Mealtime is a very important moment for every dog. It is the moment that they get to do what they have been looking forward to all day…eat! To make this moment just as easy as it is enjoyable there are automatic feeders. What many people do not realize is how useful these feeders really are when life gets busy or vacation time comes rolling by. We have searched far and wide for the best automatic feeders around.
In detail, our team analyzed a ton of different elements; including dispense options, unique qualities, and power to make sure you are going to get the best. Not only that, but we also made sure to cover exactly what type of owner and pup would benefit from each feeder. So, put down the scoops and pick up the mouse because we are about to change mealtime forever. Tell your dog not to worry they will still get their tasty kibble!
Table of Contents
Why Would I Need An Automatic Feeder?
Dog Eats Too Quickly
Sometimes a dog can just not wait to chow down on their favorite food. One second you set it down and before you know it they are licking the bowl clean. Since your dog is not participating in an eating contest this speed eating could cause some serious issues. One big problem that could occur is choking. While you dog is gobbling up their meal they do not have the time to properly chew. In turn, this means that they are swallowing large pieces which could get caught in their throat. Another problem that could occur is improper digestion. When they eat that quickly their stomach is filled with so much new food before it can even get started digesting. In turn, this could cause stomach pains or potty problems because the digestion timing is so off.
With an automatic feeder you can have a certain amount of food come out at set times. This means that you can space out their food by giving them a small amount every few minutes. With this space their stomach will have time to digest and settle before they can gobble down the next bit. Also, with this pace constant at every meal time your dog may realize that they do not have to eat so fast each time. If this ends up being the case you can then slowly take them off the automatic feeder and see if the same practiced pace translates to a regular bowl!
One big part of being a dog owner is spending money. From food, toys, vet visits, and more you have to use a lot of your own money to make sure they are healthy and happy. To get the money required for this lifestyle you need to have a job or even 2 jobs. With all of the responsibility that comes with these jobs you are very busy and not home a lot. In turn, this means that you may get home and feed them at various times throughout the week. With such a unsure schedule your dog could be super hungry one day but not yet hungry the next.
To help them and yourself get on a settled schedule you can use an automatic feeder. All you have to do is make sure it is full and then set it for a specific time. Now even when you are not home food will fill their bowl at the exact time every single day. No longer will they have to wait at the door hungry and will be happy when you arrive no matter the time!
Time is a very weird thing. One minute you are watching TV at 3:00 PM and then when you look again it is 7:00 PM. This situation can happen doing a ton of different things like reading, shopping, or even baking. For some reason time can just get away from you. Unfortunately, since your dog should be fed around the same time everyday this could cause some issues if you forget or miss it. Some dogs may be quite vocal about it and let you know when they start to get hungry. However, this is not true for everyone and some may just let their stomach rumble until you remember.
You could set an alarm to help yourself remember but everyone is all too familiar with pressing snooze. From all those times waking up for school you can do it without thinking and totally forget it went off at all. This has then led to yourself rushing down the stairs to try and make the bus on time! Another solution that may work a bit better is an automatic feeder. Since it comes out at a set time you will not have to worry because it does all the work for you. The only thing you will have to remember is to keep the container full which allows you some space in between each deadline!
Over Feeding and Weight Management
When it comes to food dogs have a way of putting on their best puppy eyes. They are so good at begging that before you know it you have fed them double what they are suppose to eat! In turn, this will cause your dog to slowly gain an extra few pounds. Overtime this could become a problem if they enter the overweight range for their breed. Not only will their vet not be too happy but their body will not be as well. Just like a human this can lead to health issues like heart disease or high blood pressure.
Since it is so hard to say no to those puppy eyes you can use an automatic feeder. With this feeder you can set a certain amount to dispense each time. This will help make sure that your dog gets the actual amount they need and not what they can persuade you to give them. An automatic feeder is not as susceptible to those big eyes.
Whether you’re planning a large family vacation or just a long-weekend getaway, bringing your beloved pup along is not always an option. Therefore, you find yourself scavenging the phone book for friends and family to pet-sit. Even though you have ensured someone to take care of your dog while you are away, it will make life a heck of a lot easier to get an automatic feeder set up for the occasion.
With an automatic feeder, you will be able to set the perfect feeding schedule and amount ahead of time. In short, the handy-dandy contraption will take all your feeding time worries away. You won’t have to stress about if the sitter can make it in time or writing up a laundry list of instructions. Let the automatic feeder do all that work!
Top Pick - Petsafe Automatic Feeder
Program up to 12 meals
Dispenses 1/8th to 4 cups
Slow feed mode
Immediate feed mode
Can use dry or semi-moist food
Pet proof seal
Hygienic steel bowl
This feeder is a great way to keep your dog on a healthy eating schedule throughout the day. In total you can program up to 12 meals a day so you have a wide range of options of how you can use it. You could have it dispense one full meal or a little bit each time. The amount you can dispense ranges from 1/8th of a cup up to 4 cups. Does your dog likes their food to be a little bit moist? Do not worry! To make sure everyone gets what they want you can fill it up with dry or semi-moist food.
If you have a fast eater you can use the feeders slow feed mode. This will release the food over a 15 minute period instead of all at once. However, if you would like the food to come out instantly instead there is the immediate feed mode. Instead of waiting it will dispense the next schedule meal right away.
If you worry that this is making your dog eat too fast you can pause the meals. This will allow them to take their time and eat safely. Also, do not worry about losing anything when you pause all the scheduled meals will be saved.Although, it will not matter when it is scheduled if the food gets stuck in the machine. Thankfully to prevent that from happening the feeder has an anti-jam conveyor system. This will ensure your pup gets the right quantity of food whenever they need it.
Another thing your feeder will definitely not do is let your pet inside. This is because it has pet-proof dispenser so they will not be able to break in for a quick snack. The seal is also useful because it keeps the food fresh throughout the day. Additionally since the feeder has a hygienic steel bowl no bacteria will touch the food at all.
HOW IS IT POWERED?:
To get the food flowing this specific feeder requires 4D Alkaline Batteries. Although, if you would like you can also purchase a battery adapter separately.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS FEEDER?
We highly recommend this feeder for any pup parent that needs to keep their dog’s meals portion controlled. This could be a pet that over eats or one that eats too quickly. With the different speed modes and specific amounts dispensed it will keep them both in check. Also, since this feeder can be timed we also recommend this feeder for owners who are busy or forgetful. No longer will you have to worry about if you will be there or what time it is throughout the day.
The PetSafe Feeder also has an immediate feed mode. This will dispense the next scheduled meal instantly. You can also pause feeding temporarily which will stop all scheduled meals until you un-pause scheduling (your scheduled meals will still be saved). You can trust the materials used for the feeder as well. The stainless steel bowl is hygienic, and will help keep your dog’s food safe and free from bacteria.
The feeder requires 4D Alkaline Batteries, or you can purchase a battery adapter separately. we would highly recommend this feeder for any pup parent that needs to keep their dog’s meals portion controlled, and ensure they’re getting proper meals even when you’re away.
Runner Up - WoPet SmartFeeder
Holds 17 cups of food
Dispenses 4 meals a day
Meals can be ⅛ to 1 cup
Controlled with an app
Can schedule feedings
AC power adapter or battery powered
Inside of this feeder it can hold up to 17 cups of food. To dispense this food you can schedule up to 4 meals a day. These meals can range in size from ⅛ of a cup to 1 cup. Unfortunately this feeder can only use dry food with pellets that come in a diameter between 0.2 and 0.6 inches.
What makes this feeder so unique is its technologically advanced features. For example, to control it you use an app. On this app you can do things like set times to feed or manually feed them with a press of a button. Not only that but you can also feeding intervals and portions for all of your dog’s meals right from the app.
This is a great way to keep track of all of your dog’s meals without having to be with the device. Running late from work? Simply set up an instant feeding portion so your dog can begin eating without you. Also, since there is a camera on the feeder you can watch them from the app and make sure they are eating okay.
HOW IS IT POWERED?:
The feeder supports 2.4GHz wifi networks and is also compatible with IOS 7.5 or Android 4.0 and above. It does not matter if you have a mobile phone, iPad, or Tablet. You can easily download and use the app from any of these devices. The Feeder itself is powered by an AC power adapter which is included in the set. Although if you would like to use batteries instead it will also take 3D batteries.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS FEEDER?:
We would highly recommend this feeder for any pet family in need of a flexible and convenient way to feed their pups on the go. This includes owners that may have a busy lifestyle or are forgetful when it comes to feeding. With an app it does not matter where you are you can make sure that your dog gets a good meal. Since this app also allows you to schedule times and portion sizes we also recommend it for dogs who overeat or eat too fast. These features will slow them down and also give them just the right amount of food.
The Smartfeeder is a great way to keep track of your dog’s meals no matter where you are. It can hold food up to .59 inches, and you can schedule up to 4 meals a day. We have found that the app is easy to set up, and it’s easy to use. We would highly suggest this feeder for any pet family in need of a flexible and convenient way to feed their pups on the go.
Bargain Pick - Petsafe Feeder
2 meals or 5 meals
1.5 cup or 1 cup chambers
BPA free plastic
Tray is dishwasher safe
Unlike other feeders this one is available in either 2 meals or 5 meals. In their 5 meal version it has 5 different 1 cup chambers that can hold any dry food. This is a bit bigger than their 2 meal version that has 2 holes that can be filled up to 1.5 cups. These two portions can be set to dispense at any point within a 48 hour period. To help you control the portion your dog receives you can fill the holes up as much or as little as you would like.
Are you looking for a simple automatic feeder without all the bells and whistles? Then this feeder may be your best option. It is a fraction of the price of typical electric feeders but still gets the job done.
On top of the feeder there is a digital clock that will make it easy to set the feeding time. Since it clearly displays the time this LCD display will allow you to be certain that they will be fed at the correct time.
After a few meals you may see that the tray is starting to get a bit dirty. Thankfully, the company made cleaning this tray a breeze. All you have to do is throw it in the dishwasher and it will be ready to go again in no time. Also, since it is made out of plastic that is BPA free you do not have to worry about anything bad contaminating their food.
HOW IS IT POWERED?:
Their 2 meal Petsafe Feeder requires one AA battery to keep the food coming. This is a big difference from their 5 meal feeder requires 4 different D batteries. These batteries are used to power the digital clock that makes sure that the food is dispensed at the correct time.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS FEEDER?:
We highly recommend this feeder for dogs that overeat. This is because you can set certain portions to be dispensed throughout the day. Since these potions can be scheduled throughout the day we also recommend it for owners that have a busy lifestyle or are forgetful.
Unfortunately, we do not recommend their 2 meal feeder for dogs that eat too quickly because since it is a tray with two sections there is no way to slow them down.
gravity feeder pick - Petmate cafe feeder
Easy snap off lid
BPA free plastic
Environmentally sustainable plastic
No batteries needed
Gravity feeders do not keep track of portions as well as electronic automatic feeders. However if you simply need a convenient way to make sure your pup always has some food available to them then it is perfect. As your pup eats more food will naturally be pulled down to the base where they can eat. This allows you to have a large quantity of food at your pup’s disposal no matter where you are.
Although, since dogs come in so many diverse sizes they need different amounts of food. Thankfully, to make sure some dogs are not overwhelmed or still hungry the feeder comes in 3 different sizes. These sizes will hold up to 3, 6, or 12 pounds of dry food.
To make sure that the food keeps being dispensed all you have to do is keep it full. Each time it runs a little bit low all you have to do is snap off the top lid. Then you can just fill it up and it will be ready for the next meal time. However, if you would like to clean it before the next refill you just need to hand wash it.
Not only is the plastic easy to clean but since it is BPA free it is safe as well. You will not have to worry about any chemicals or bacteria contaminating their food. Not only that but the plastic is also environmentally sustainable as well. This means that you will protect your dog and also the environment as well.
HOW IS IT POWERED?:
Unlike electronic automatic feeders you will not need any batteries. This will save you a lot of money since you will not have to continually replace them. Also, since you do not have to worry about it dying when you are away there is no stress involved.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS FEEDER?:
We highly recommend this feeder for owners who have busy lifestyles or ones that are forgetful. Since there will be a constant bowl of food you will not need to worry about being there to refill it. However, we do not recommend this feeder for dogs who overeat or eat too quickly. This is because there is no portion control available and no way to stop them.
User Friendly Pick - Fitiger Food Hopper
Holds 5.5 liters
Releases 1 to 12 cups of food
Pet proof lock
10 second message
Easily cleaned with cloth
This feeder is a great twist between a gravity feeder and an electric feeder. Inside it can hold a total of 5.5 liters of dry food. With such a large volume you will be reaching to refill it a lot less often. Not only will it hold all of this food but you can also program it to release portioned meals. In total you can schedule three meals to be dispersed each day. These meals can range from 1 cup to 12 cups of dry food.
To help you schedule the feedings there is a LCD screen that will allow you to see everything you are doing. With this screen you will be more confident that the food will dispense at the correct time. In between these scheduled feedings you will not have to worry about your dog breaking in. This is because there is a pet proof lock on the lid to keep it tightly shut.
The most unique feature of this feeder is the fact that you can record a message for your dog. Each message will last 10 seconds and allows you to alert them when it is time to eat. If the feeder starts to alert you that it needs to be cleaned do not worry. All you need is a soft cloth and a little bit of warm soapy water.
HOW IS IT POWERED?:
To keep the food and the recorded message going you will need 3 D batteries. Unfortunately, these batteries are not included so you will have to purchase them separately. To make sure that everything stays running fine the company stresses not using rechargeable batteries.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS FEEDER?:
We highly recommend this feeder for any dog parents out there who are looking for a easy way to dispense scheduled meals. This includes dog owners that have a busy lifestyle or ones that are forgetful. Not only will there always be food ready since there is such a large volume you will not have to remember to refill it as much. With these scheduled portions we also recommend this feeder for dogs that overeat. However, since there are only 3 possible meals a day we do not recommend this feeder for dogs who eat too quickly. This is because there is no way to slow them down.
Great Dog Food to Pair with an Automatic Feeder
DRY VS. WET DOG FOOD
Dry food is the food that many companies recommend you use for their automatic feeder. Some dogs prefer to eat wet food but unfortunately that would not be best to use in these feeders. One reason why is because of its consistency. Wet food likes to squish together and in a tight area like a feeder it would all stick together. In turn, this would cause it to clog the feeder and not dispense when scheduled.
Another reason why is because of its required storage. When wet food is first opened it should be put into the refrigerator. This is because if it is let out it will go bad and may even become moldy. For an automatic feeder to work the food will need to sit in a container for a long period of time. This period can range from one day to two weeks. In turn, after a while this food would go bad because it is not be stored correctly. If your pet then eats this food they could become ill.
Using dry food is the best option because it stays separated and does not need to be refrigerated. The pebbles allow it to easily dispense into the bowl for your pup to enjoy. Also, since it can sit in a container without going bad you do not have to worry about your dog getting sick.
Excited about finally purchasing the best automatic dog feeder? You should be! You’re life is about to get a whole lot easier, especially in the mornings when you’re still half asleep anyways. Along with your new feeding tool, pairing with the best dry dog food option is the next step to furbaby happiness. At Better Living with Fido, you’ll find a whole host of informative articles on recommended dry dog foods. From unique tastes to dietary restrictions and from different age ranges to unique breeds, there is a dry dog food out there that will hit the nail on the head for your pup! Check out these full-length articles to find out which dry dog food option is the best for your and your unique dog: