heights and types of stands, so how do you know which is best for your beloved pet? Our panel of pet experts and dog lovers have put together this list of the best raised dog bowls to help you make the right choice for your dog.
Best Raised Dog Bowls Buying Guide & FAQ
Our list shows a wide array of raised dog bowls, all with their own specific features and benefits. However, there are some key elements that are present in all the best raised dog bowls and in this part of our buying guide we explore these elements in more detail. We also explore some of the questions that elevated dog bowls may raise and provide answers that hopefully help you in your decision-making process.
What to Look for in an Elevated Dog Bowl
Elevated dog bowls differ in many aspects and there are some key features that you need to consider before you make your final decision on the right one for your pet. The main things to look for in such feeding stations include:
Elevated dog bowls are available in a range of heights and it is important to get one that is the right height for your dog. If it is too low then they will not gain any benefit from it, if it is too tall then it may add to, rather than reduce, the stain on their neck and joints. To ensure the bowl is the right height get your dog to stand upright and measure their height from the floor to the front of their shoulders. Experts such that you should then subtract seven inches from this measurement to get the height of the feeder you need.
The raised dog bowl that you choose needs to be stable and durable. If it is easily knocked over or moves while your dog is eating, then it will reduce the effectiveness of the feeding system and cause a lot of mess. Choosing a raised dog bowl that has non-slip feet helps to keep the system still while your dog is eating and helps to prevent scuffing and scratching on your floors.
Removable and washable feeding bowls are a must. The best raised dog bowls include stainless steel feeding bowls that are dishwasher safe and reduce the risk of bacteria growth over time. The material that the stand is made from is also important durable molded plastic is easy to wipe clean as are metal stands. If you choose a wooden stand then ensure that it is sealed with a water proof sealant to make cleaning easier and eliminate the risk of liquid and particles of food being absorbed into the wood.
- Number of bowls
Dogs need a source of fresh water available at all times. This is even more important if you feed them dry food. Most raised dog bowls contain two bowls allowing for food and water to be available at the right height. If you choose a one bowl system, then you need to consider where you are going to place their water.
- Bowl size and shape
The size of the bowl you need depends greatly on your dog’s eating habits, as well as their face shape. If you feed your dog smaller regular meals, then you can use a smaller bowl. However, deeper bowls are recommended for larger dogs and those with long snouts. For snub nose dogs a shallow bowl may be more appropriate.
Q: What Type of Bowl Should I Use to Feed My Dog?
A: All the bowls that come as part of the feeding systems on our list are stainless steel. There is a very good reason for this, namely they are easier to keep clean and less likely to cause allergic reactions in your dog. Plastic bowls are another common option, but they can be easily scratched or chewed, the resulting damage can attract bacteria, causing illness over time. Plastic bowls can also cause allergic reactions in some dogs. Ceramic bowls are not recommended for raised feeding stations as they can be heavy and break easily if dropped. Again, bacteria can build up in small cracks and chips.
Q: Why Opt for an Elevated Dog Bowl?
A: When dogs eat from floor leave they need to bend their head and neck to reach their food. This can put a great deal of pressure on their necks and other joints. This is a particular problem in older dogs and larger breeds. Elevated dog bowls, when at the right height for your dog, prevent this straining and relieve pressure from the joints.
Many dog breeds gulp their food, and when this occurs at the angles required for feeding from floor level, they can take in air as they eat. This can lead to digestive issues including excess gas, indigestion and vomiting. This problem can be reduced when the food is placed at the right height for your dog.
Feeding from an elevated dog bowl can also reduce the mess and spills that are a common problem when feeding at floor level. More of their food stays in the bowl and less water finds its way onto the floor, reducing the risk of accidents for both you and your dog.
Q: Do Raised Dog Bowls Prevent Bloat?
A: Many raised dog bowl systems state that they help to prevent or reduce the risk of bloat in dogs. However, there is veterinary evidence to suggest that this might not be the case.
Bloat or Gastric Dilatation & Volvulus (GDV) is a condition that involves the twisting of the stomach into the abdominal cavity. This results in loss of blood flow to the vital organs. Signs of bloat include:
- Pale gums
- Excessive drooling
- Labored breathing
- Enlarged stomach
- Unsuccessful attempts at vomiting
There are numerous things that can cause bloat, including gulping food. However, some experts suggest that raising your dog’s food so that it is closer to their mouth can also increase the risk of bloat. There are very few comprehensive studies on this area of feeding and of those that exist only one suggests that there is an increased risk of GDV. Even within this study the exact height of the bowl and the size of the dog were as much determining factors as the fact that the bowl was raised at all. Other experts consider that raising your dog’s food to a more natural height can actually reduce the risk of bloat. While there is evidence to suggest that a raised bowl can support digestive health generally, and aid with some other digestive complaints, there is little evidence available to back up the claim that raised bowls reduce the risk of Bloat.
There is no definitive answer to whether raised dog bowls prevent bloat. Regardless of how you feed your dog, you should be aware of the signs and seek medical assistance from your veterinarian if you suspect bloat. If you are unsure whether a raised feeding system is right you’re your dog, then seek advice from your veterinarian and then follow our guide to ensure you choose the best available for your dog’s specific needs.
- Raised Bowls and Bloat, PetMD
- How to Choose Dog Feeding Bowls, wikiHow
- Are Dogs That Are Fed from a Raised Bowl at an Increased Risk of Gastric Dilation Volvulus Compared with Floor Fed Dogs?, Veterinary Evidence Online