Are elevated feeders good or bad for dogs?


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Our question this week was:

Hi Dr. Debra,

I have a question for you, which came to mind when reading your article on how to prevent bloat. I have heard that elevated feeders are very good for dogs – they help with digestion, among other things. You noted in #2 of your article on Gastric Torsion (Bloat) that in order to avoid the bloat, avoid elevated feeders. I have a golden retriever. I just bought a slightly elevated feeder (she still has to bend down, just not as much). I am wondering if this is good for her or not. Will you please let me know?

Thank you very much!

Lisa Thaden - Wilmington, NC


Hi – thanks for your email. Elevated feeders can be beneficial for dogs with back or neck problems, however they have been associated with an increased risk of bloat. I have never found that they aid digestion.

If you use the feeder, I'd recommend that you do everything else you can to minimize the risk of bloat by re-reading the article you mentioned – Risk Factors and Prevention of Bloat in Dogs.

Personally, unless there was a medical reason such as megaesophagus, risk of aspiration pneumonia or severe neck issues, I would not use and elevated feeder.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.