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What are the Pros and Cons of Elevated Dog Food Bowls?

Are you using a raised food bowl for your dog? Or intend to use one? As concerned pet owners especially to large breed dogs and cats each one of us have used or thought    about using elevated feeder bowls. It definitely looks and feels hygienic and makes life easier for large dog owning folks with their pooches not swimming in their food.


However some recent studies point out to it being the cause of a life threatening condition termed Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), in simpler words called bloat. Dogs such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, Saint Bernard, Irish Setters and other large breeds are prone to this disease.
A large dog that has a distinct v shape (in the front view) to its chest will have a higher chance of developing bloat.
How does an elevated dog food dish can cause bloat? Well It’s because a raised feeder encourages the pooch to eat at a faster than normal pace. Secondly, results in the dog to breathe in more air than necessary. These above two causes are the main culprits for the “Bloat” Condition in dogs.


Let’s first have a dekko at some of the reasons that prompt vets to recommend pet parents to adopt the use of elevated feeders:

Older cats and dogs suffering from arthritis, pain in the neck and backaches benefit a great deal from the raised feeders as they do not have to bend over to eat food or drink water. Sore joints and muscular pains make it a very difficult and painful experience for pets to bend over. There is a direct correlation between age and diet of dogs and cats. The diet decreases with increase in age and if they have to constantly bend for eating and drinking then the pain might get in way causing them to avoid any activity that causes discomfort. This might further lead them to eat and drink less thus causing a severe lack of nutrition. Talking about aches & pains even pet parents can fall prey to this with frequent bending for refills and a raised feeding bowl will offer them much comfort as they need not bend very far to fill up or lift up (for cleaning) the feeding dishes.


Raising the food and water to a higher level to reach your beloved cat or pooch can help tackle Megaesophagus. Also referred to as ME, this condition causes the esophagus to become enlarged and loose. Esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach; its muscular contractions push the food down into the stomach. But in Mega esophagus the food fails to reach the abdomen and rots in the Esophagus. This may also lead to regurgitation or the food might enter the lungs through breathing.
Elevating the food and water using an adjustable dog food bowl stand will allow gravity to push the edibles.

Raised dog bowls help maintain cleanliness around the feeding spots in the house. Pet parents benefit a great deal as it saves them the hassle of continuing mopping. An elevated dish will put off your pup to swim with its front paws in the bowl of water and prevent a cat from playing in its drinking water. When the water spills it gets under the dish and this moisture can lead to the growth of bacteria. The use of elevated cat/dog feeder will curb this issue and help build hygiene.

Although a raised water bowl and dog food bowl has positives, let’s ponder upon an unfavorable condition arising from the use of elevated dog feeders: A raised feeder may expose large breed dogs to the risk of developing GDV (Bloat). This causes the stomach to swell and twist around its small axis and demands immediate attention/medical treatment. Gastric rotation causes obstruction to the veins in the belly and harm to internal organs, damage to the cardiovascular system, shock and low blood pressure.

Dr. Lawrence Glickman’s who is with the School of veterinary medicine, Purdue University has conducted a study on the eating habits and its consequences on Large and Giant breed dogs and regarding the non dietary precautions to be taken in avoiding Gastric Dilatation Volvulus.
The research pointed out a 110% increase in GDV due to the use of raised feeders. It was also deduced that roughly 20% of GDV in large breed dogs was caused by a raised feeding dish and the estimation was a whopping 50% in giant breeds. Although the study findings are still informal and without substantial deductions but it has definitely dispels the misconception that dog dishes placed higher than ground level prevent bloat.

Got questions about the right dog food bowl for your pooch? Mail us at or post your comments/queries below.


With over 15 years of experience in dealing with pets, the PetsWorld Team is now a constant guide for thousands of pet owners in India. Their passion for improving the lives of pets can be seen in their featured blog posts dedicated to pet care.

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  • Wiz Sage

    I have three GSDs and for them I got a customised dog feeders with three bowls each. This really helped them in not fighting for food and other behaviour, can sumone suggest if I should keep using the raised dog bowl or switch back to the basic one?