Our pets are our family, so what happens when you’re not home to look after them? We’ve all had busy days or unseen circumstances that have meant we’re not home to feed our pets; its stressful, you feel bad and the puppy dog eyes you get when you walk through the door don’t help either.
Now, technology offers us a solution so we don’t have to beat ourselves up as we sit in traffic or get caught up at the office – automatic dog feeders.
Automatic dog feeders are great for pet owners who are elderly, disabled, busy or just want to easily monitor and restrict their pets eating habits. There are many automatic dog feeders available and they vary from the simpler gravity feeders to electronic feeders that work using timers and preprogramming.
There are so many different kinds of feeders offering different features that it can be difficult to determine which is the best automatic dog feeder for your pet. That’s why we have created this review, to help find the pros and cons of each feeder, the best value for money and, ultimately, the feeder best suited to the needs of you and your pooch.
- Review of The Best Automatic Dog Feeders
- Is an automatic dog feeder right for you?
Review of The Best Automatic Dog Feeders
- PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed
- WOpet SmartFeeder
- Arf Pets Automatic Dog Feeder
- Little Giant Galvanized
- AmazonBasics Gravity Feeder
The PetSafe Automatic Pet Feeder is a fully customizable, battery powered feeder that is geared towards small – medium sized dogs.
This feeder is pricier than most but allows you full control over your dog’s meal times.
- Adjustable serving size between 1/8 cup to 4 cups per feed.
- Schedule up to 12 feeds per day.
- Slow the feeding speed down so the meal is dispensed over a 15-minute period rather than all at once.
- Handy anti-jam system to make sure the food doesn’t get stuck as it’s dispensed.
The settings are easy to change and you can pause feeds or feed immediately without messing up the set schedule.
No matter where you are you can be confident your pet is being fed the right amount at the right time.
This feeder has a sleek design that would suit any home and it comes with a stainless-steel bowl which is often preferred over plastic bowls, you can also use this automatic feeder for cats. With so much control, this PetSafe feeder could be the best automatic dog feeder with timer on the market.
- Portion control.
- Slow feed option.
- Range of customization available.
- Slightly pricier than other options.
The WOpet SmartFeeder gives you the ability to feed your dog at any time from anywhere. You can set a feeding schedule or you can use the specially designed app to decide when to feed with the ‘manual feeding’ option.
- Unique camera feature allows you to view or record your pet whenever you like.
- Schedule up to 6 meals per day.
- Adjust serving size between 10g – 12g.
This SmartFeeder could be the best automatic dog feeder with camera as it adds great value for those who are anxious about leaving their pet and want to be able to check in every now and then.
There is also an offline feeding mode so should the machine become disconnected from Wi-Fi it will automatically feed according to the settings you’ve programmed.
- You can view your pets from wherever you are.
- The ability to program a feed while you are away from home using the app.
- Sleek design that will look good anywhere in your home.
- The feeder takes dry food only.
- There are reports of glitches due to the sensor becoming dirty and thinking the food bowl is full when it is not.
The Arf feeder allows you to add a personalized voice call so when the food is dispensed your dog can hear you call them for their food.
This is a great feature that helps to keep the connection between you and your dog even when you can’t be there. It also gives you extra peace of mind that your dog will know when the food is dispensing and go to the machine.
- Great value for money.
- Set up to 4 meals per day.
- Adjust the serving size to feed up to 10 x 24ml portions.
- Motor runs quietly so it won’t scare nervous dogs.
The lid magnetically locks so your inquisitive, cheeky fur kids can’t break in and steal the snacks. The LCD display is easy to read and use making changing the settings simple.
This system can be powered using batteries or by plugging it into the mains giving additional versatility.
- The personalized voice recording to call your pets.
- Smart look and easy to use display.
- Straightforward customizable settings.
- Easy to clean.
- If the bowl had a slight tilt the food would slide down to the front rather than stay directly under the dispenser and it would be easier for your dog to eat the pellets.
This Chow Hound Feeder is designed to be robust and durable which is great if your dog is a chewing fanatic and destroys everything that is made of plastic. This feeder allows your dog to eat at any time but first, you need to teach them how to get into the feeder.
- Stays closed unless your dog is eating to keep food fresh and prevent pests and ants.
- Your dog can eat whenever they are hungry, they just need to be taught how to open the feeder themselves.
- Available in 3 sizes to suit your needs.
This feeder offers a great solution if you want your dog to be able to eat whenever they are hungry but leaving food out causes pests and ruins food. This feeder is good value for money, is built to last and you can even leave the automatic dog feeder outside.
We also like this because your dog has to put a little bit of effort in to get the food which makes it less likely for them to eat for the sake of eating like they may do if the food is just left out for them. The strength and size of this feeder puts it in the running to be the best automatic dog feeder for large dogs.
- Durable design
- Keeps food fresh
- Prevents pests
- No portion control
The AmazonBasics offers a simple solution that helps you make sure your four-legged friend has food and water available throughout the day. The basic design gives you an inexpensive way to give your dog access to food even when you’re busy.
This is the final feeder in our best automatic dog feeder review and is slightly different from most of the feeders we have looked at as it works using gravity rather than electronics.
- Constant supply of food and water.
- Easy to fill.
- Clear plastic so you know when a top up is needed.
- No power or programming required.
The gravity system ensures the supply of food and water is consistent, although you should consider whether your dog would take advantage of this system and overindulge (I know my dog would!). This automatic feeder and waterer for dogs is effortlessly cleaned and the handle feature makes it even easier to pick up and move around.
We’ve all watched dogs push bowls around as they eat but that’s avoided with these feeders rubber feet that help keep it steady when your pet is digging in. Some pets may find it frustrating to see the food but not get it (even if there’s food in the bowl) so more boisterous pets may go out of their way to push these feeders over to try to beat the system.
- Inexpensive solution.
- Easy to fill and clean.
- No chance of technology failure preventing your dog from eating.
- Unrestricted food access.
Is an automatic dog feeder right for you?
Why use an automatic dog feeder?
There are many reasons people may choose to use an automatic dog feeder:
- Owners health or ability may make feeding time more difficult.
- Owners schedules may mean they are often out of the house.
- Some people may decide to use an automatic dog feeder as a short-term solution when they are away from home for a couple of days.
- An electronic automatic feeder can help with portion control and stricter schedules.
Advantages of automatic feeders
- Your dog will have access to food regardless of where you are.
- Portion control and scheduled feeding with electronic feeders help manage weight and medical conditions.
- Simple solution to what could be a stressful situation (being unable to get home in time for your dog’s feeding schedule).
- Less mess and cleaning up to do, everything is contained within the feeder.
- You can leave most feeders outside without worrying that the food will be ruined or eaten by pests.
Things to consider
- Portion control to suit your dog’s eating habits.
- Scheduling options.
- Easy to use programming system.
- Durable and easy to clean design.
- Adjustable feeding speed if your dog has a tendency to eat too fast.
Are there any downsides to Automatic Dog Feeders?
- Potential for less owner-pet interaction, training and bonding.
- The chance of an electronic feeder malfunctioning and your pet missing a meal, equally if the power goes or batteries die your pet may miss meals.
- If you have more than one pet it is difficult to monitor and ensure all pets are eating their fair share.
- Gravity feeders offer unrestricted food access which can cause problems.
How to choose the right automatic feeder for your dog
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to use dry food or wet food in the machine?
- Do I want to feed outside or inside?
- What portion size does my dog require and how often?
- Do I want additional features such as:
- Audio functions
- Wi-Fi/ app connectivity
The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the selection and choose the right feeder for you and your dog. We would lean more towards electronic automatic feeders than gravity feeders due to the control you have over portion sizes and feeding times as well as the increased ability to keep the food fresh and ant free.
After comparing the best automatic dog feeders on the market and looking at the considerations suggested above we have chosen the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Pet Feeder is the top product on the market.
This is because the PetSafe feeder offers in depth portion control and schedule options so you can adjust it to exactly how you want it. We particularly like this feeder because you can set it to release the food slowly over a 15-minute period which can help prevent sickness and bloating.
The PetSafe has additional features to ensure the system runs smoothly and its design would suit any household. Although the PetSafe does not have some of the extra features seen in the other products we have reviewed such as the camera, audio option or app connectivity, it does have the standard features required as well as more options that other feeders lack.
The PetSafe feeder is sturdy, reliable and easy to clean making it the best automatic dog feeder for us.