Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I recommend elevated food and water bowls for a couple reasons.
I find that they are more comfortable for dogs that tend to have back or neck problems, so I think they would be great for your Havanese.
There is some concern that elevated food and water bowls allow dogs to gobble food and water and thus swallow more air, so they may predispose to bloat in big dogs.
As long as your pups don't gobble their food however, and Havanese aren't big dogs, so bloat shouldn't be a problem for them, I would recommend raised bowls.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
I don't think my dogs have back or neck problems, but I don't want to cause them either in the long term.
The only concern I had with elevated bowls was if you think genetically, in the wild, dogs are meant to eat from the ground, so why change that. But if studies have shown that elevated bowls are better and don't cause long term problems, I will definitely use them.
How to I measure what is the best height the bowl needs to be for my dogs?
Thanks for the further questions.
Elevating food and water bowls in dogs with long backs and necks and a known predisposition for intervertebral disc disease is definitely a preventative measure. In dogs that do have any back or neck problems it is one of the first things I recommend doing for them, and I will often recommend it for dogs of those breeds before we see a problem as well.
Many of our dog breeds have much a different body type compared to wild canids, like wolves, foxes and coyotes. I think you'll agree that the body conformation of a Havanese isn't much at all like a wolf. As we change the body type I think it's important to make some adjustments for them.
The only study I could find that had negative connotations around using elevated food and water bowls was one that looked at increased incidence of bloat in dogs with elevated bowls. Since your pups aren't a breed that has a predisposition to bloat (their body conformation is completely different from those large breed, deep chested dogs that are predisposed to bloat) I think that elevated food and water bowls will only have positive effects for them.
As far as height I recommend using bowls that the top of the bowl is a little below the point of shoulder height for the dog. Here's a diagram that will help you see which area I am describing.
It's all good. I'm using elevated bowl for them. Hopefully they are enjoying it.
Thanks for the update on Bona & Ozzy. I'm sure that they are enjoying having their elevated bowls as it makes eating and drinking more comfortable.
Please let me know if you have any further questions, Dr.Kara.