MYTH BUSTING: "Elevating your dog's food bowl will help prevent bloat." FALSE
Many studies have been done trying to find something definitive to help prevent bloat (a life threatening sudden, severe distention and usually twisting of the stomach). Awhile ago many veterinarians used to recommend elevating food bowls with the theory that the dog would swallow less air. Unfortunately later studies showed that elevating food bowls actually mildly increases risk for bloat.
The only thing studies have definitely shown is that large breed, deep/narrow chested dogs are at highest risk. So, it appears confirmation is related. Great Danes are overly represented for reasons not completely known.
As any emergency vet will tell you, many dogs with bloat seem to present after eating and then exercising and usually have stomachs full off food. For this reason many vets recommend limiting activity for a time after feeding. However, in actuality, no studies have proven this and, like elevated food bowls, it may not actually make a difference.
One thing you definitely can do if you own a high risk breed such as a Great Dane is to have their stomach tacked to the side of the abdominal wall. This can be done at the time of spaying or neutering. It will definitely prevent stomach twisting, but not necessarily bloat without twisting. Bloating without twisting is much easier and less invasive to treat. At AVACC, stomach tacking can be done with a scope, which means only a small incision would be needed.
Call us at 208.888.0818 to find out more about this procedure and to schedule an appointment.