One great thing about being a pet parent in the modern era is the plethora of stylish accessories available to us. No longer do the leashes, beds, poop bags or water dishes we buy for our animals have to be plain and boring! There are tons of jazzy, trendy options when it comes to pet accessories. After all, why should humans have all the fun? Frannie deserves nifty dinnerware, too.
When it comes to doggie dining, many people prefer the look of elevated bowls. Luckily, elevated dog bowls and feeders abound in pet stores and on sites dedicated to all things dog. Before we show you some of our favorites, however, we’ve got to talk about a few pros and cons regarding these tall feeders.
Cons of Elevated Dog Bowls: Potential Bloat Factor
Elevated bowls have been linked to some cases of bloat. Bloat is a very unfun topic since not only can it be lethal to canines if left untreated, but veterinarians don’t totally understand the condition. What they do know is that bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with too much gas and twists around itself, sometimes taking the spleen with it. This internal expansion and rotation can cause difficulty breathing, cut off blood flow to the heart, and wreak havoc within a matter of hours (aka very bad news). The only way to fix it is usually with surgery; unfortunately, many dogs don’t survive the ordeal.
Veterinary professionals aren’t sure what causes GDV. According to one study from Purdue University of Veterinary Medicine, large dog breeds had a much higher risk for developing bloat due to the depth and width of their chest cavities. In addition, fast eaters, anxious pups, elderly dogs and elevated bowl users all showed higher incidences of bloat than other dogs participating in the study. The researchers also alluded to a potential genetic predisposition; if a dog had a first-degree relative who had experienced GDV, he was more likely to develop it himself. Much more research into this theory needs to happen before we can count on the findings, but it’s good to keep in mind, especially if considering working with a breeder when adopting a puppy.
On the flip side, this Harper Adams University exploration reveals conflicting findings between the Purdue study and other studies on GDV. While it’s possible eating too quickly or large chest cavities or elevated bowls could cause bloat, we aren’t 100 percent certain. It’s not unlikely that GDV develops differently depending on breed or individual characteristics.
One thing all veterinary professionals agree on is the severity of GDV. Know the signs! If you have a large or elderly dog and use an elevated bowl, Jerold S. Bell, DVM, of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine suggests you be on the lookout for excessive drooling and—obviously—distended bellies. Some dogs will try to vomit or burp (gross, we know) unsuccessfully, with nothing but drool pooling in their mouths. Canines can also go into shock due to the lack of air or blood reaching their vital organs. Check for pale gums and a weak pulse. When in doubt, take your dog to the vet immediately; bloat can be fatal in as little as two hours.
Pros of Elevated Dog Bowls: They Help Arthritic Dogs Eat
Pups suffering from joint problems like arthritis or Lyme disease may have trouble eating out of bowls low to the ground. In these cases, an elevated bowl can make meal time less stressful, painful and discouraging. Osteoarthritis (OA), according to Robert Downing, DVM, affects all dogs, not just large breeds or old animals. While Great Danes and German shepherds are certainly predisposed to develop OA, small and young pups can also experience joint pain and inflammation. Placing a bowl at elbow height, rather than on the floor, for a dog with OA makes eating much easier.
Elevated bowls can also streamline swallowing for dogs with megaesophagus, a condition in which the esophagus is enlarged. Megaesophagus makes it nearly impossible for animals to eat properly (because their esophagus refuses to allow food down). Changing the position of a dog as he eats may allow for gravity to coax the food down smoothly. Especially in ill or elderly canines, staying hydrated and nourished is of the utmost importance! If an elevated bowl helps, by all means, go for it. Many vets argue the pros of utilizing an elevated bowl to ease daily distress far outweigh the cons of a dog potentially developing GDV. Talk to your vet to find out whether your dog is at risk for one or the other.
Choosing an Elevated Bowl
With great variety comes great responsibility. Don’t choose an elevated bowl willy-nilly! Do some research to find the best bowl for your dog’s unique needs. Luckily, in this day and age, taking care of your pup and meeting your ideal design aesthetic are not mutually exclusive.
- Adjustability is going to be a huge selling point on many elevated dog bowls, especially if you’ve got a dog who isn’t fully grown. Find one that offers a few different heights or is customizable. Plus, if you know your dog’s breed tends to experience poor joint health later in life or your pup already has a condition that could worsen, splurge on a nice feeder with multiple height options now that you can change as needed over time.
- Stainless steel is ideal for pet food bowls. It’s easy to clean, doesn’t develop mold and is kind to pet mouths. (Ceramic works well, too, though some are made with glazes that can be toxic. Check to see what has been slathered on a ceramic bowl before buying.) Plastic is pretty much a no-go. It easily wears down and contains harmful chemicals, not to mention it can chip away, causing dogs to accidentally ingest pieces. No, thank you!
- Height, generally speaking for an elevated bowl, should be above the wrist and below the elbow or shoulder. This totally depends on your dog’s needs, so consult your vet and take a few measurements before purchasing anything. Also, keep an eye on your pup as she gets used to the new height. It’s possible raising her bowls could cause discomfort, in which case you’ll want to get back to ground-level feeding.
- Food storage sometimes comes with an elevated bowl set, but think long and hard about whether your pup will claw or chew his way into said storage.
- Note how much food or water each bowl in an elevated feeder can hold. If the height is perfect but the bowl only fits one cup of dry food for a golden retriever, you may end up delivering constant refills during dinner.
- Make sure the elevated mechanism you go with can withstand multiple meals a day, seven days a week. Some designs are sturdier than others.
20 Elevated Bowls You Can Buy Now
1. Reddy Olive Ceramic and Bamboo Elevated Pet Bowl
This mid-century-modern-inspired bowl is super cute with a glossy red and matte olive green bowl situated inside a bamboo stand. Perfect for a modern home in need of a pop of color. The only drawback could be the wear and tear on the bamboo over time (especially if your dog is a sloppy water slurper). But, the bowl is microwave- and dishwasher-safe. It also comes in white and blue if you’re in the market for some nautical colors.
2. Top Paw Scroll Elevated Double Diner
Classic black wrought iron and stainless-steel bowls make for a super-durable structure. We like the elegant loops on the stand itself and appreciate the dishwasher-safe bowls. Definitely fit for a romantic yet minimalist decor.
3. PS+ Double Diner Stainless Steel Bowl
Another black wrought iron stand, this feeder is much more ornate and would blend right in to a more traditionally designed home. These dishes do appear to be deeper, so canines like bulldogs might have more trouble getting their snouts to the bottom during mealtime. Food for thought!
4. Pet Lounge Studios Bamboo Angled Diner
Though it’s on the pricier side, this feeder looks more like a chic piece of art than a dog bowl. The bamboo is ethically sourced and coated in a water-resistant finish, which means it’ll last a long time. We’re really digging that parallelogram shape, which is perfect for any modern or geometric-themed decor.
5. Harmony Bamboo Double Diner with Ceramic Dog Bowls
For an even more modern take, try this feeder with square white ceramic bowls and a slightly more linear design. It’s also a bit closer to the ground, which works well for medium-sized dogs in need of just a little elevation. The feeding stand also has anti-skid pads on its legs to prevent everything from slowly sliding down the hall as your dog scarfs down his food.
6. Top Paw Elevated Double Diner Dog Bowls
A nice cherry-colored wood against the stainless-steel silver of the bowls and the black stand legs make this a classic, versatile design. With stands like this, consider measuring the bowls and buying replacement bowls you can switch out while the originals are in the dishwasher.
7. Harmony Elevated Dog Bowl
Similarly, this feeder offers a slightly darker wood finish with a more solid base. It also provides more of a shelf to catch any rogue pieces of kibble that may fly out of your dog’s mouth.
8. Pawfect Pets Wood Double Dog Food Feeder
Penny’s bowl may a full foot off the ground, but not even a hungry golden retriever can knock over this sturdy piece.
9. Platinum Pets Modern Double Diner Feeder
Sorry, electric purple? Corona lime? Raspberry pop!? We are here for these uber-glam elevated bowl sets! Aside from the stellar colors, these feeders are formulated with rattle-free technology, which means as your pup chows down, the stainless-steel metal bowl won’t sound like an alarm going off as it clangs against the stand. These come in multiple sizes, too, so multi-dog households can really have a field day.
10. Montana Woodworks Glacier County Small Pet Feeder
Got a cabin you like to visit with your dog BFF? This is the perfect little elevated dog feeder for an outdoorsy type with a log cabin vibe in their home. Be sure to either purchase the item pre-finished or have it finished in a sealant that will keep the wood protected from water (and your pup’s tongue protected from splinters!).
11. Madison Pet Bowl and Stand
For the Pottery Barn devotee, these elevated bowls are perfect. The materials are eco-friendly stainless steel and mango wood, which make for a clean yet rustic style we’re really digging.
12. Retra Adjustable Feeder
Inspired by mid-century design, this adjustable feeder is one of the more luxurious and stylish on our list. It’s touted as ideal for medium-sized dogs but comes with three different height settings. The acrylic panel that holds the dishes can be removed for easy cleaning and the back panel keeps food and water from going everywhere (aka your walls and floor). Definitely a chic option for the design-savvy dog owner.
13. Our Pet’s Barking Bistro Pet Diner
More affordable and just as adjustable, this feeder moves between 2.9 inches and one foot high. The style is more dramatic—that shiny black color makes an impact—and the placement of the legs themselves change depending on the height. Overall, this is a good-looking feeder.
14. The New Eight Modern Pet Feeder for Extra Large Dogs
Going for a retro vibe? You’ve got to get this feeder! It’s got hairpin legs and comes in white, black and orange—it kinda looks like something out of The Jetsons. This is a larger version of an earlier DripModule feeder made for smaller pups. This New Eight model is ideal for extra-large dogs, as the name implies.
15. Miski Loft
Colorful and modern, this cube-shaped multi-level feeder is ideal for dogs who tend to, um, accidentally spit bits from their food bowl into their water bowl. Basically, fill the higher bowl with water to keep it clear from any stray food bits!
16. Modern Dog Bowl Stand
Possibly the best option for multi-dog households with pups of various sizes, these bowls from Mr. Dog are the colorful answer to just about any decor. Choose from three heights, three wood options and seven different bowl colors (including clear glass!). Honestly, if you’ve got three dogs, you can color coordinate so you know whose food goes where. Whether they follow suit is anybody’s guess.
17. Brodie Bowl
And now, for a completely different type of elevated bowl: Brodie Bowl. This feeder includes a step for dogs to use as they eat. The bowl was designed for a sweet pup suffering from megaesophagus who couldn’t keep his food down. By elevating his front paws while he eats, he’s able to better swallow and digest. Every dog and case of megaesophagus is different, but this elevated bowl (in black, blue or pink) could be a potential solution.
18. Melamine Couture Sculpture Single Dog Bowl
For just a slightly elevated meal, grab this retro single serving dog bowl in orange or green! Melamine is an organic compound (not a plastic) and is dishwasher-safe. It also comes in a double food and water version, though this might be a bit more messy than the single serving bowl.
19. Wall-Mounted Stainless-Steel Dog Feeder
Perfect in an industrial chic loft, this wall-mounted feeder is unique and innovative all at once. It comes with two stainless steel bowls that can be adjusted along the aluminum alloy stand. Beyond that, pet parents can install the stand at any place on their wall that makes the most sense for their dog’s needs.
20. Lucite Mix-n-Match Feeders
These clear Lucite stands are perfect for any home with a delicately modern look or in need of a little less clutter. Owners can mix and match sizes for their pups depending on how many each dog (or household) needs. The feeder stands connect with strong magnets to prevent the sets from detaching.
This is just a small sampling of the many elevated dog bowls available on the market these days.
Before you click “add to cart,” remember three things:
First, tons of designers are working magic when it comes to pet feeders right now, which is awesome! Pet stuff doesn’t have to be boring. However, while a design might look awesome and match your aesthetic perfectly, make sure the materials and functionality work for your dog. A pretty bowl means nothing if your pup can’t eat properly or is at risk and in pain.
Second, when in doubt, always check with your vet before making big decisions about your dog’s eating habits or changing up a routine. They’ll definitely have more insight and expertise than, say, the scary, limitless internet.
Finally, don’t plop food down and assume your dog eats it and moves on with her day. Frannie’s eating habits can provide excellent insight into her psyche and well-being. How she eats is just as important as what you feed her, so keeping tabs on her posture, speed and consumption while eating on a regular basis is a good idea.