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I recently had a dog that we had to put to sleep because of his stomach flipping (on peteducation.com you could learn more about this subject).

I have been reading into many different causes and suspected causes. While there are a lot of unknowns, the one that is consistently brought up is eating out of raised bowls.

I have read multiple sites that speak about dogs eating out of raised bowls - that is, bowls on a stand or ledge about 6-16 inches (15-40 cm) above the ground - versus bowls that are sitting flat on the ground. Various sites state that it is better for dogs to eat out of raised bowls as it decreases the danger of bloat and stomachs flipping. At the same time, others state that it increased the danger of bloat.

My question is simple:

Is it better to have my dogs eat out of raised bowls or have the bowls sitting on the floor?

  • It may or may not be significant that no wild dog gets a raised eating surface... – keshlam Oct 21 '16 at 3:58
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From searching the internet, it appears that many of the sites that identify raised bowls as a risk factor are run by veterinarians, and do refer to a scientific study that supports that idea. Here is one veterinarian's blog addressing the issue.

But all of the sites seem to agree that this is only one of many factors that raise the risk of bloat. My veterinarian always encouraged at least two meals per day for my large dogs, and more frequent smaller meals are safer. I also use a "Slow-down" feeding bowl like this one. According to my vet, bloat is most likely after a dog eats a big meal very quickly. The elevation of the bowl appears to be another contributing factor, but all risks should be considered together.

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I own and work with giant breed dogs who are prone to bloat (Great Danes and mastiffs). I lost my mastiff to bloat last year, it's a horrible thing to go through.

Preventing bloat is a multifaceted problem. Many studies have come out the last few years realizing that the raised bowls actually contribute to bloat (they used to say the opposite), so if that is something you are worried about I would definitely go with a NON raised bowl.

The most important factors though are making sure your dog doesn't gulp their food, and making sure they do not do strenuous exercise for at least an hour before AND after eating. Slow feed bowls are amazing tools - I have lots of them! Snuffle mats are also fun for dogs (these here: https://www.amazon.com/PAW5-Snuffle-Encourages-Foraging-Washable/dp/B01N1FV55I), as well as puzzle toys. I personally have the Kong Wobbler (https://www.kongcompany.com/wobbler), the bamboo feeder ball (https://www.kongcompany.com/dog/material/polytuff/bamboo-feeder-ball), and the kibble nibble (https://store.petsafe.net/busy-buddy-kibble-nibble) for my dogs. They've held up well and fit an entire meal into!

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