Q. Is raising the dog’s food dish good for dogs? Is there any research on this topic?
A. The current thinking regarding elevating food bowls for dogs is that it is not necessary, and may be harmful. There are several medical conditions, however, that do warrant feeding from a raised food bowl.
The first is megaesophagus, a neurologic disorder where the muscles of the esophagus do not correctly squeeze food down into the stomach, so the esophagus remains full of food. In dogs with this condition, there is a risk of aspiration pneumonia, where food inadvertently goes down the trachea into the lungs. Feeding a gruel-like diet at a raised height may help the food use gravity to slide into the stomach.
Dogs who have neck pain or disc problems in their cervical (neck portion) of their spinal column also may be uncomfortable eating off of the floor level, and may be more comfortable eating from a height.
There is no other research that shows any benefit to feeding dogs with a raised bowl. In a study of risk factors for gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV), a twisting of the stomach that requires emergency surgery, elevated feedings were shown to slightly increase the risk of GDV.
You may read a lot of information on the Internet regarding elevating feeding bowls, but much of it may be based on speculation and misinformation, so be cautious when considering electronic information.