Do you sometimes work late at the office?
Do you want to stop vermin getting at your dog’s chow?
Are you away overnight and your dog needs a meal of wet food?
There are many reasons why an automatic dog feeder could be the answer to your dog’s feeding schedule glitches.
Quick look: Top 6 Best Automatic Dog Feeders in 2018
The good news is that there are a surprising variety of models across a wide price range which means there is a best automatic dog feeder to meet your requirements out there.
From inexpensive basic devices to iPhone compatible remote-activated feeders let’s take a look at what’s available so that you can chose the best auto dog feeder to satisfy your chow hound’s needs.
Let’s say you have a late meeting or you’ve gone into town for the day.
The dog needs to be fed while you are out but you don’t want the expense of hiring a pet sitter.
When it’s a case of covering a gap in the feeding schedule then you don’t need anything more complex that a basic “Does what it says on the label” automatic dog feeder.
This inexpensive device has the capacity to cover two meals over a 48 hour period.
There’s nothing complex about the Petsafe auto feeder which has two feeding stations, covered with a flap that opens according to a pre-set timer.
Unlike more complex feeders, the pans mean it’s suitable for wet and dry food.
If you wish to feed two meals of wet food at different times, it’s a good idea to freeze the second meal so it defrosts over the course of the day and is fresh when the lid pops open at chow-time.
The strengths of the Petsafe auto feeder are its simplicity and value.
The drawbacks are its relatively small capacity and it’s not 100% tamperproof if you have a determined dog.
However, for the smaller dog that isn’t driven bonkers by food he can’t get to, then this could be the best dog feeder for your needs.
Also from Petsafe but at the other end of the scale is the Healthy Dog Automatic feeder.
This device is unusual for a large capacity feeder in that it can deliver semi-moist food, not just dry.
This product is sturdy enough to resist even the most determined Labrador and has a storage large capacity.
Its strong point is that it is programmable to dispense up to 12 meals as well as different portion sizes.
Indeed, for meals larger than 1/8 cup the food is released over 15 minutes which helps slow up greedy eaters, reducing the risk of serious complications such as bloat.
Like any mechanical device the Petsafe Healthy Pet isn’t totally without problems.
The main source of dissatisfaction is the programming isn’t intuitive and the conveyor jams occasionally.
It certainly seems wise to do a test run with the machine before relying on it to feed your pets, but this is a good idea for any device.
Sticking with high end product our next device with awesome dog automatic feeder reviews is from Pyrus.
A relatively new product it has the enviable reputation of having totally positive feedback to date.
With a large 5.5 liter storage capacity (dry food only) the Pyrus has neat features such as the ability to record a 10-second voice message so you can still tell your pet that it’s chow time even though you’re not home.
The minimum amount dispensed is a ¼ cup (contrasted with a 1/8 cup for the Petsafe Healthy Feeder) at three intervals in a 24-hour period.
The bowl is easy to remove and dishwasher safe for cleaning, and the food hopper is tough and durable, made from ABS plastic materials.
If you don’t require the smaller portion size and increased frequency of feeding of the Petsafe Healthy Pet, then the Pyrus is definitely worth considering, winning out on the ease of use.
Continuing to get our teeth into hi-tech feeders, let’s now look at the PetNet Smart Feeder.
If you are au fait with the benefits of automated stock control then you’re on message with the PetNet.
As well as dispensing food this feeder calculates how much food has been consumed and is smart enough to know when to re-order more.
Not only that, but it will place the order for home delivery so your dog’s bowl need never stand empty.
This clever device is compatible with certain iPhones, but not with smart phones – so check carefully before you purchase.
If you worry that an auto feeder may malfunction whilst you’re out, then the PetNet Smart Feeder can put your mind at rest because it updates your phone with details such as a meal just fed or a low battery warning.
This best automatic dog feeder to technology geeks can also guide you as to the most appropriate food given your dog’s age, size, and activity level!
If you like the idea of a feeder you can control remotely (it’s almost like being there) the PetNet Smart Feeder holds up to 7lb of food, has a dishwasher safe stainless steel bowl, and runs on rechargeable batteries.
Coming back down to earth and down in price range there is the Qpets automatic pet feeder.
Sometimes a best auto dog feeder is also the simplest. This no frills device has six pans for six meals.
A rotating lid reveals each meal at the allotted time. Whilst there is no hopper and the portion sizes are limited, it does give you the flexibility to feed a small dog wet food.
Indeed, this is a useful way of feeding little and often, whilst keeping the flies and ants away from canned foods.
A top tip for feeding wet food over the duration of a day is to add a little water and freeze portions down.
This means they don’t spoil but are defrosted when it comes to the next meal.
Like more expensive devices, this mid-range product can record a brief voice message, so you pet gets a warm feeling in their heart as well as their tummy.
However, the downside of the Qpets feeder is its lack of robustness in the face of a determined raid on the food hoppers.
Last but most certainly not least is the Little Giant.
This galvanised feeder is the best dog feeder for those who wish their canine pals to have access to food but deny it to critters such as rats and mice.
It is not a programmable feeder, with the dogs having direct access at all times via a magnetic flap door which they push open with their noses.
Thus, a dog has the strength to get the food but not a mouse, meaning the food is kept safe from spoilage.
The galvanised hopper attaches to a fence or wall, so that it can’t be knocked over.
Be aware, this is not the ideal feeder for all dogs.
It is a basic requirement that your dog’s appetite has an on-off switch and can control his own calorie intake so that he doesn’t gorge.
However, for dogs in a yard it can be a real problem solver as satisfied users attest.
So there we have it. From a small toy dog to a large working dog, for the fur friend who needs careful portion control to the self-regulating dog, there are great options for everyone.
Key to choosing the best automatic dog feeder to meet your needs is to think through what your need it to do and matching this to the product.
Make the right choice and your dog can even enjoy his master’s voice as he chows down.
Talk about having your cake and eating it!
Dr Sarah Robinson attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University receiving a D.V.M. in 2008. Sarah’s longtime interest is to help people to better communicate with their pet companions, and in doing so, to help them to strengthen their relationships with their dogs and cats. Sarah has published numerous articles on canine feeding in pet related magazines, veterinary journals and leading natural health web sites.