Elevated Dishes and A Puppy Who Won’t Be Held

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Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m at home answering some questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

This one comes from Donna. “Do you recommend elevated dog food bowls during feeding?” This is a great question. Bigger breed dogs and taller dogs, like Great Danes and Labradors, may benefit from having their food bowls a little bit higher just to make it easier for them to get to their food and water. There used to be some thought that elevated food bowls would help prevent certain things like bloat, which can be a big deal in bigger dogs like Great Danes. It’s thought now that maybe that doesn’t help as much as we thought it once did, but there still may be some value in raising the food bowls off the floor.

Gastric bloat is a really serious medical condition where the stomach will actually turn on itself and block off the esophagus and therefore it begins to fill with air. This is definitely a veterinary emergency. Generally, it will look like unproductive retching. The dog will want to vomit but nothing will come up. They’ll pace, they’ll seem agitated, and sometimes you’ll even be able to feel that their stomach feels hard.

The next question comes from Sue. “Two weeks ago I adopted a puppy from the Humane Society. She had a vet check and appeared to be healthy. It is her behavior that alarms me. She doesn’t like to be held at all. When we do, she lunges, snaps, bites and growls. This is the only time she does this.” Sue mentions that this is probably a Lab mix puppy.

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What I would probably recommend is just not holding her. She clearly doesn’t like to be held. If she’s a Lab mix, she’s likely going to eventually be a size where it wouldn’t be appropriate to hold her anyway. I would just engage in affection with her on the floor, petting her and that type of thing.

There is some concern for me, too, that if she’s developing a habit of biting and growling now and is getting away with it, this could turn into a really big problem when she’s a larger dog. I would recommend getting in touch with a behaviorist and going to some puppy classes now, while she’s still young and a smaller size, to try to discourage her from doing these things.

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