If your pet loves mealtimes, and you love keeping your pet happy and healthy, you may want to consider providing your special pal with a raised food bowl. Raised food bowls can make feeding easier for your cat or dog while resulting in less of a mess for you to clean up afterward. But you don't have to spend lots of money on a fancy "designer" bowl assembly. Check out this quick guide for making a raised food bowl for your pet.
Potential Benefits of Raised Food Bowls for Cats and Dogs
Some pets have an easier time eating out of bowls than others. If you own a flat-faced pet, for instance, he or she may need to have its food bowl raised closer to its mouth. Raised cat food bowls and dog bowls that make eating easier can also result in less of a mess for you to clean up between meals.
Traditional wisdom holds that large, deep-chested dogs should eat from a raised food bowl to discourage gastric dilatation volvulus. With this dangerous condition, better known as bloat, air swallowed during eating twists the stomach, trapping food, liquids, and gas. However, researchers now question whether raised food bowls help to prevent bloat or actually raise the risks for it. Ask your veterinarian whether a raised food bowl makes sense for your pet.
Basic Preparation and Construction
The first step in creating a raised food bowl involves figuring out how high off the floor the bowls should sit. Since dogs and cats come in a wide range of sizes, you'll need to custom-measure your construction to suit your particular animal. As a general rule of thumb, measure upward from the floor to the center of your standing pet's chest, then shave off six inches to get the maximum acceptable height. You can then reduce the height a bit more as needed to provide a comfortable dining angle for your pet's head and neck.
In its most basic form, a raised pet food bowl assembly calls for nothing more than a plank of wood with a hole cut in it to accommodate the bowl. You can create the desired height by attaching a rectangular piece of wood to each end of the plank, creating a kind of desk or table. Alternatively, you can attach four legs made from dowel rods or sawed-off legs from an old chair or coffee table. Use strong glue, screws, or nails to put your raised food bowl together.
A Variety of Stylish Options
All that really matters is that your raised food bowl suits your pet's height and works as expected. But if you'd like to show off your creative flair or complement your home decor, you can incorporate all kinds of fun ideas, materials, and colors into your design. Let the following examples fire your imagination.
- The Globe Trotter - Is your home filled with posters and mementos displaying your love for travel to exotic lands? Find an old trunk or suitcase that sits at the appropriate height (when lying on its side) and then cut the holes for your food bowls in it. Add a few stickers from various cities or countries to complete the theme.
- The Rustic Bowl - Does your interior design favor the rough-hewn look? Find an old wooden crate (again, of the appropriate height), turn it upside down with the open end on the floor, and cut the holes for the bowls into the top surface for a rustic raised food bowl assembly that looks right at home.
- The Space Saver - Maybe you'd rather maximize your open floor space while tucking your pet's food bowl in one corner of the room. Screw some shelf anchors into the wall at the correct height, cut the necessary holes in a plank, and place the plank on the anchors for a suspended food bowl assembly.
"No-Build" Raised Food Bowls
Elaborate raised food bowls may be fine for a DIY whiz or dedicated hobbyist, but not everyone wants to labor away at such a project. Fortunately, you have plenty of other options if you just want to get the job done quickly and easily -- and without paying top dollar for a finished product.
Do you have an old, unused flower pot, open-topped crate, or brazier lying around the house? If its lip will hold a food bowl, simply place the bowl on top of it and you're all done. If your flower pots offer only half the needed height, turn one of them upside down and then secure the second one onto it rightside up with duct tape, screws, or glue. You've just made a "no-build" raised food bowl!
Make Sure a Raised Food Bowl Is Right for Your Pet
Making your dog or cat a raised food bowl offers a fun way to express your creativity while making your pet's dining experience easier. As noted above, however, elevating food and water bowls isn't always the right choice for every animal. discuss the pros and cons of raised food bowls with your veterinarian before rushing out to purchase the necessary materials. If your pet can indeed benefit from a raised food bowl, you now have the basic knowledge to create this thoughtful, useful gift for your four-legged friend!
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