Do you have trouble feeding your dog on a schedule every day due to work, school, or other obligations? Many adult dogs typically need two to three meals per day on a set schedule for optimal health.
If you are having trouble providing your dog with a consistent feeding schedule, you may want to try an automatic dog feeder. These convenient gadgets can help your dog stay on track and give you piece of mind that they are getting their scheduled meals. If you are looking for more information on the best automatic pet feeders, read on for tips and recommendations.
Compare the 7 Best Automatic Dog Feeders
|Product||Capacity & Food Type||Meals & Portion Control|
|Roffie Automatic Pet Food Dispenser||Small Dry Kibble 0.6 inches in diameter or less only Capacity 29 cups (7 Liters)||Portion size 2 teaspoons-4.5 cups dry food Up to 4 meals|
|Athrobot Automatic Pet Feeder||Small Kibble only 0.39 inches in diameter or less Capacity 28 cups (6.5 Liters)||Portion Size not specified Up to 4 meals|
|AIIYME Food Dispenser||Food Type and Size not specified Capacity 28 cups (6 Liters)||Not Specified|
|PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Feeder||Dry Kibble Only – size not specified Capacity not specified||Portion size 1/8 cup to 4 cups Meals not specified|
|WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder||Dry Kibble only 0.2-0.6 inches in diameter Capacity 20 cups||Portion Size 2 teaspoons – 4.5 cups Meals not specified|
|WOPET Automatic Feeder & Ice Pack||Dry or Wet Food Capacity 1.5 cups each compartment||Portion Size up to 1.5 cups each compartment Up to 2 Meals|
|WOPET Blue Automatic Pet Feeder||Dry kibble only 0.2-0.6 inches in diameter||Up to 12 meals can be programmed|
Are Automatic Feeders Good for Dogs?
Alternatives for busy pet parents typically consist of feeding your dog one large meal per day or feeding your pup at inconsistent times each day. Both of these options are not best for your pet. If you feed your dog one large meal per day, they could end up with dangerous, life-threatening digestive problems such as bloat.
Additionally, one large meal per day leaves your pet feeling excessively hungry all day while waiting for this meal. Feeding your dog at different times every day is not healthy either. Imagine how you would feel if you never knew when to expect your next meal. For a healthy dog and a healthy digestive system, it is ideal for feeding your pup two to three meals, at regular intervals, at the same time every day.
Some feeders are designed to dispense food a little at a time for up to fifteen minutes at a time, which helps you to be able to slow feed your dog. Slow feeding is best for pup’s that try to inhale their food.
Automatic Feeders Still Need Supervision
Although the best automatic pet feeders are great for providing your pup a consistent feeding schedule, they are not to be a replacement for you in caring for your dog. You will need to re-fill the food reservoir from time to time. You’ll also need to wash the dish each day.
Additionally, make sure to keep an eye out for any malfunctions. Every once in awhile, you may need to fix the feeder if it gets jammed. You may also need to teach your pet how to use the feeder.
It may take some time for some dogs to get acclimated to their new feeders. Some feeders make sounds that your dog is not familiar with. For this reason, your dog may feel anxious until they get used to the sounds.
Is an Automatic Feeder for Cats a Good Idea?
If you’ve got both dogs and cats to feed, you’ll want to use different approaches for each. Cats are much more independent than dogs, and therefore more adaptable to automatic cat feeding. For this reason, you may be able to leave your cat alone for more extended periods. Your cat will likely be able to take care of themselves for a day or two if you need to be away.
Dogs, in contrast, need much more attention. Dogs typically do not handle being alone for more than eight to ten hours per day. If you need to be away for longer than this, it is beneficial to find a pet sitter rather than leaving your pup alone.
What is the Best Feeding Schedule?
For some busy pet parents, it may be an excellent strategy to set your feeder for early in the morning. Your dog can have their meal, and you can take them on a potty break right before you leave for work or school. Then, set the second meal for around 30 minutes before you get home for the day. This way, your pup will be ready to go for a potty break as soon as you get back. Every dog is different, so make sure to set your feeding schedule for what works best for your pup.
Drawbacks of Automatic Dog Feeders
Automatic dog feeders are intended to help you keep your pup on schedule while you are at work, or just busy around the house. These feeders are not meant to be used for your dog while you are away for more than one day, or on vacation. Dogs still need interaction, potty breaks, and fresh water. Dogs are simply not the kind of animals that can be left alone for long periods of time.
One drawback to automatic dog feeders is the loss of hand-feeding. A lot of veterinarians recommend hand feeding your puppy as one of the best ways to bond with your dog. With an automatic dog feeder, you’ll be missing out on this bonding opportunity.
It is essential to learn your dog’s potty break preferences. For some dogs, it is easy for them to have their meal from the automatic dog feeder while you are away. They can easily wait for you to return home before needing a potty break. For other dogs, they need to go to the bathroom occurs quite quickly after they’ve had their meal.
Benefits of Automatic Dog Feeders
Automatic feeders are great for homes with multiple pets. If you have more than one pet at home, you may struggle with their feeding routine. With the use of an automatic dog feeder, you could set the schedule to feed different pets at different times of the day. This may reduce the chaos at feeding time.
Another benefit of automatic dog feeders is the ease of creating a consistent feeding routine for your pup. Many dogs need to eat at regularly scheduled times throughout the day to keep their tummies feeling healthy. This is especially true for pups with sensitive digestive systems.
Keep Your Dog’s Meals on Schedule
Without an automatic do feeder, you may have to re-arrange your own schedule to work around your dog’s feeding times. With an automatic dog feeder, however, you do not have to worry about juggling your schedule to meet your pup’s ideal feeding times.
A lot of pet parents have work schedules that mean leaving the house before dawn or returning home well after dark. For busy pet parents with this type of schedule, it can be hard to feed your dog at regular hours. You can use an automatic dog feeder to make sure your pup gets food at regular intervals during a standard breakfast and dinner time, even when you are not home.
Some automatic dog feeders are equipped with a feature that allows you to record and play messages for your dog. These feeders may help to reduce your pup’s anxiety when they are home alone all day.
If you have an irregular work or school schedule, or if you like to sleep in on the weekend, your pup may not be able to get meals on a regular schedule. With an automatic feeder, your dog will still get their meals on time, no matter what your sleep schedule looks like.
What are the Types of Automatic Feeders?
There are several different kinds of automatic dog food feeders available. Each one has its own set of pros and cons. It is essential to do your research before you buy so you will bring home one that is right for you and your dog.
The gravity-fed food dispenser is the simplest kind of automatic feeder. In the gravity-fed system, you fill the container, and it will keep your dog’s bowl full until the food runs out. Unlike many other types of automatic feeders, the gravity-fed dispenser does not provide your pup with individual meals.
For this reason, the gravity-fed food dispenser is an excellent choice for pet parents who prefer to feed their pups on a “free-feed” basis. However, this type of automatic feeder may not be a good option for pups who will keep eating until all the food is gone. If you need to be able to give your dog a specified portion amount for each meal, you may want to opt for another type of feeder. Gravity fed systems are for dry kibble only. They will not work with wet food.
Mechanized Vertically Fed Feeders
Mechanized vertically fed pet feeders give you more options and control over how much food your dog is getting compared to the gravity-fed systems. The mechanized vertically fed pet feeder will usually have a large reservoir for food.
However, the food only gets dispensed when the timer goes off and opens up the chute. These feeders typically are more expensive than the gravity-fed system. This dog feeder will also have more moving parts. More moving parts means more components that may fail. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure to purchase a high-quality feeder.
Additionally, make sure to follow all maintenance instructions to keep your feeder lasting longer. Mechanized vertically fed feeders are for dry kibble. They will not work with wet food.
Circular dispensers are designed with multiple food compartments and a rotating lid. Set the time for the cover to rotate and uncover one compartment of food. You can set the schedule to provide your pup with multiple meals throughout the day, by revealing different compartments at different times.
Circular dispensers have moving parts, like many other types of automatic feeders. These feeders are less complicated than vertically fed systems, and so are less likely to malfunction. You can use any kind of food with circular dispensers. Some of these dispensers come with a cold pack that keeps your dog’s wet food fresh throughout the day.
Clamshell dispensers are equipped with food compartments and a hinged lid. They have a latch that gets released at the specified feeding time. Releasing the latch swings, the top of the chamber open so your dog can get to the food.
Clamshell dispensers are relatively simple machines with just a few moving parts. As with any product with moving parts, clamshell dispensers are susceptible to potential malfunctions or damage over time. However, these dispensers have fewer moving parts than many of the more complex automatic feeders. You can use clamshell dispensers with just about any type of food. These will work with wet food and dry food alike.
What are the the Best Automatic Dog Feeders to Buy?
There are a lot of different brands, styles, and models of automatic dog food feeders to choose from. Some are made better than others. When shopping for your next feeder, there are some things to look for to make sure you purchase a quality product.
Look for Quality Construction & Materials
The best automatic dog feeders will have a locking mechanism to prevent your pup from getting to the food before the scheduled time. You may want to steer clear of cheap construction or flimsy plastic feeders. Poorly made feeders may break, malfunction, or allow your dog to find the food when you don’t want them to.
Look for Feeders that Work with Your Dog’s Food
Not all feeders will work with all food types. Some feeders won’t work with wet food. Others won’t work with large-sized kibble. If you feed your dog dry kibble, this may not be a problem. You can just make sure to purchase kibble that comes in small pieces.
However, if your dog needs to eat a special diet or a particular type of food, you’ll need to be more selective in the feeder you purchase. If your dog’s required kibble is large, look for a feeder that can accommodate large bits of kibble. If you are planning to use the automatic feeder to feed your dog wet food, look for a feeder that allows for wet food.
Look for Near Air-Tight Containers
The best automatic dog feeders will keep food fresh longer. Feeders won’t have airtight containers. However, look for ones with close-to-air-tight reservoirs that will prevent your dog’s kibble from going stale. If you are going to get a large, gravity-fed system, this is especially important. Poorly sealed reservoirs will result in stale and wasted food.
Look for Durable Dish that is Pet-Safe
Look for automatic feeders with a non-toxic, pet-friendly dish that is either made from stainless steel or high quality, durable plastics. Make sure to keep your dog’s bowl clean. It is recommended to wash your dog’s dish daily to keep your pup healthy and keep your feeder running smoothly. For your convenience, you may want to look for a dog feeder that is dishwasher safe.
Our Top 7 Picks for the Best Automatic Dog Feeder
Roffie Automatic Pet Food Dispenser
Roffie’s Automatic pet food dispenser is designed for small dogs or cats. This Roffie feeder can be programmed to dispense up to 4 cups meals each day. You can set specific times and portion sizes for each meal. This feeder’s capacity is about 29 cups (seven liters) of dry food.
For the portion size, options range from two tea spoons up to 4.5 cups of dry food. To ensure the food will dispense properly and avoid jams, only use dry kibble that comes in pieces less than 0.6 inches.
You can record a short (up to ten seconds) message for your pet to let them know when it’s time to eat. This feeder is powered by a power adapter. Use three D-size batteries as backup power in case the electricity goes out to ensure your dog doesn’t miss a meal. This dog feeder is best for being user friendly for you and your pet.
Consider these Specs:
- Powered by a power adapter
- Up to 4 Meals
- 7 Liter Capacity
- Optional Battery Backup (batteries not included)
Athorbot Automatic Pet Feeder
The Athorbot pet feeder is designed for small to medium sized cats, puppies, and dogs. You can program as many as 4 cups meals per day. This feeder has an infrared sensor to prevent jamming, overflowing, or dispensing too much dog food. Use this automatic feeder with kibble pieces that are 0.39 x 0.39 or smaller. This feeder runs on plug-in power (6.5 Liter or about 28 cups) and battery backup. You can record a message for your pup with this dispenser’s voice record option.
Consider these specs:
- Timed Dispense
- Voice Recorder
- Internal Battery + Plug-In Power
AIIYME Food Dispenser
The AIIME automatics pet feeder is made for dogs or cats. This dog and cat automatic feeder connects to your Wi-Fi through an app for iOS and Android. You can program up to six scheduled meals per day, or choose manual mode to feed your dog remotely any time. There is a voice recorder to make a message for your pet. The capacity is 6 Liters (about 28 cups). This feeder is ideal for small to medium sized dogs that are less than 20kg.
Consider these specs:
- 2.4GHz connection with app control
- Automatic Feeder
- Power Adapter
- USB Cable
- User Manual
- 12 Month Warranty
- Capacity: 6L
PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Feeder
The PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Feeder works through Wi-Fi on your smartphone. You can use the app with apply products iOS 9.0 or later, and Android 6.0 or later.
These dog and cat automatic feeders allow you to schedule up to 12 meals for your pet. There is also a feed now option to allow you to feed your dog on the spot from your smartphone in addition to any scheduled meal times. The PetSafe feeder works with dry kibble only.
You can choose portion sizes from 1/8 of a cup to 4 cups. There is a slow feed mode. You can have the food dispensed slowly over fifteen minutes. Feeding your pup slowly like this will help keep their digestive system healthy.
There is an option for battery backup. You will need 4 D Cell alkaline batteries (these are NOT included). Use the battery backup to make sure your dog still gets their scheduled meal if your Wi-Fi connection is lost.
Consider these specs:
- Wi-Fi capability
- Optional Battery Backup
- Up to 12 meals can be scheduled
- BPA free plastic
- Stainless Steel
WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser
The WOPET Automatic is designed for cats and dogs. This automatic feeder features portion control, voice record, programmable timer, and distribution alarms. You can schedule up to four meals per day with the built-in programmable timer.
It’s easy to program each meal with a few clicks on the LCD screen. Portion sizes can vary from two teaspoons up to 4.5 cups per meal. Record a message to let your dog know when it’s feeding time with the built-in voice record option. This dispenser works with kibble sized 0.2-0.6 inches in diameter.
Consider these specs:
- Wall-powered & Battery Powered
- Uses 3 D-Size Batteries (Not included)
- Removable tray is dishwasher safe
- 20 Cup capacity
WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder & Ice Pack
The WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder with Ice Pack allows you to give your dog two meals of up to 1.5 cups. You can easily program your dog’s meals up to 48 hours ahead of time.
There is a timer that locks the bowl until it reaches zero. Once the timer goes off the lid pops open, giving your dog access to the food. The ice pack keeps wet food fresh. Place the ice pack underneath each food tray. The addition of the ice pack results in more versatility. You can feed your dog both wet and dry food with this feeder.
Consider these specs:
- Ice Pack
- Each Compartment holds 1.5 cups of food
- Powered by one AA Battery (not included)
WOPET Blue Automatic Pet Feeder
The WOPET Blue Automatic Pet Feeder works for dogs or cats. You can record a message for your pet with the voice record option. Program up to 4 meals per day and control your pup’s portion sizes. This feeder works with dry food only. Use kibble sized 0.2-0.6 inches in diameter.
Consider these specs:
- Voice Recorder
- Food-grade materials
- Wall-Powered & battery Powered (Use 3 D Cell Batteries, not included)
Final Thoughts on Automatic Dog Food Feeders
If you are new to automatic feeders cats and dogs will love, it can be hard to determine which one is best for you. Look for feeders that are well-made with durable materials. Think about what kind of food you will be feeding your pup and get a feeder that works with your dog’s food. With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to finding a great feeder you and your pet will love.