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Discussion Starter #1
I had previously read that using an elevated feeder helped reduce bloat. Then today I read an article that said the raised feeders contribute to bloat. Which is it? What is the point of the raised feeders if they don't reduce risk of bloating?
 

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I don't know about the bloat issue, but supposedly they help the dog's posture and lower the risks of back and neck problems since they aren't leaning over much. I'm not 100% sure on that. Maybe someone else knows more than I do.
 

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I have always heard that it reduces the risk of bloat in large breed dogs. I feed my FCR on a slightly elevated surface, but its mostly to keep my little pek out of his food :rolleyes:

BTW I love that you are from Plano. I grew up in Allen, and not a day goes by that I don't miss the DFW metro area. I would literally KILL for a slurpee and some Taco Bueno. Its been 9 years since I have had either lol.

Forgot to mention: We feed our big guy a food with smaller kibble, because I have read from a number of pretty reliable sources to avoid large kibble for large dogs that eat fast, because of the extra air they take in. I am unsure if this is 100% true, but I know that some of that "large breed" kibble is HUGE, and I could see theoretically how quickly eating such large bits of food could be a problem. And anyone with a hungry LB dog knows that they don't chew, just swallow lol.
 

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I'm guessing you read an article that referred to the Perdue study that found a slight increase in the rate of bloat using raised feeders. And I mean slight. I don't recall the exact number, but it was a percentage of a percent increase. There were some other factors that I think skewed the study - mostly the fact that the study used show dogs, which have higher stressers than most pet dogs (stress is not always a bad thing, stress is just stress). They also tend to have smaller gene pools and hereditary issues for some of the breeds.

Anyway...bottom line for me (it's been a couple years since I've read the Perdue study so I don't recall all the details, only my personal conslusions/interpretations from reading it)...raised feeders may *slightly* increase the risk of bloat, but I don't think it's significant enough for me to worry about. Raised feeders are more comfortable for my crew - especially the seniors.

I think there are other more serious contributing factors to bloat - including genetics, exercise after eating and stress. Two of which we can control and one (genetics) which we may not be able to. Personally, I think genetics is huge in the risk of bloat, followed by stress and then exercise. Though, that opinion is based purely on anecdotal evidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Well I went back to do some more research, and this thread is one of the first 5 in google results. Kinda funny.

This website says the raised feeder increases the risk of bloat by 110%
Published in November 2000: Glickman LT, Glickman NW, Schellenberg DB, et al. Non-dietary risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus in large and giant breed dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000; 217:1492-1499.
http://www.raidthewind.com/bloat.htm

And here is a forum with a bunch of info on the various factors in bloat:
http://www.boxerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67610

Which basically says:

The following things lead to increased risk of bloat:
dog aging (older dogs are more prone to bloat)
raised feeder (110% increase)
first-degree relative with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
eating large volume meals (which means rather than offer several small meals a day, try using a high-quality food where you feed half the volume in each meal)
eating dry food containing:
- fat in the first 4 ingredients (170% increase)
- citric acid, and the food was moistened when fed (320% increase)

The following things lead to decreased risk of bloat:
eating dry food containing meat meal with bone in the first four ingredients (52% decrease)
slow the speed of eating (there are bowls made to help with this)

Interestingly enough the new study showed that resting after exercise and eating did NOT play a significant role. But I would think it's no harm in doing that anyway. :)


I hope this might help other people, I am saving this information for my classes.
 

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You need to know what the original data was - if the original risk for bloat was .1%, then 100% increase is .2%. Still an extremely small risk. Someone telling you the percentage increase really doesn't tell you much at all.

eta: I would also add that one study does not make something fact or "certain." Theories typically need multiple studies to rule out possible bad methodologies, participant pools, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For people who own those breeds I'd think any risk is worth doing something about, isn't it? If you go read those articles it has other numbers such as 30% of the bloat cases were related to the fat in the first 4. That's still valuable even if only 1% of these dogs get bloat.

Especially if the feeders are marketed as something that reduces the risk when in fact it is the opposite. It doesn't matter if it's 1% risk to 2% risk, it's still a risk that can be avoided.

Also there were 3 different studies by different groups referenced in the various links I posted.

What I find interesting is that I and a lot of other people thought it reduced bloat. Where did that idea come from? Is there a study that shows that? I can't find it.
 

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AFAIK, the Glickman et al study IS the Perdue study. I'm not aware of any others that have been done since. Would be interesting to see where they are from and who did them, the methodology, etc...As I said before, if you don't know the original data, a percentage increase tells you nothing because you have no reference from where you started.

There is an increased chance of your dog dying in a car accident riding in a car than if you were to just walk him everywhere. I would guess the increased risk is significant. Would you refuse to take your dog anywhere in the car because that's a risk you can eliminate? Sure, it may take you longer to get places, but you eliminate a possible life-threatening risk.

Of course not. Risk is relative and is always weighed against real life probability. And when reading a study, one must always remember that correlation is not causation.

Just came across this link...not a study but very well reasoned and practical.
http://www.greatdanelady.com/articles/on_my_soap_box_purdue_bloat_study.htm

I own quite a few large, deep chested dogs. I have no problems feeding on the floor or feeding in a raised feeder. The risk of bloat in greyhounds is extremely low as to be virtually unheard of - either at the track (fed on the floor) or in homes (pretty common to feed in raised feeders). My practical experience it combined with my interpretation of the Perdue study causes me to believe the link of raised or not to the instance of bloat is so low as to be insignificant unless other factors are present.

If I had a dog that had previously bloated or had a strong genetic predisposition for bloat, then I might feel differently.

eta: I had always heard that a raised feeder reduced the risk of bloat too. I can't say that I've ever seen a study that shows that...it's probably just anecdotal "dog knowledge" passed from one person to the next.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you walk everywhere there are risks associated with that. Your analogy isn't that great though. It's more like driving on dry roads vs. driving in the rain. If it's thunderstorming, I won't take the dog out with me in the first place. Problem solved.

My point was that I'm wondering where the idea came from that the feeders REDUCE the risk when the studies I can find show the opposite. I'm not saying don't use them - I'm saying why does everyone say they help reduce bloat?

I guess the various studies are by the same group (perdue) but over several years and different data groups.

You already said you need to know the original risk, and I answered with I think it's about 1%, and it's still important to some people that it goes from 1 to 2. I'm not asking about the feeders because I had nothing better to do, I am asking because people with these breeds (great dane) in my class, wanted to know if the feeder is good or bad.

Now, if eating off the floor caused a much larger risk of something ELSE for large dogs, that would be valuable to know. Is there something that shows a great dane will hurt itself eating from a low feeder? If not, I would say a 2% risk of one thing compared to 0% risk of another is important. If there is a 5% risk of something bad from the low feeder, than use a raised one.
 
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