It was something about the breathing that got to me. Something about the rasping of air in and out and the whistle of his breaths while trying to eat.
Hunched down, head low to the ground and feet slipping out from under him.
A strong, powerful dog, now powerless.
It broke my heart.
Lakota was a playful, confident and proud Siberian husky. He delighted in eating, smelling the food before tasting it and sometimes dipping his nose into the bowl, looking up to smile at us before chowing down.
Lakota aged majestically, but we noticed changes in him when he was about ten years old. Like most senior dogs, arthritis set in and it became painfully evident that his inquisitive and delightful eating routine turned to frustration and disappointment.
A year later his arthritis was significantly worse and taking a toll on his diet.
Lakota is why I will forever and always feed my dogs from an elevated feeder.
Why? Simple. It changed his life.
Once we got him an elevated feeder his eating festivity returned. Lakota's smile was back. Heck, he even dipped his nose in his food again!
I firmly believe it prolonged his life and gave us a few more tender years to spend with him before his passing at 14 years old.
Why Elevated Feeders Are Perfect For Your Aging Pet
- Pets with arthritis will not have to bend over to eat and drink. Stiffness, sore joints, and pain are not only uncomfortable but a miserable way to eat meals. Raising the bowls makes for a relaxed, pleasant environment for your dog to eat without added pain and stiffness.
- Senior pets often eat and drink less than they should. Unfortunately, this means they’re not getting the nutrition they need. If dining is causing discomfort, they will eat and drink less. The ramifications of both are visible. Raising the bowls to their level encourages eating and drinking because it’s not painful or hard for them to reach.
- Dogs, as they age, tend to “lean” while eating and drinking. Many times this is subtle, but the dog’s purpose is to alleviate their discomfort. Often this is a sign of stress on their shoulders and hips. They’re hurting!
- Some senior dogs have digestion issues, which commonly occurs with our aging pups. An elevated feeder allows gravity to help get the food down to the stomach. Digestion is of vital importance if you have a dog that suffers from megaesophagus.
- Do you feed raw? Is your dog a messy eater? Elevated feeders keep the area cleaner- hands down. There is no cross-contamination with the floor to worry about, and a bonus is that it’s easier for you to bend down and feed your pup too!
The Bottom Line
It can be difficult to watch a pet age. Your once vibrant pet now casts some shadows that weren’t there before. Aging is bittersweet. We want our dogs to live as long as possible with the least amount of anxiety and trepidation.
Raised feeders can help your elderly pet live a longer, healthier, robust life. They’re perfect for reducing muscle strain and promoting digestion that’s paramount for their health and wellbeing.
I would be careless if I didn’t mention that elevated feeders are recommended by veterinarians for dogs who are susceptible to bloat, AND by veterinarians who recommend against their use. If your dog is at risk of developing bloat, contact your vet regarding the utilization of an elevated feeder. Risk factors include breed, genetics, eating and exercise habits and temperament.
What are your thoughts on elevated feeders? Do you use one with your pet?