6 Best Automatic Dog Feeders
Dogs thrive on stability. If your dog wakes you up on the weekends, wondering why her breakfast is late, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Automatic dog feeders free you up from having to keep up with your dog’s demanding schedule–yes, you can now sleep in on the weekend! Whether your schedule is changing, you’re tired of getting the “it’s dinner-time” look from your dog, or you want to ensure you and your spouse aren’t both giving Rover breakfast, an automated dog feeder is a great addition to your life. Which is best for your best friend? Read on.
This auto feeder has some features that make it a better buy than most. It has a silicone seal that prevents moisture from seeping into your dog’s food. It also has a vented storage slot for silica packets to help keep your dog’s food even fresher. We love the removable stainless steel bowl that can be washed in the dishwasher and the simple LCD display that doesn’t require a degree in engineering to understand. This feeder allows you to record a personalized message for your pet, and its window helps you better predict when you need to refill or reorder your dog’s kibble.
Best for: Small and medium dogs.
Pros: Silicone seal, silica storage slot, easy to use, removable stainless steel bowl
Cons: White exterior can appear dirtier
- Runner Up: HoneyGuaridan Automatic Pet Feeder
We love this automatic dog feeder because it’s high–tech without being difficult to use and it has a clear storage container, so you can always tell how much kibble your dog has left (although it does have a low food warning). While you cannot interact with your pet as they eat, you can record a 10-second message to make breakfast or dinner a little more inviting and personal. It also stores 7 liters of food which can make refilling a weekly chore rather than a daily one. We love that it has a stainless steel bowl that easily comes out to be cleaned.
Best for: This dispenser is great for small to extra large dogs.
Pros: Large capacity hopper, transparent hopper, removable stainless steel bowl
Cons: Could have a lager food bowl
This smart feeder has all the bells and whistles. It has an integrated camera and microphone, allowing you to interact with your pet while you’re out of the house. It also allows you to quickly and easily share pictures and videos to social media, so all of your followers can appreciate just how cute your dog can be. It allows you to program up to six meals per day and comes with a small and a large kibble tray to better fit your dog’s needs. The lid is transparent, so you can see your dog’s food level, and we appreciate that you can remove an interior compartment to more easily fill up the large capacity hopper.
Best for: Small to large dogs that need to eat on a schedule and dog owners that like to see their pet while they’re away.
Pros: Smart feeder with application, integrated HD camera, 2-way mic
Cons: Requires wifi to interact with pet, may be overly complicated for some dog owner’s needs
This automatic dog feeder has everything you need and nothing you don’t. It features an infrared sensor to prevent kibble from jamming its dispenser and battery back-up in case the power goes out. Like the HoneyGuaridan, it allows you to record a 10-second message to your pet and feed your pet manually if you would like to. Its removable bowl is made from plastic which can be easily cleaned.
Best for: This dispenser is great for extra-small to medium dogs.
Pros: Simple display and easy setup, large capacity hopper
Cons: Plastic food bowl, may be too small for a week’s worth of food for large or extra-large dogs
For those that adore options and smart products, PetSafe’s Smart Feed Automatic Dog Feeder is made for you. This smart feeder lets you dispense your dog’s food using your smartphone. It even has a slow feed option for dogs that eat too quickly, which helps prevent bloating. It also features a stainless steel bowl that is dishwasher safe, a battery backup, and snacks on-demand. This is an upgraded version of PetSafe’s previous models, so it’s had many of its bugs worked out. PetSafe is a well-established and trusted brand, so you can trust in the quality of the manufacturing.
Best for: Dog owners that prefer to have more control and access to controls while out of the home.
Pros: Smart feeder with application for remote feeding, removable stainless steel bowl, Wifi enabled
Cons: Smart but does not have a camera, pricey
This auto feeder is an excellent option for dog owners that want a simple feeder that still allows them to customize their dog’s meal experience. It has a slow feeding option and allows for four meals per day. It also drops kibble into the bowl, creating a ‘come-and-get-it’ sound effect. It requires D batteries or a power adapter that you have to buy separately, but it is effective and reliable.
Best for: Dogs that like to eat out of a traditional dog bowl.
Pros: Large detached stainless steel bowl, slow feed option, U.S. based customer service
Cons: Small hopper, does not come with batteries or power cord
Is it safe to go out of town and rely on an automatic dog feeder to feed your dog?
Long-story-short: No. While the technology of automatic dog feeders makes them incredibly reliable, they are not perfect. Plus, your dog requires supervision in case of an emergency and companionship for her mental wellbeing.
How can I get my dog used to eating from an automatic feeder?
Automatic feeders can seem a bit intimidating or even peculiar to some dogs. We suggest when you first receive your automatic dog feeder, that you set it up near your dog’s regular food bowl. Add a few high value treats to the kibble tray and let your dog warm up to it on her own. Peanut butter often does the trick.
When you do switch over to the automatic feeder, be sure to monitor that your dog is eating from it regularly. Never leave town under the assumption that your dog will eat from an automatic dog feeder he or she has never seen before.
Can I use multiple automatic feeders for my multi-dog crew?
Yes. It does take a bit more preparation and training to get dogs with different dietary needs to eat out of their correctly assigned bowl, though. We suggest assigning your dogs’ meal-time locations that give them distance between one another. Feed them only at their assigned spot, then after they begin to naturally locate themselves at their correct place setting, introduce the automatic feeders. It’s vital to monitor them for the first week or so to ensure that they are eating their assigned food. Do not administer medications via the feeder when you have multiple dogs as they are eating unsupervised.
When it comes to choosing the perfect automatic feeder, you want to consider the size of the feeding tray, the number of meals you want to schedule, durability, price, and any bells and whistles you’re interested in trying. You will also want to note if the dog feeder plugs in and has a battery back-up just in case the power goes out.
You will want a feeder with a removable food bowl, so it’s easy to clean. Stainless steel is usually considered the easiest to clean and maintain.
Smart automatic feeders usually have associated apps to help you keep track of how much your dog is eating. Many also allow you to dispense food remotely.
Some feeders have cameras, so you can watch your dog gobble up her kibble while you’re at work. This allows you to monitor how quickly your dog is eating and admire just how cute she is as she does so.
Others have a real time microphone, speaker, and camera so you can applaud your dog’s wise decision to eat and listen to her oh-so polite slurps, crunches, and gulps. Others allow you to pre-record a message.
No matter your dog’s feeder, you will want to keep an eye on her meals for the first week or so of its use. Over time, you’ll appreciate being able to sleep-in on the weekends, check-in on your dog while you’re at work, or simply not have to prep a bowl of food multiple times per day.