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D2008-08

Dear Daisy Dog

I’ve read conflicting reports on the Internet about whether it’s a good practice to elevate a dog’s food bowl to help the food go down more easily. What is your advice?

Daisy Responds

I always eat from a bowl on the floor – well, except on special occasions when Mom feeds me breakfast in bed. My retriever sisters also eat from the floor.

My brother Ollie, an Irish wolfhound, eats from an elevated food bowl, but that’s because he has a neck problem that causes pain when he stretches his neck to the floor.

Some people advocate elevating the food bowl on the theory that it reduces stomach bloating and twisting, called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).

However, the evidence doesn’t support this practice. In fact, in the only prospective study on the issue, elevating the food bowl actually increased the risk of GDV.

The study, “Non-dietary risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus in large and giant breed dogs,” published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in November 2000, followed 1637 dogs for a few years.

Six percent developed GDV.

Approximately 20 percent of the cases in large breed dogs – and 52 percent in giant breed dogs like Ollie – were attributed to eating from an elevated food bowl.

So, despite my brother’s eating style, I recommend you feed your dog from a bowl on the floor.

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