Does Your Pet Need Elevated Food Bowls?
For cats and dogs with arthritis or mobility issues, this can reduce strain on their joints during meal time.
At mealtime, most of us opt to place our pet's food bowls on the floor at a lower level position. This is fine for younger or smaller animals that don't have to dip their necks too low to reach their food, however, it's not optimal for all animals. "There are a variety of reasons you may want to consider using an elevated food or water bowl for your dog or cat," says Dr. Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart's resident veterinarian and pet care expert. "Not only can elevated feeding bowls be more comfortable for your pet by reducing any strain they may be experiencing from having to bend too far down to get to the bowl, but they may also help to discourage unwanted bowl tossing behaviors."
The Benefits of Elevated Bowls
Elevated food bowls, at their higher level, promote ergonomic positions for animals. You can find bowls that come in a different elevation heights and angles, so the one that you choose depends on the size of your pet and what benefit you want to give them. "This may be a good option if you have a senior pet who may be experiencing arthritis or neck and back pain, if your pet tends to move the bowl around during their meal, or if they like to dig or paddle in their water bowl," Dr. Freeman says.
Other pets have a tendency to play with their food or swish water around with their paws when it is located too close to the floor. Many elevated food bowls include a way to secure the bowl in place so that the temptation to move it around is greatly reduced, or eliminated altogether.
For Dr. Freeman, the choice is simple: "I like PetSmart's Top Paw Adjustable Elevated Double Diner Pet Feeder ($39.99, petsmart.com) since it has the ability to adjust to your pet's height for optimal comfort," she says, adding, "but ask your veterinarian which type of bowl may work best for your pet based on their height, breed, behavior and any medical conditions."
Your veterinarian can customize their suggestion for your pet's specific needs. However, we sourced a few other elevated feeding stations that could provide relief for your pets. For cats, the PetKit Elevated Cat Bowls ($22.99, amazon.com) allows your cat to get to her food without straining her neck or back; the 15-degree angle also allows for reaching food at the very bottom of the bowl and prevents spills. For dogs, the Super Design Elevated Dog Feeder ($44.94, amazon.com) is a non-slip melamine bowl with a higher edge on part of the rim to prevent food spilling. Alternatively, the Pet Zone Designer Diner Elevated Dog Bowl ($26.95, amazon.com)—outfitted with double stainless steel bowls—can be adjusted to three different heights, designed to grow with your dog.