- 1 Selection Of The Best Automatic Dog Feeders
- 2 Best Automatic Dog Feeder Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Sources
The best automatic dog feeder gives you peace of mind, and your canine companion a piece of their favorite treat, while you are away.
Keeping your pet happy and healthy should be a cinch with the help of this useful tool.
Next to an automatic dog ball launcher that dispenses dog treats or a dog pool to cool off in the summer, an automatic feeder is sure to become the best thing for you and your pup. These feeders are a complete upgrade from your regular dog bowl so that your canine won’t put you in the dog house the next time you forget to feed them.
Most pet owners are familiar with the typical gravity dog feeder that relies on just that; gravity pulls more dog food out of the canister into the bowl as it runs out. However, it does get better. Electric automatic dog feeders have all the bells and whistles you can imagine, so it’s important to first ask yourself: gravity or electricity powered?
Another question every dog owner should ask is, what will you be using it for? If you’ve notice Fido’s dog collar has gotten a little tight, or the dog backpack just won’t fit, he could be overeating. An automatic daily dog feeder can be used to portion your pet’s meals better.
The best automatic feeder for dogs paired with a dog water fountain will keep your pet fed and hydrated while you’re at work. And, having both will certainly make it easier on your neighbor the next time you go away for a weekend.
Whether you’re home or away, an automatic dog feeder is simple and easy to use, just make sure to choose the style that suits you best- and don’t forget to fill it.
Selection Of The Best Automatic Dog Feeders
Here are the best automatic dog feeders for most people according to Outlinist:
Best Automatic Dog Feeder Buying Guide
A self-dispensing gravity pet feeder is as simple as it gets. They consist of a bowl where the food is offered, and a tank, or hopper, above where the food is stored. As your pet eats, gravity pulls the kibble out of the hopper and refills the bowl.
These feeders are usually designed for dry food only, although some can handle semi-moist kibble. Food is always available for your pet, but keep in mind that if your dog tends to overeat, this can be problematic.
Electric models give you the ability to control food portions, time feedings, and more. They can be powered by batteries, plugged into an outlet, or both. Plug-in automatic dog feeders with a battery backup in case the power goes out are usually the best choice.
Pay attention to the cord length, particularly if your dog is older or has special needs. Elderly pups or those that use a dog wheelchair will need their food elevated, so you may want a more portable battery-powered option.
Wet Food Dispensers
Automatic dog feeders for wet food are designed differently than dry food feeders. Instead of a hopper above that allows food to pass through a chute into a bowl, rotary feeders have a round, flat tray divided into separate bowls, or compartments. The tray rotates to provide the next portion.
Feeders that are suitable for wet food should have a lid or cover and an ice pack/cooler feature to prevent the food from spoiling. Also consider the food compartment size as many of these models are made for smaller dogs that aren’t big eaters.
Dry Food Considerations
The chute through which the food flows must be large enough to handle the size of kibble your dog prefers. If the kibble is too large it will clog the tube and the dog won’t have any food. Electronic automatic dog feeders are more sensitive to kibble size than gravity feeders.
An air-tight hopper to store the kibble is another important feature to look out for. Tight-fitting lids are essential to prevent the food from spoiling and keeping ants and other insects out.
Bowl / Container size
When it comes to the bowl, size does matter, not only for how much you can feed your dog, but if the bowl size is also safe for your pet.
The feeder you choose should have a bowl size that holds enough food to keep your dog, well, full. A full bowl doesn’t always mean a full tummy however. For smaller breed dogs, bowls that are too deep can cause neck problems and quite frankly, your pet simply won’t be fed if they can’t reach the bottom of the bowl.
Automatic feeders for dogs are meant to make yours and your dog’s life easier. For dry food dispensers, an owner should be able to fill up the feeder once a week, and essentially forget about it. This is storage capacity.
If you have to refill your feeder every day, is it really automatic or just a glorified dog bowl? Capacity for dry feeders is usually measured by pounds or liters, with some holding as much as 50 pounds. Wet feeders are typically measured in cups and most hold around 5-6 cups.
Some dogs will get into their feeders as if you’ve hidden their favorite dog plush toy inside of them. That’s why you need a dog feeder that’s ultimately tamper proof.
A heavy, metal automatic dog feeder that won’t tip over is a good choice for gravity feeders. Electric models can include anything from a magnetic lock, to special lid fasteners, to angular designs meant to prevent tipping. Hanging automatic dog feeders are also an option to keep the food hopper out of reach.
Stainless steel is almost always the best choice for any dog bowl. Plastic bowls tend to crack which allows bacteria to get in and potentially harm your pet. Plus, what dog doesn’t like to chew plastic?
There are plenty of dry food dispensers equipped with a stainless bowl, but most wet food feeders are plastic. If you need a model for wet food, it pays to find one with stainless compartments, especially for puppy food. You do not want to expose a youngster to bacteria or plastic that contains BPA.
Ease of Cleaning
Your dog might not notice, but you know that clean is clean. Anything that comes into contact with your pet’s food should be able to clean easily. The hopper that stores and dispenses dry dog food can sometimes be a large and awkwardly shaped device.
Be sure that this doesn’t stop you from cleaning it. Look for models with bowls that are easily removed for daily washing, and that can be taken apart and entirely cleaned once a week or so.
Timer features can be as simple as setting two feedings a day, or programming intervals for every 2 hours, 3 hours, etc. Some timed dog feeder models have an on-demand option that overrides the timer and gives the dog a portion of food instantly. This is handy when you need to mix in a dog laxative or other medication.
The best electronic automatic dog feeders will be programmable and be able to remember the settings if the power goes off or when you unplug it for cleaning.
If you don’t already own a dog camera to watch over your pet, your feeder could. A camera feature allows owners to keep a visual eye on their pets while they’re away. A camera is useful for visual check-ins, and with some newer models you can actually speak to the dog.
If you’re simply looking for a better way to bond with your pet while you’re out, an automatic feeder with a camera is the 21st century is the way to do so.
Since you can’t bring your dog everywhere, you can at least feed them from everywhere with Wi-Fi compatibility. Wi-Fi compatibility means one thing – apps. The smart technology that accompanies some automatic feeders for dogs, can notify owners when meals have been skipped, when it’s time to clean the device, among several other notifications.
For older dogs or those with health conditions, Wi-Fi compatibility paired with voice control and a camera, are all helpful functions that reassure you that your pet is healthy and happy.
In a world full of custom everything you can even customize your automatic dog feeder. In addition to a timer, some models can vary portions, store data on eating habits in the cloud, record your voice, and send alerts when the food is low or batteries are running out. About the only thing you can’t find is one that gives them their dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste after a delicious meal.
Voice recording and alerts such as dinner bells, are particularly helpful for pets that tend to miss scheduled mealtimes. A customized recording of your voice saying its time to eat can quickly perk them up.
Use for Multiple Dogs
To feed multiple dogs, look for feeders that can feed up to 12 meals per day, a camera/ voice option, timer, larger dispensing portions – basically all the bells and whistles. This way you can either dispense two separate meals at close intervals, one large meal meant to be shared, or use voice control to call each dog to eat.
Some models come with two separate bowls that can have their own programmed settings, others are controlled by the dog’s microchip. These feeders won’t open until the dog with the right microchip activates the device.
One thing is for sure, an empty feeder, whether automatic or not, won’t do you or your pet any good. If you’re slightly forgetful enough to feed your dog in the first place, then you might also prefer a refill notification with your automatic feeder.
This can be a clear, see-through plastic hopper that lets you see the food level, or an actual alert, message, or tone that tells you when it needs more food. The best automatic dog feeder is there to think of everything, even when you don’t.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my dog won’t use the automatic dog feeder?
There’s no doubt these feeders are a little more high-tech than that dog water bottle you purchased, and there’s a good chance your dog could be intimidated or scared of it.
However, just like they were probably scared of the dog grooming table and the dog nail clipper or dog nail grinder the first time, all it takes is familiarity. Give your dog some time. Eventually they will get used to the sound. With voice control options, it might also make it more comfortable for your pet, and the truth is, there’s food in it, so eventually they will enjoy it.
Can my dog’s paw get caught in the machinery?
The last thing you want is for your feeder to harm your curious pup if they decide to try and reach their paw into the dispenser for more. The mechanics of powered feeders are situated the middle of the machines and protected all the way around by solid material.
Your pet’s paw will never come in contact with any moving parts. There are also no sharp parts in these feeders, so there is little concern for pet owners.
What if my automatic feeder for dogs breaks?
Nothing is indestructible, but you definitely want your feeder to keep on feeding. Many models come with warranties to take care of this. If it is only one part or piece of the device, be sure to contact the manufacturer. While these feeders can be pricey, fixing just one piece is usually less expensive.
If your feeder breaks, don’t hesitate to call for assistance, and don’t wait to have it fixed right away. You don’t want the problem getting worse.
Is it safe for my pet to use an automatic food dispenser while I’m away?
The short answer is, of course – that’s what automatic dog feeders are for. Some are safer than others, though.
Gravity feeders can be problematic because the bowl is always full, which encourages over-eating and the potential for bloat, which can be dangerous. Electronic portion control feeders make it safer for your dog by preventing overeating. Cameras and Wi-Fi make it especially safe by giving you visual contact with your pup while you’re gone.
For how many days does my dog’s food dispenser last?
Last is a somewhat relative term. If you’re curious to know if the food will last for one or two full days of feeding, yes – even more than that depending on its capacity. If you want to know how long the power lasts in battery-powered models, often they can last up to a full year.
If you want to know how many years your dispenser might keep on feeding, that all depends on you and your dog. If you choose a suitable size and material, many products include warranties that ensure your product is built to last.
- Automatic pet feeder redesign, Carnegie Mellon University, Oct 6, 2009
- Assessing Food Preferences in Dogs and Cats: A Review of the Current Methods, National Institutes of Health, Mar 18, 2015
- Top 10 Automatic Pet Feeders of 2018, Ezvid Wiki, Oct 4, 2018
- The Best Automatic Feeder for Cats and Small Dogs in 2018, The Wirecutter, Mar 14, 2018
- The 8 Best Automatic Pet Feeders to Buy in 2018, Lifewire, Oct 20, 2018
- Automatic Dog Feeders: Dog Food & Water Dispensers, PetSmart
- Arduino-based Food and Water Dispenser for Pets with GSM Technology Control, Academia
- Dog Feeders & Waterers: Auto Feeders & More, Chewy
- Dog Feeders: Auto Dog Feeding System, Petco
- Best automatic dog feeders to keep your BFF fed on time, Mashable, Nov 2, 2018