We want the best for our furry friends, so vacations and working late can be more stressful for owners than for their pets. More than just another gadget, a suitable auto-feeder is a life-changing tool that frees you from worry about your pet’s meals.
Of course, poor automation is worse than none, so you want to make sure your chosen feeder is reliable before trusting it with your fur babies. Some models are genuinely convenient innovations, but you must do research to find the best automatic dog feeder. In this article we’ll review some popular models and explain how to look for the best solution for your home.
|Model||Food types||Max meals/day||Min portion size||Dispenser||Capacity|
|PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed|
|Dry and semi-moist foods||12||1/8 cup||Anti-jam conveyor system||24 cups|
|Arf Pets Automatic Feeder||Dry food only||4||1/8 cup||Rotating rubber paddles||22.4 cups|
|WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder||Dry food only||4||2 teaspoons||Plastic food rotator||20 cups|
|WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder||Dry food only||4||2 teaspoons||Rotating auger||25 cups|
|SureFeed Microchip Pet||Any type||4||Any amount (max 2.5 cups)||Automated lid opens||N/A|
|Petutor Automatic Pet Feeder||Dry food only||4||¼ cup||Impeller to sloped gravity feed||25 cups|
|New Automatic Pet Feeder||Dry food only||4||¼ cup||Gravity fed||45 cups|
PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed – Most Versatile Automatic Feeder
This auto-feeder is highly customizable, with a digital timer that sets up to 12 daily feedings of different portions and scheduled times. This model can handle both dry and semi-moist food, a useful feature if your animals have special dietary needs. The unique conveyor system reduces jamming and keeps the food securely out of reach.
The unit is self-contained and attractive, with an unattached stainless steel bowl that can be easily removed and washed for maximum hygiene. Feeding is done quietly: the loudest sound it makes is when dry food hits the bowl.
The large food reservoir has a locking lid to prevent intruding paws. Just be aware there isn’t an alarm system for when the hopper is empty.
This model is best suited for cats or smaller dogs: larger-sized dog kibble can jam the belt, and the moderately-sized unit can be tipped easily when not filled. It is excellent for multiple animals, as the settings include a “slow feed” option that keeps an aggressive eater at the same pace as the others. Separate units can be synced for this purpose, and an optional split-feeder can be purchased to channel the food into two bowls.
This model is recommended if your animals have a complicated dietary regimen to follow, or have additional pets that need to be fed separately. Though it can get expensive quickly, this unit can be a good choice if you’re willing to face the programming learning-curve (it’s not that bad) and remember to keep the hopper filled.
Arf Pets Automatic Feeder for Dogs & Cats – Most Convenient Small Pet Feeder
This is a highly-rated auto-feeder for smaller pets. The unit is capable of up to 4 daily feedings of individualized portions, perfect for special dietary needs. The setup is simple and its backup battery system keeps your animals fed even in the event of power loss. The clean, upright modern design includes an attractive blue LCD Clock & Display, and latches securely against furry thieves.
If you have cats or small dogs, the Arf Feeder is a solid auto-feeder that looks good and performs well. It is recommended for people with smaller pets who are looking for a convenient higher-quality model.
WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder – Best All-Around Auto-feeder
This WOpet model is one of the best auto dog feeders for all-around use. The attractive design customizes for either small or medium sized pets. The locking food storage and battery backup system make the unit reliable, but the unit adds a few frills: you can even make a voice recording for your animal at mealtime.
The WOpet design avoids many common issues. The programmable settings are straightforward and can serve individualized portions. The ample food hopper is easy to monitor and fill. Besides the nice long power cord, a backup battery prevents loss of settings or meals. The hard plastic tray can be removed easily and is dishwasher-safe.
The unit is secure against smaller animals, but a medium-sized dog can tip it over. The tray is slick plastic that lets food slide backward, though your animal will soon figure things out. The food dispenses slowly, which can be helpful in preventing gorging and its sad ending.
This WOpet auto-feeder is recommended if you have either small or medium pets and want the basics without risking the newer waves of tech ideas. The model is attractive and reliable, and performs its job well. Just keep in mind the expense if you intend to purchase for multiple animals, and that the warranty is limited.
WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder – Easiest Automatic Feeder
This attractive auto-feeder is simple to set up and maintain. The digital timer can program up to 4 meals a day, and the bowl has an infrared detector—it will not just pile up kibble in the bowl. The hopper is well secured, and cleans and fills easily.
The unit’s modern look should complement any home, and the day-to-day experience of filling and changing the programming is straightforward and easy. You can record a short voice message to “call” your pet. The power usage is ultra-low, and the convenient USB cable has a wall adapter and backup battery system.
The feeder comes apart in three molded plastic pieces for quick cleaning and stowing.
The dispensing mechanism has a useful detection beam that prevents adding food if the bowl is not empty. When filled, the hopper’s weight helps resist tipping. The latched lid has a recessed spring that requires human fingers to open.
The reason to withhold a full recommendation is there does not seem to be a warranty, which leaves only the retailer’s policy—usually 30 days. Overall, this Westlink model has all the bells and enough whistles to wish it had a warranty.
SureFeed Microchip Pet – Most Advanced Auto-feeder
On the higher end of automatic feeders, we have microchip-sensitive dispensers. These machines will only serve a designated meal to a specific cat or small dog, so you can feed different pets individually. People who have multiple animals will appreciate a feeder that can deliver a special meal to any cat or small dog you select out of a group.
The futuristic design and small profile is nice looking, but be aware that this model has only a single bowl, which has to be refreshed daily by the owner. There are no 10 luxurious days between refills in this one. The device is for managing individual special diets, and only carries one feeding at a time.
The idea is good, but not everyone has the same level of success with the microchip recognition. If your fur baby isn’t micro-chipped, you can add a special tag collar for your animal to wear. It requires a training period to teach the animal what to do. Be aware of this if you have a “scaredy-cat,” because it is not unknown for a timid pet to refuse to eat more than a bite from it.
This SureFeed model is easy to recommend because it fills a unique need—and there aren’t many microchip automated programmable pet feeders yet on the market. It’s exciting new technology in an early implementation, and this unit has many happy users already.
Petutor Automatic Pet Feeder – Best New Auto-feeder
The locking features keep the food secure, but the unit is not robust enough to withstand depredations of a larger dog. The unit is USB powered and has a battery backup system. You can also record a 10-second message to announce each feeding.
It is difficult to assess this model seriously, for it is quite new on the market and is already gaining a satisfied customer base. The unfortunate deficiency is its lack of warranty, as it may fuel concerns about why the manufacturer lacks confidence in their product.
New Automatic Pet Feeder – Largest Capacity Automatic feeder
Most automated feeders are made for cats and smaller dogs, but here’s an entry on behalf of larger animals.
The boxy design is made of molded, rounded plastic that looks clean, solid and durable. The unit dissembles easily for cleaning or travel, and has a battery power source for maximum portability.
This generic model is gravity fed, and its few moving parts provide less opportunity for malfunction or breakdown.
The unit is quite heavy when filled, making it more difficult for rambunctious animals to tip over or ‘game’ for food bits, and the secure lid is locked by a knob assembly. The large capacity makes this model useful for a larger dog or multiple group feeding.
Lack of technological engineering may be considered an advantage against malfunction, and the large and well-secured hopper offers simple convenience. It is difficult to give a solid recommendation, however, as this automatic feeder lacks a warranty and manufacturer information.
One of the first things to know about automated pet feeders is that they can be prone to errors, including flimsy construction, ease of gaming, insecure food reservoirs, frequent food jamming, and highly touted but unreliable gadgetry. You can find a model that works great for you and your animals, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The biggest challenge with most current automatic feeders is that they wear out quickly. Even with better models, motors often begin to break down after a year or even less, so be sure to research and honor the warranty.
Also make sure the machine’s food type and size is appropriate, because many auto-feeders are designed for cats and small dogs and their tiny kibbles. Look for a model that is resistant to abuse by bigger dogs and other animals it may encounter.
Another important element is the security of the food reservoir. It should have a locking lid that cannot be opened by prying paws, and be strong enough to endure tipping without spilling pet gold all over your floor. The dispenser should be paw-proof to avoid pellet swindlers, too—and dogs are not the only such offenders.
Make sure the unit offers the number of feedings and quantities you need, and try to keep things simple. Make sure there is a plug-in cord if you need one, and that it has a battery power backup so you don’t miss meals or lose settings.
Check out automatic dog feeder reviews, and look for a model you find attractive and is easy to clean. An auto-feeder is a new home furnishing, and how much you enjoy accessing and cleaning it becomes a quality-of-life issue over time.
What are the advantages of an auto-feeder?
Automatic feeders make sure your animals are fed at regular times, even if you are at work or otherwise unavailable. Special diets can be administered reliably in individualized servings.
Does it bother pets to be fed by a faceless machine?
Actually, most animals do very well with an auto-feeder. Let’s be frank, a well-functioning machine is more dependable and punctual than most owners. There is one caveat though: Make sure your pet is comfortable with its feeder, which may require training or using another model entirely.
My cat likes to eat the whole bowl and throw it up 10 minutes later. Will an auto-feeder help?
An auto-feeder can help with food bolting/vomiting issues by allowing you to apportion meals more slowly. Most units provide at least 4 meal settings a day, and some offer more. Also the ‘slow feed’ option of some models is useful to prevent gorging.
Will an automatic feeder stop my pet(s) from waking me up for a feeding?
Many animals will stop begging for food after being acclimated to an auto-feeder. Some owners even find they miss being woken up and don’t program that feeding except as needed.
Will an automatic feeder increase my pet’s food anxiety?
Actually, being auto-fed usually relieves anxiety. It often relaxes the scarcity fears of an animal to know when and where their next meal is coming from.
I have a dog that bullies the other pets and eats their food, can an auto-feeder help?
If you have several units or an effective splitter to divide the food as it’s dispensed, you can guarantee each animal gets at least some food. Another solution is to find a unit with “slow feeding,” so that the greedy pet is always at the same starting point as the others: waiting for the next pellet.
What are the possible disadvantages to auto-feeding?
The biggest potential disadvantages are the expense of the unit and the possibility of failure and resulting missed meals. Also, some units can be ‘gamed’ and defeat the purpose of dispensing meals by scattering the entire contents. Other models can be difficult to clean and trap things you don’t want them to.
Animals like to be fed on a regular schedule, but our daily routines don’t always allow for ideal meal delivery. An automatic feeder can ensure your pet doesn’t miss you (kidding). Some owners call their auto-feeder “life-changing” because it relieves their animal’s neurosis about food, and frees them from guilt and inconvenience. Spend time studying the best automatic dog feeder reviews, and look for your most important criteria.
The future is bright too! New models are experimenting with amazing new conveniences in automatic feeder design. Some well-rated units already come equipped with infrared sensors to avoid overfilling bowls, microchip recognition, and even video and remote apps.
Remember, the main issue with auto-feeders is reliability, so check your warranty. As newer technology matures, consumers can look forward to ever more dependable products—to the benefit of both you and your beloved pets.