Are Dogs That Are Fed From A Raised Bowl At An Increased Risk?

A funny thing happened at the Creche today. As we are still closed due to ongoing refurbishment, I decided to feed Rhubs, my young and tall Irish Setter from a bowl on the second step of the stairs, as I had left his raised feeder at home. Rhubarb decided to climb up to the second step to eat his dinner and craned his neck downwards rather than standing at ground level and having his bowl at chest height. I looked at him enjoying his food and decided not to interfere with his preferred low level eating. I sat down to research something completely different (hydrotherapy in fact) when I came across the article below published by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons just 8 days ago. I’m putting his bowl on the floor as soon as I get home tonight!

Then I thought I’d start a new page on the website all about the latest pet good practices and research, feel free to join the conversation and email us any topics you’d like us to add.

Are Dogs That Are Fed from a Raised Bowl at an Increased Risk of Gastric Dilation Volvulus Compared with Floor-Fed Dogs?

Louise Anne Buckley

Published 16/01/2017 by Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

There are only two studies that study the effect of raised feeders on the risk of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) and their findings conflict. Only one study found a significant effect of feeder height, with large and giant breeds fed from a raised feeder being at an increased risk of GDV versus floor fed dogs. However, these authors found that, where the feeder was raised, the height of the feeder that increased the GDV risk was affected by the size of the dog. Large breed dogs were more likely to develop a GDV if fed from a bowl less than 1 foot tall, whereas giant breed dogs were more likely to develop a GDV if fed from a bowl greater than 1 foot tall.

No studies found that feeding from a raised feeder reduced the risk of GDV relative to feeding from the floor.

Therefore, the safest option in the absence of further evidence is to advise that owners of ‘at risk’ dogs feed from a feeder on the floor. This may not reduce the risk of GDV, but there is no evidence to suggest that it will increase the risk.