Should you use Elevated Great Dane Dog Feeders?

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Last Updated on May 5, 2020 by Alice Anderson

52 % of bloat patients in the Great Dane canine breed are linked to eating from raised feeders. Whether to use an elevated feeder for Great Dane or not is the most recurrent dilemma with the Great Dane parents. Numerous Dane parents elevate their dogs’ feeders. As it is generally reasoned that the large breed dogs including Great Danes are in particular need of the elevated dog feeders. Whether or not raised bowls are good for Great Danes? learn in the article below.

Dane Bowl L

The Great Dane parents use raised bowls for their puppies’ food and water between 5 to 7 months. Usually elevated feeders are only recommended by vets for older dogs. Such dogs find it difficult to reach the floor feeder as compared to an elevated feeder. 

Great Danes dogs can use elevated feeders. The raised bowls should not be too high so the dog would not gulp its food. Nonetheless the elevated dog feeders are not good for Great Danes if they are higher than 12 inches. Given the large breed dog’s high susceptibility to bloat, and the correlation between bloat and raised bowls, it is suggested to feed Great Danes dogs from floor feeders.

Raised Bowls or not?

Predominantly elevated feeders are not necessary for feeding pets. Great Danes are not different. There is a prevalent myth that raised feeders can decrease the risk of bloat in Great Danes. This hypothesis strengthens that

“The dogs when eating from floor feeders are at higher risk to develop bloat.”

On the contrary, there is an interlink between bloat and the height of feeders. Raised bowls for dogs can become a main cause of bloat in Great Dane dogs. 

According to a research on the subject, the elevated feeders can lead to bloat. Gastric Dilation Volvulus (G.D.V.) or bloat, also regarded as gastric torsion, gastric dilation or simply called twisted stomach, is a deadly condition for deep chested dogs like Great Danes.

In this medical emergency the dog’s stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by excessive gas content.

Therefore raised feeders are not suggested for Great Danes. Although, Great Dane dogs can develop bloat due to other factors as well, yet keeping your Great Dane food and water bowls lower or at floor is the most common, basic, and regular way to avert this dangerous medical emergency.

There are various studies conducted from time to time to identify factors leading to bloat in dogs. One such research conducted by Glickman which is published by Purdue institute in 2004 concludes as,

“Factors significantly associated with an increased risk of G.D.V. were

  • increasing age, 
  • having a first-degree relative with a history of G.D.V., 
  • a faster speed of eating, and 
  • having a raised feeding bowl. 

Approximately 20 and 52% of cases of G.D.V. among the large breed and giant breed dogs, respectively, were attributed to having a raised feeding bowl.”

Raised bowls are yes only when,

Dog parents including Great Dane parents at large use elevated feeders for the dog’s comfort. The dogs seem more at ease while eating from elevated feeders. As the strain in the neck decreases when the feeders at some height from the ground. 

However, the elevated feeders are not “yes” to many Great Dane dogs. These dogs’ parents consider floor eating closer to nature and safer viz-a-viz raise feeders. Moreover, vets also discourage the use of elevated feeders except for some cases.

Usually a vet would advise elevated feeder to a giant dog like Great Dane only if:

  • The dog is getting older, 
  • Or if the dog having medical conditions.

How common is bloat in Great Danes? 

According to a research conducted by Purdue study. Bloat is revealed as the top most killer of the giant breeds like Great Dane dogs. 

The breed with the towering percentage probability of bloat is the Great Dane. The dogs are 42.4% more prone to die of bloat than any other breed’s dogs out there.

Out of every 42 Great Dane dogs that develop bloat, 17 die with the condition. Bloat might be an unusual condition for but not with the Great Danes. Bloat in Great Danes is quite common. Consider, in recent years 4 to 7 of every 100 Great Danes admitted to veterinary teaching hospitals had gastric torsion. 

Another study infers as follows, 

The occurrence of bloat is 6% more common for large breed dogs as compared to small breed canines. Other studies also substantiate the recurrence of bloat in Great Danes.

Are elevated dog feeders good? 

Yes elevated dog feeders are good but only in some peculiar circumstances.

Elevated dog feeders are good for the dogs suffering from bone related ailments. Given, the prevalence of Orthopedic diseases in large breed dogs, many find elevated dog feeders good for their dogs. Various neck and vertebrae problems could get worse if the dog continues to eat from the floor.

In intestinal diseases dogs develop difficulty in eating and swallowing food lower floor feeders. Therefore, elevated feeders are good for dogs to help them digest the food properly.

Benefits of elevated dog feeders

Above all an elevated dog feeder is employed for the dog’s comfort. The dog can get its food from an agreeable distance making its neck either strained or stressed.

Consider the Great Dane dogs huge and gigantic presence, the raised feeders have become more of a prerequisite. The Great Danes eating from raised food and water bowls are found eating with more convenience viz-a-viz the Danes eating from the floor.

Raised food and water bowls are user friendly. Keeping the eating area clean. Also the feeders are stationed and organized making feeding easier.

Do raised feeders cause bloat?

Raised feeders can cause bloat. The dogs eating from elevated dog feeders have increased probability towards bloat. Alluding to Glickman bloat study,

“Approximately 20 and 52% of cases of G.D.V. among the large breed and giant breed dogs, respectively, were attributed to having a raised feeding bowl.” As suggested by Glickman bloat study. 

This study also contradicted a popular fallacy that elevated feeders can reduce bloat occurrence. The research inferred as follows;

“One traditional preventative has been to raise the height of food and water bowls, but this was found to actually increase risk by 110 percent. This correlation of risk was verifiable; the dogs of the breeders in this study did not have close relatives that had experienced bloat.”

Height of an elevated dog feeders

The studies conducted on bloat in Great Danes also recorded the occurrence of bloat in relation with height of an elevated feeder. The authors found an interesting relation between height of feeder and bloat. If the height of an elevated feeder is less than 12 inches the dog’s latency to bloat gets reduced. In this situation there are minimal chances for the Great Dane or any other large breed dog to develop bloat.

In case you feed a large breed dog from an elevated dog feeder

The height of bowl can influence the risk of bloat notably. Particularly large breed dogs if fed from an elevated feeder of height more than 12 inches, the likelihood of developing bloat increments on 3.6% as compared to the dogs that eat from bowls placed at lower height. 

Vs

Whilst the giant breed dogs like Great Dane dogs would not hold any risk to develop bloat if feeding from an elevated feeder at a height less than 12 inches.

Also 

The dogs eating from a bowl 12 inches high were 2.29 times more susceptible to experience bloat viz-a-viz dogs that eat from floor feeders.

Dane Feeding

How high should I elevate my Great Danes food? How tall should i raise a dog feeder be?

The suggested height of an elevated Great Dane feeder must be less than 1 foot. The occurrence of G.D.V. in Great Danes is more when the water and food bowls are raised more than 12 inches. 

Consider, the height of an elevated Great Dane dog feed ought not to be too high. If the dog’s food and water bowls are raised too high it could become a contributory cause to bloat. 

Whereas for large breed dogs it is recommended to raise the dog’s feeder at 12 inches or more.

Tips to help decide on how high should I elevate my Great Dane’s food? 

Following are some things to keep in mind while deciding on height of a raised feeder;  

  1. Raised or elevated dog feeders must not be too high.
  2. The height ought to be such that the head of the dog has to be downward.
  3. The dog’s head must be at least a couple of inches lower than its shoulder.
  4. The optimum height of Great Dane elevated dog feeder must be less than 1 foot. 

Research 

A study conducted on the height of dog’s food and water bowls and its effect on giant breeds concluded that

The height of feeder that increased the G.D.V. risk was affected by the size of the dog.

For the giant breed dogs like Great Danes the risks of bloat increments if the dogs are fed from bowls more than 12 inches tall. 

Risk factors leading to bloat 

Eating from a height or from ground is not the only risk factor links with the Great Danes bloat episode. In fact, dogs can suffer from bloat due to other causes besides feeding from a raised feeder. The Purdue Bloat study researchers found the occurrence of bloat in Great Danes has the following risk factors involved: 

Age

Older Great Dane dogs are an increased risk of getting bloat. The prevalence of G.D.V. in older dogs is more than in younger canines. The study inferred the following interesting statistics; 

  • The likelihood of bloat becomes more than double as the dog enters into the age bracket of 7.0-9.9 years in comparison with the dogs aging between 2.0-3.9 years.
  • The occurrence of G.D.V. increments on 3 times when the dog enters its tenth year.

Body proportion and physique

A dog’s physique and body proportion are also considered possible risk factors of bloat. 

  • A lean dog is more prone to bloat viz-a-viz a muscular bodied canine. This is also linked with the empty space in the abdomen of a lean dog viz-a-viz no space or less space in the abdomen of a muscular dog. As it is already taken up with the consumption of fats.

Note,

This can not conclude that the fat dogs are healthier than lean dogs. 

Similarly the dogs with more space in their chest can experience bloat more than dogs without extra room. The deeper the chest the more the air as with the increase in space in the chest the level of air also increases.

  • The Great Dane dogs have deep chest hence are more susceptible to bloat. Moreover, the other deep chested dog breeds both purebred and mix breeds are at an increased risk to experience G.D.V. The study on the subject highlights;

That the dogs having deeper chest i.e more width to depth ratio can suffer from bloat more commonly than the dogs having smaller chest. Even if both the dogs belong to the same breed. The dog with deep chest is at more risk of bloat than dogs with small chest. 

Family history 

If a Great Dane dog has a close relative that suffered from bloat episode, the dog is at more risk to experience bloat as compared to a dog with no bloat history in relatives.

Nervousness or hyperventilation

Nervous, excited, or hyperventilated dogs are at more risk to experience bloat as compared to relaxed and composed dogs. As the greedy eaters swallow air with the food.

Swallowing air (aerophagia) has long been suspected as a risk factor for acute bloat, but since acute bloat strikes without warning, it would very difficult to demonstrate a relationship. 

The situation may be different in dogs with frequently recurring gastric dilatation or chronic volvulus. 

Voracious eaters

The dogs having a penchant for voracious eating are at risk to tolerate bloat. This theory is backed by the research performed at the University of  Utrecht.

In 1987, Drs. van Sluijs and Wolvekamp at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, explained 6 giant breed dogs with many (3-10) episodes of bloat or gastric dilatation in which gulping air down “had apparently become a habit and a major cause for their illness.” 

In 5 dogs, that are voracious eaters as mentioned by their owners, bloat was reported after eating. 

The remaining 1 dog also suffered from bloat another dog also had dilatation between meals during episodes of nervousness and hyperventilation. Symptoms included belching and flatulence in all 6 dogs, vomiting in 4, and diarrhea in 2 of those with vomiting.

Tips to help reduce bloat in a Great Dane dog

Only a Calm and relaxed dog can eat

Teach your dog to be relax if it want to be fed. Excited dogs usually devour their food which can lead the dog to experience bloat. Calm handling can reduce the chances to swallow air for dog. 

Raw diet vs dry dog food

Type of food has an influence on the condition. Great Dane dogs can develop bloat if fed only dry dog food or kibble. That is why solely commercial kibble dog food recipes might not be the best choice for a Great Dane dog. 

Therefore, it is recommended to switch to raw diet for your Great Dane dog. 

If you are reluctant to a complete change of diet than at least supply your Great Dane dog with supplements like fish, eggs, cheese, or coconut oil. These foods can reduce the risks of bloat in Great Dane dogs notably.

Gastropexy 

Bloat prevention surgery can be found helpful in protecting the Great Dane dogs. According to bloat studies the recurrence rate of gastric dilatation-volvulus is reduced drastically by Gastropexy.

Neuter or spay

Another study regarded sexual organs as probable risk factor of bloat in dogs. As there existed a significant interaction between sex and neuter status. The study found out that the sexually intact females hold the highest risk for bloat.

It might be a good choice to consider neutering or spaying your dog. In addition to other benefits it can also reduce the risk for GDV.

Training to avert bloat

Greedy or voracious eater dogs can be trained to forego the behavior. Behavioral therapy can significantly change this habit of a dog. If your Great Dane dog is also a greedy eater, resorting to following techniques as a part of behavioral therapy can help. 

  1. Give food to the dog with your hands. In this way you can control the dog’s pace.
  2. Right away appreciate the dog, if it is accurately handling its food.
  3. Discourage the dog when behaving otherwise. You can nudge the dog’s nose the moment you feel it is eating voraciously.

This behavioral technique efficaciously trained a 5 month old Saint Bernard. At the beginning of training the dog suffered from gastric dilation due to its greedy eating habits. In 14 days the dog was already trained on the proper food handling which can avert aerophagia in dogs. 

In the course of 6 months the dog became fine with no more bloat episodes. 

Myths

The most prevalent hypothesis concerning bloat proved nothing more than myths. As no evidence was found to support those theories during various bloat studies.

  • The myth that having a meal right before or after exercise can cause bloat, proved wrong. This point substantiated by statistics of the dogs bloated in mid night with an empty stomach.Other myths that are found baseless are;
  • There is no link between vaccinations and bloat. 
  • Any particular brand of dog food can not cause bloat. 
  • Water intake after or before eating whether its volume or timing can not initiate bloat episode in dogs.

Factors of bloat

The study on bloat as of now, provide us with a list of risk factors that collectively represents a typical dog with the tendency to experience bloat or G.D.V.

  • Age 
  • Deep and narrow chest
  • Leanness
  • bloat occurrence in family
  • Dry dog food
  • Gulping food which can be due to a single large meal
  • Nervousness or hyperventilation
  • Raised feeders
  • There are two main studies as of now that analyse the effect of raised feeders on the possibility to experience bloat. Unfortunately both studies contradict each other. Moreover, one research discusses the effect of feeder height on the occurrence of bloat. The giant dogs fed form raised food and water bowls are at more risk of bloat than dogs eating from floor feeders.

What the researchers neglected?

At a perusal the studies conducted until now on Great Dane bloat appear erroneous. The researchers neglected some points while giving a final word on risk factors for bloat in Great Danes. For instance,

  • The famous bloat study performed by Glickman is merely based on numerical evidence rather than resorting to scientific method of research. The absence of any control group or experimental evidence also highlights the research’s failures. 
  • The main contributor of the numbers and statistics were dog parents personal experiences. Moreover, the whole research was based on the surveys performed on people who were already feeding their bloat susceptible dogs in elevated feeders. Therefore, the study was not more than a collection and evaluation of data and statistics. 
  • The study was not complete as the group of people surveyed during the research were already using raised feeders. 
However 

No studies concluded that raised feeders for Great Danes can decrease the chances of bloat or G.D.V. viz-a-viz feeding from the floor. Hence the least harmful way, given to the lack of concrete evidence for Great Dane dog parents is to feed from water and food bowls placed not too high from the floor. Although this might not lessen the risk of bloat, yet it would not strengthen the bloat probability in Great Dane dog. Alluding to the evidence provided it can be forwarded floor feeders can not cause bloat in dogs. Moreover, raised feeders for Great Danes are suggested if the dogs are suffering from some ailment.

 

References

https://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/

 

https://www.veterinaryevidence.org

 

https://avmajournals.avma.org/

 

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