i've always used them and always will, just for the simple fact that it doesnt seem right to have to bend all the way down or sprawl your legs just to eat. (i relate it to tall people having to use short sinks and how the constant bending makes my neck and back hurt)
i hear it helps decrease the chances of bloat as well, but like i said - my family has always used them.
After talking to my vet, doesn't really make a difference bloat wise. Either the dog is predisposed or it isn't.
Now, I do have my senior male Vishnu eating and drinking from a raised bowl as he has HD and elbow dysplasia very severe at this point and it is more of a comfort level for him at this point.
From one of the links above: These four (4) factors ARE associated with an increased risk of bloat in large breed dogs
1)Raising the food dish more than doubled the risk for bloat
2)Speed of eating -Dogs rated by their owners as very fast eaters had a 38% increased risk of bloat
3)Age: The study found that risk increased by 20% with each year of age. Owners should be more alert to early signs of bloat as their dogs grow older.
4)Family History: Having a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or offspring) that had bloated increased a dog's risk by 63%.