Raised or not

It's another controversial subject; there are those who are for and those who are against.  I'm with the "against" side.  Over the years raised bowls have gone in and out of fashion.  The first time I heard anything about raised bowls was more of a; it's just what you do if you have a tall dog.  Anything over 20" I think was considered "raised bowl," material.  There was really no explanation other than the fact that the dog was tall, using a raised bowl was bringing the food up to them.  Mny folks ran out and bought raised bowls.  Mind you that was a very long time ago.  Since then I have heard several reasons why you should but always used my own experience to guide the way for my own dogs.

I always tend to look at the way it is in nature to guide me.  Surely; not all answers are found there but when I look at a pack of wolves eating, it gives me a good idea.  I have always thought that if our dogs want to lay down and eat, they can.  Tilley use to eat laying down when she was young; then she sort of got over it but has now resorted to laying down again.  Luke stands and Jessie stands.  Given bones Tilley immediately lays down, Luke is about 50-50 and Jessie the same, half standing and half laying down. 

I think the moment that sealed the deal for me as far as NEVER using a raised bowl was watching Luke drink.  I have a portable bowl that I take on walks and Luke loves to drink.  If I hold the bowl up off of the ground I can literally hear the air going into him as he drinks.  I am very careful now to keep the bowl on the ground or close to it.  Once the air goes in I can hear it gurgling around in there.

Some of the reasons that have been stated for using a raised bowl are:  neck strain, bloat, ease of eating, save wear and tear on the pasterns (basically ankles.)   Again; I think if they want to lay down they can.  Of course this is my opinion and as I have tried to talk to others about the subject; it is obviously a controversial one.   Everyone needs to do what they feel best for their dog; I choose to feed them without the aid of a raised bowl.  I also like to toss their food around the yard, use it for training and hide it.  If they do eat from a bowl and they often do; it is on the floor.  Like everything having to do with dogs; I have done my research and come up with the best recommendation for my dogs and myself.  Research is essential, everyone should dive in and read up. 

Here are some good articles on the subject; there are many more so have a look around and do what you feel comfortable doing.

Vet Info website on bloat

Great article on bloat

Another controversial article on the subject


  1. Nice blog. After research that I did when I first got Pierre, I too also decided not to have raised bowls.

  2. Bloat Study at Purdue said bowls on ground. Major Assignment: Breed better dogs that don't bloat and don't encourage the condition with raised bowls.
    Julie Borst Reed, Tiara Std Pdls, La Jolla, CA
    A Message to Dog Owners from the Director of the Purdue Bloat Research Program Dr Glickman can be found in
    Excerpts from Purdue Bloat Notes found at

  3. Murphy and Sophia's MomThursday, May 19, 2011

    My feed and water bowls are from "the neater feeder" I do not use the extended legs. The bowls are off the floor but only 6". Murphy used to fall asleep in his water bowl...so this helps with that...and I feel it is not really raised enough to harm...A happy medium...lol. they do get their home cooked meal nightly on plates that are served on the floor. thank you for this blog. I agree research is key!

  4. I totally agree with you. I too, after much research, feed on the floor, no raised bowls here. I too have found that raising the bowl causes much air to be ingested, and in the hopes of avoiding bloat, down the bowl goes. In the wild they would be eating on the ground and I try to keep as close to natural as possible.

  5. I had a Standard Poodle who bloated twice so after reading the same studies that Julie referenced, I stopped using the elevated bowls too. He never bloated again but I had his stomach tacked and changed his diet and made sure he wasn't active after eating so don't know if it was a coincidence or if it helped.


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