The land of doggie parenthood is filled with all sorts of interesting decisions. Among the long list of canine supplies you need to acquire, you will have to decide what kind of food bowl to buy your boxer. This includes size, material and whether or not it’s raised.
To Raise or Not Raise
Bringing the food bowl off the ground puts the food closer to the dog’s level, making it easier to eat and aiding digestion. Since your boxer is a large-chested breed, his body holds a distorted position if he eats from a bowl on the ground. It raises the risk for bloat, also known as gastric dilation-volvulus.
What is Bloat?
This condition occurs when your boxer's stomach is distended while eating, allowing for gas or air to enter the stomach. If the stomach twists (torsion) because of his eating position, the blood going to the heart can get impeded. This will cause blood pressure to drop, and he can go into shock or even die.
What To Do
Elevate his food bowls, first of all. If you boxer can belch out the excessive gas or needs to vomit after eating, by all means let him. This can help reduce the risk or symptoms related to bloat. You should also let his food digest before you allow him to run around.
Regardless of whether you use a raised bowl or not, you should be on the lookout for certain warning signs. If your pooch seems restless or lethargic, depressed, weak, has tried to vomit but couldn’t, has pale or discolored gums, is bloated in the abdominal region, is looking for a place to hide, licks the air, has a weak pulse or a racing heartbeat, is panting or drinking excessive amounts of water, seek immediate vet intervention. In extreme cases of bloat, surgery is required to relieve the problem. The gut might twist, the esophagus may get closed off and lower, or even completely stop, the dog from being able to relieve the symptoms. The spleen may even get entrapped during severe cases of bloat.
Choosing a Raised Food Bowl
There are plenty of choices when it comes to food bowls. The best choice for this large dog breed is one that is about a foot or more off the ground. Of course you don't want one that is higher than his shoulder level. Since he will gnaw away at cheap or weak materials, you should choose a stainless steel or sturdy plastic bowl. Boxers tend to avoid chewing on the stainless steel variety, and these can be sterilized. The elevated bowl holder should be made of a sturdy material, as well.