A lot of people have dogs as their family pets, and it can be a joy to have them around the house, but we still have our social lives and work, so it may be difficult to maintain a regular feeding schedule. Most dogs need to be fed at least three times a day, but your busy schedule might not allow you to keep up with your dog’s feeding needs; this is where an automatic dog feeder can be helpful.
The dog feeder allows you to pre-program the feeding schedule for your dog while you go about your business. You won’t have to worry about your dog not being properly fed or being overfed.
However, there are various types of automatic dog feeders available, so choosing the right one for your pet could be stressful, but purchasing one can make a difference in your pet’s feeding lifestyle.
Every dog has its own feeding routine and requirements that pet owners try to stick to, but it can be difficult when you have to travel for work, or other things might come up that prevent you from feeding your dog at a set time. Getting an automatic dog feeder is a great addition to your home, and it will help maintain a good feeding routine and establish healthy eating habits. Still, it is important that you purchase the right feeder for your dog.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING AN AUTOMATIC DOG FEEDER
If you are considering purchasing an automatic dog feeder, then it is important that you buy the best one available for your dog. These feeders come with various features that improve their functionality. Here are some of the vital factors to consider when choosing an automatic dog feeder.
Apart from considering the hooper’s capacity, you also have to consider the feeder’s maximum and minimum portion capacity. It has to be within a range that is healthy for your dog in any given sitting. The amount of food a feeder can hold at a time is an important factor to consider. If you travel frequently, you need a feeder with a large capacity so that your dog doesn’t run out of food before you return from your trip, and you don’t have to refill it constantly.
Another important factor to consider is the portion sizes your feeder can dispense. The portion of food you’ll feed your dog varies depending on the breed and size of your dog. Your dog could also be on a restricted diet, so you’ll need a feeder that can dispense precise and exact portions. So you have to look for a feeder that can dispense portions according to your dog’s needs.
The type of feeder you will get depends on the type of food you feed your pet, whether it’s wet or dry food. Most dog feeders are compatible with dry food, but if you feed your dog wet food, your options might become limited to the carousel feeder type.
You have to choose a feeder that can dispense food the number of times that your dog needs. Most automatic dog feeders can release meals up to three times daily, while some dispense food according to a set timer. You have to choose the one that best meets your needs.
Number Of Dogs
You might be wondering if you would need multiple feeders for each of your dogs, and depending on how competitive or guarded your dogs are about their food, you might need to get them different feeders. If your dog is aggressive towards others when it comes to food, you definitely have to get a separate feeder.
Majority of automatic dog feeders feature locking lids that keep the food safe inside the hopper. But it will be best to go for a sturdy lock system so that your dog won’t be able to chew off the lid while it’s trying to get the food; the lid has to be able to withstand any assault from your dog. Ensure you check the breed and size the feeder is recommended for before purchasing it.
Various automatic feeders come with different programming features. The feeder you choose should be able to allow you to set how many meals you want to be dispensed in a day and the portion sizes. Ensure that you check that the feeder has a high enough number of meals that suit your dog’s needs. Other features that involve programming include being able to pause the feeding, making temporary feeding regimes without it affecting the main programming, and monitoring the former feeds.
If your dog is used to being called by you during dinner time, if they respond to a particular command, then you could get a feeder that allows you to record a message that will be played for your dog during mealtime. These messages have an average length of 10 seconds, so nothing long, but it will be enough for your dog to recognize and know it’s dinner time.
There are two types of feeder types, cordless and corded. The corded feeder needs to be charged in order to dispense your dog’s food at the set time; if you prefer a corded option, then ensure that you have a backup battery so that your dogs don’t stay hungry while you’re away.
Ability To Handle Different Sizes Of Kibble
Some kibbles are made in large sizes that cannot fit properly with a particular feeder; thus, you might have to switch to smaller sized kibble to get the right feeder function.
Doing this might not be an issue for some owners, but it may be stressful if your dog eats a particular brand of food with large kibble. If your dog likes larger-sized kibble, then you have to go for a feeder that can handle large-sized kibble.
Quality Of Feeding Dish
It is vital that you keep the feeder’s dish clean; that is why you need to buy a feeder with a non-toxic, smooth-sided, and dog-friendly feeding dish. The preferred choice is stainless steel, but some high-quality plastic feeders are also great, but they might not last as long as the stainless steel option.
(Air-Tight Food Reservoirs)
There is no automatic feeder that will keep the dog food completely fresh, but the high-tech models allow less air to enter by keeping a tight seal. This allows the food to stay for longer without getting stale. This is an important feature to consider when choosing a high-capacity feeder or a gravity fed feeder.
There are automatic feeders that can connect to an app on your phone or other devices. It allows you to keep an eye on your pet to make changes to the feeding schedule without you having to be in the same room as the feeder. This can be extremely helpful if you have a device that is compatible; you should check for that before purchasing the feeder.
Ensure that you get a feeder that comes with a dishwasher-friendly material or stainless steel for easy cleaning. You should also go for a model that can be disassembled for easy and thorough cleaning.
There are other additional features that a feeder comes with; they include having a microchip collar tag that makes the feeder open once an authorized pet gets close to the feeder. It allows your dog to get used to the feeder and its scheduled meals.
TYPES OF AUTOMATIC DOG FEEDERS; STYLES AND SYSTEMS
Automatic feeders come in different styles, and each of them has its pros and cons. One style of feeder cannot suit every situation, so choose the style that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
Gravity Feeder Systems
These feeders are the simplest type of feeders. They do not dispense individual meals; they simply keep the food bowl filled until the food inside the reservoir is finished.
Gravity feeders are great for people who like to give their dogs freedom when it comes to food, but they are not suitable for dogs that keep eating until all the food is gone.
Mechanized Vertically Fed Feeders
This type of feeder usually has a large reservoir, but it only dispenses food when the timer goes off, then it will open the chute and release food.
This type of feeder provides you with control and flexibility compared to the gravity-fed systems, but they usually cost more and have many more moving parts that tend to fail or break over time. It is important to buy high-quality products and maintain them properly.
Both the vertically fed feeders and the gravity-fed feeders only work with dry kibble because wet food will not easily come down the funnel.
ClamShell Style Dispensers
These types of feeders come with one or more compartments and a hinged lid; when it reaches the set time, the latch i=releases, which allows the top of the container to open, thus providing your pet with food.
These feeders have a few moving parts so that they can be easily broken, but their electrical components are less, so they are less complicated than other feeders. Clamshell feeders can handle both dry and wet food.
Even though they are named circular dispensers, they truly do not have the form of a true circle. They come with multiple compartments for food. When it gets to the set time, a rotating lid exposes a compartment, thus providing your dog with food. These feeders include moving parts, but they are less likely to break or malfunction than other feeder types.
Majority of circular feeders can be programmed to dispense several meals over the duration of days. This type of feeder also works with different types of food, just like the clamshell feeder; however, some models rely on a cold pack to keep wet food fresh until your pet consumes it.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ELECTRONIC PET FEEDERS AND GRAVITY PET FEEDERS
Both electronic and gravity pet feeders can help you and your pet a lot, but they have their differences that need to be explored.
[Method Of Operation)
A gravity feeder works by using gravity; once the food in the food bowl drops below a certain level, the feeder dispenses more food. Electronic feeders are usually pre-programmed to dispense a particular amount of food at a set time. It can either be by exposing a new section of food on a carousel-style feeder or from a central hooper into a food bowl.
Maintaining the right weight for your dog is harder to achieve with a gravity feeder because your dog gets constant access to the food. If you are concerned about your dog’s weight, then the best option would be to buy an automatic feeder. But if your dog prefers to little bits throughout the day, then using a gravity feeder ensures that your dog has access to food all day long.
Both the gravity feeder and automatic feeder are convenient to use; they ensure that your dog is provided with food when it’s mealtime. However, it’s not easy to set schedules with a gravity feeder because your dog has constant access to the food, instead of only at mealtime.
One of the issues that concern cleaning a gravity feeder is that the food bowl constantly has food in it. You will have to wait for the hopper to be empty before you can clean it without any spillage. For the automatic feeder, you can quickly turn them off or pause their operation while you clean.
BENEFITS OF USING AN AUTOMATIC DOG FEEDER
There are various reasons to consider using an automatic dog feeder. Below are some of the key benefits;
- Automatic feeders allow you to easily manage a multi-pet home
: People who have more than one pet usually struggle when it comes to mealtime. Automatic feeders tend to provide a sense of harmony during such situations. For instance, you might feed your little dog in the morning before you leave and then set the feeder to dispense food for your ravenous Rottweiler later on. That way, their mealtimes are separate.
- They help to establish feeding routines
: If you have a dog that has a sensitive stomach, then it might benefit from having a consistent feeding routine. Automatic dog feeders can help with that; they save you the stress of keeping an eye on the clock and re-arranging your day to match your dog’s meal time. You simply have to set the timer, and the feeder will dispense the food at the specified time.
- They allow you to catch up on sleep
: Majority of us like to sleep in on the weekends, but our dogs still get hungry for their regular breakfast. This is when they come jumping on your bed and try to lick you awake. If you have an automatic feeder, your dogs will be fed at their regular meal time without you having to get out of bed.
- They help to prevent your dog from quickly overeating food
: Some feeders allow you set the size of the portion of food it dispenses at a time. So you can set your feeder to dispense small amounts of food throughout a specified period. This is a great way to make your dog eat slowly, which helps prevent bloating and other digestive issues.
- Automated feeders provide your dog with stimulation
: when dogs are left alone for an extended period, they tend to become anxious, but having an automatic feeder can create some sort of stimulation that helps to soothe their nerves throughout the day.
This is mostly true for automatic feeders that come with the playback vocal message for your dog. If you are interested in finding new ways to engage your dog, then check our article on (Best Ball Dog Toys).
- They allow you to feed your dogs at the appropriate time
: A lot of pet owners leave their house before the sun is up, and some don’t come back till after the sun has set, and this causes them to feed their dogs at odd hours. Automatic feeders allow you to feed your dogs at the right time, even when you’re not home.
- Using automatic feeders allows you to see how much food is left so that you can plan your shopping ahead of time.
- They are easy to use, quick, convenient, and mess-free. They also help you store your dog’s food.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS YOU MIGHT FACE WITH AUTOMATIC DOG FEEDERS
Automatic feeders can be very helpful, but they do not solve all your pet-related problems, and they also come with some of their own problems.
Regular Refills And Cleanup
As useful as these tools are, they cannot refill themselves, so you’ll need to regularly load the food reservoir, and you also have to wash the dish every day.
There might be some odd malfunctions from time to time, so you’ll have to troubleshoot the system. You may also have to teach your dog how to use the feeder in order to soothe any anxiety he may have concerning the feeder. Some feeders produce sounds that scare dogs.
Dog Feeder And Cat Feeders Have Different Ways Of Operation
Feeders for dogs and cats serve different purposes, so they require different approaches. Cats are mostly independent creatures and can survive fine when left alone for days. They pee and poop in a box, so they don’t require a lot of attention, and they probably enjoy having the house to themselves. So using an automated feeder is a great way to make sure your cat is fed while you’re away.
On the other hand, dogs tend to be anxious if they are left alone for extended periods. They might get used to not seeing you for 8 to 10 hours, but they tend to freak out once it’s more than that.
Therefore, using an automatic feeder can provide your dog with constant food, but it is advised not to leave your dog alone for days because they are social animals, and it’s cruel to leave them alone for days. They are needier than cats; they thrive on companionship. Even if you provide them with everything, it is best that they are not alone for too long.
Other problems you might encounter is regulating your dog’s bathroom breaks; some dogs have to go after eating, so if you aren’t home, you have to find a way to regulate their bathroom breaks. Using an automatic feeder also means that you will miss out on hand-feeding, which is an excellent way to bond with your dog.
We have compiled a list of the best automatic dog feeders available. Let’s take a look at the list.
The Best Automatic Dog Feeders Are Reviewed Below
Below, you will find the best automatic dog feeder reviews along with their specifications, key features, pros, and cons.
Westl. 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser
Westl. 6L automatic feeder is easy to operate, fill, program and use. This feeder is packed with various features that not ony allow you to program up to four meals a day, iut also lets you make a 10 seconds recording for your pet to alert them to mealtime. This feeder has a capacity of 6 liters which is quite substantial, and it can also be programmed to dispense up to 39 meals.
- 6 liters capacity
- Dispenses up to 4 meals per day
- In-built voice recorder
- In-built infrared detection
- Ultra-low power use
- Powered using batteries or USB
- Dispenses up to 10 to 12 grams of dog food
- Brand: Westl.
- Model: Automatic Pet Feeder
- Weight: 6 Pounds
- Dimensions: 16.5 * 10 * 9.5 inches
- Color: White
- It is reliable
- It is durable
- Its shape makes it easier to fit into spaces
- It has a large capacity
- It uses less power
- A larger dog might be able to break into the food reservoir
PetSafe Healthy Pre-Portioned Automatic Food Dispenser
The PetSafe automatic dog feeder allows you to schedule up to eight meals a day in three different feedings. This feeder is suitable for dogs that are greedy and have digestion issues.
With this feeder, you can schedule the portions and use the slow and pause feeding options to make your dog eater slower and eat smaller portions while still maintaining the regular schedule. The size of the meal dispensed can also be regulated from 1/8th to 4 cups for every portion.
It comes with a steel bowl and long-lasting options with dual charging and a translucent body. It is also completely dog-proof.
- Flexible portions
- Compatible with most kibble
- Slow feed feature
- It uses 4 D cell alkaline batteries
- Steel bowl
- Brand: PetSafe
- Model: PetSafe Healthy Pre-Portioned Automatic Food Dispenser
- Weight: 4. 61 Pounds
- Dimensions: 18.54 * 8.7 * 12.36 inches
- Color: Black
- It has a large reservoir
- It has dishwasher safe parts
- It uses both batteries and electricity
- It allows you to schedule meal portions
- It is dog proof
- It can withstand both dry and semi-wet food
- Its machine parts are prone to dysfunction after a while
- The steel bowl it comes with is too small for large dogs
- Its multiple options make it hard to program
Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Dogs
If you need a feeder that can help you control your dog’s portion sizes in order to stick to a diet, then this feeder is great for you. It allows you to program a feeding schedule of up to 4 meals per day with 1 to 10 portions in each meal, depending on what you want. It also features a voice recorder that allows you to record a message for your dog. It has a magnetic lid that keeps air from entering inside the reservoir while keeping the dog out. Its LCD screen allows you to see and program the settings.
- Holds up to 1.14 gallon of food
- For kibble, use only
- In-built voice recorder
- LCD display screen
- It runs on both battery and main power
- Brand: Arf Pets
- Model: Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Dogs
- Weight:6.5 Pounds
- Dimensions: 16.3 * 10.9 * 8.3 inches
- Color: White
- It runs on both battery and AC plug
- It has multiple features that make it easy for you to feed your dog
- Its screen is user friendly
- Some users have complained about it jamming
DOGNESS Automatic WiFi Dog Smart Camera Feeder
The Dogness automatic feeder has a WiFi-enabled feature that allows you to feed your dog even when you’re not home. It comes with a camera from where you can watch your pet from.
This feeder can be programmed from your smartphone using an app. You have to download the free app in order to use this feeder. Being able to connect your phone to the feeder makes it easy and quick to make adjustments.
- It runs on both batteries and an AC cord
- Holds about 6.5 pounds in food
- It is compatible with 2.4 GHz WiFi
- In-built voice recorder
- HD camera
- Two food dispense trays
- Suitable for kibble food
- Brand: DOGNESS Automatic WiFi Dog Smart Camera Feeder
- Model: DOGNESS Automatic WiFi Dog Smart Camera Feeder
- Weight: 6.6 Pounds (3 kg)
- Dimensions: 16.5 * 8.66 * 16.14 inches
- Color: White
- It comes with a convenient WiFi connection
- It is easy to set up and use
- It comes with a camera so that you can keep an eye on your dog
- This feeder is not yet compatible with Andriod devices
Buying Guide Questions
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about automatic dog feeders and other related topics.
What is the best automatic dog feeder?
Our top pick for automatic dog feeders is the Westl. 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser. It provided you with all the features in a good quality feeder.
Are automatic feeders good for dogs?
Automatic dog feeders can be a great way to keep your pet fed while you’re away but keep in mind that they tend to malfunction sometimes, so they aren’t all that reliable.
What is the best dog feeder? Are gravity feeders good for dogs?
The best dog feeder is the Westl. 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser.
Leaving food available to your dog at all times is called free-feeding; while your dog might be happy that you’re doing this, it might not be suitable for the health of your dog in the long run, except your dog tends to eat little every now and then.
How do I train my dog to use an automatic feeder? How many times a day should a dog eat?
Dogs should be fed at least two times a day, but the breed, size, and energy level also determine how many times you can feed your dog in a day.
Is it cruel to feed a dog once a day?
Feeding your dog once a day is not enough for the dog to thrive. It is best to feed them the right amount of food.
Should a dog’s water bowl always be full?
Yes, your dog should have access to clean water. Ensure that you change your dog’s water at least twice a day.
Is it okay to leave dog food out all day?
If your dog has a healthy weight and manages to avoid accidents, then you can decide to use free-choice feeding for the dog. However, it is best to use dry food for this.
Can you put wet food in an automatic feeder?
Yes, you can use wet food in an automatic feeder but make sure that the feeder is compatible with wet food.
How do you use Wopet automatic pet feeder?
Using automatic dog feeders will make your life much more comfortable and your dog much happier at mealtime. You won’t have to worry about your dog while you’re out constantly. With the list provided above, you’ll be able to choose a dog feeder that best meets the requirement of your lifestyle and dog.