Have you ever had to rush home to feed your dogs because it is their feeding time but wanted to stay out longer? Do you work outside the home and need to feed your dogs multiple times throughout the day? Perhaps your dogs are special needs and require medicine during the day?
If you said yes to any of these, you would benefit from an best automatic dog feeder. There are many reasons a dog owner would want an automatic feeder, including convenience, weight regulation, and independent feeding.
However, not all feeders are made equal and you will want to find the right one for you and your dogs’ feeding schedule. Automatic dog feeders come in two categories: gravity reservoirs and electric dispensers, and can range from just two meals of one-fourth cup each to twelve or more meals of three cups each. This article will list the top ten best automatic dog feeders and then help you decide which is the best for you based on your dogs’ and your needs.
Best Automatic Dog Feeder of 2017
Petmate Pet Cafe
Feeder (Editors' Choice)
|12.9 x 8.6 x 10.9 inches||4.9/5|
Vanness AF3 3-Pound
Auto Feeder (Editors' Choice)
|6.88 x 11.38 x 8.88 inches||4.7/5|
PetSafe Healthy Pet
|8.7 x 18.54 x 12.36 inches||4.6/5|
|Feed and Go||19 x 16 x 3 inches||4.5/5|
with Ice Pack
|3 x 5.1 x 9 inches||4.5/5|
|HoneyGuaridan A26||8.2 x 14 x 7.3 inches||4.4/5|
|WoPet Smart Feeder||8.2 x 10.6 x 15.9 inches||4.3/5|
|GemPet 5 Meal Trays||14.2 x 4.7 x 13.4 inches||4.3/5|
eTTgear Electric Pet
Dry Food Dispenser
|8 x 15 x 15 inches||4.2/5|
|Pyrus Pet Feeder||2.8 x 3.6 inches||4.1/5|
Petmate Pet Cafe Feeder – Best Dog Feeder 2017
With a simple, no-frill design, the PetMate Pet Café automatic dog feeder is the perfect fit for the dog that can regulate their own food intake. As a gravity reservoir, this feeder will release more food instantaneously as the food in the bowl is eaten, up to the full six pounds.
For this reason, this feeder is not a good choice for dogs who overeat or who need to lose weight. Ideal for indoor or outdoor use, the Pet Café automatic feeder features a removable lid on top of the hopper, allowing you to easily pour more food into it, and the transparency of the hopper means you can check the amount of food left at a glance.
Unfortunately, this also means your dog is more likely to attempt a break-in, but with a sturdy construction, your dog may find it difficult to get into the feeder. When you need to clean the Pet Cafe, simply remove the hopper and wash it in warm water. You can safely wash the base and lid in the dishwasher, but the hopper is not dishwasher-safe, so you will need to wash that by hand. Returning the full feeder is made easier with grab handles on the base.
Vanness AF3 3-Pound Auto Feeder – Perfect for outdoor
Another gravity reservoir feeder, the Vanness AF3 is smaller than the PetMate Pet Cafe. It can only hold three pounds of food, so it is more suitable for small to medium dogs rather than large breeds.
As with the PetMate Pet Cafe, this feeder is not suitable for dogs that overeat or need to lose weight, as it allows free-flow of the food up to the full three pounds.
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, the Vaness AF3 is fully dishwasher-safe, so clean-up is a breeze. Made from plastic that has been FDA-approved for food contact, you will never have to worry that your dogs are consuming harmful chemicals through use of the feeder. Filling the hopper is also very simple, since it is top-filled and has a removable lid. However, the mouth of the hopper may be too large for your dog’s food, allowing the food to flow out faster than intended. At the same time, if your dog eats large-sized kibble, the extra-large mouth may be just what you need.
PetSafe Healthy Pet Automatic Feeder – Good for home
From PetSafe comes an amazing feeder that dispenses up to 12 meals a day with portion sizes ranging from one-eighth cup to four cups. The hopper stores up to 24 cups, which is enough for many days’ worth of portion-controlled meals.
You can check the amount of food left at a glance through the transparent hopper and adding more food is simple with a top-flip lid that is lockable to prevent spillages or break-ins. To prevent vomiting or bloating, there is a slow mode, which will dispense the food slowly over 15 minutes. This is ideal for overeaters, such as Labradors or golden retrievers, as it forces them to take their time and does not allow them to get into the hopper to steal more food.
Should you need to feed your dogs off their schedule, just press the immediate feed button and the feeder will dispense the proper portion just like that. Also, if you need to pause the feeding for any reason, there is a pause button. While this feeder is battery-powered, you can get an AC adaptor for it as well. The stainless steel bowl used for the PetSafe Simply Feed is easy to remove and wash in the dishwasher or sink. Replacing the bowl and setting the schedule for feedings is simple and intuitive, requiring only a small amount of practice.
Feed and Go – Automatic dog feeder with camera
Do you like to check that your dog is eating right? Then the Feed and Go may be just the one for you! Connect the feeder via Wi-Fi in less than a minute’s time and you will get notifications when your dog is fed. Log into the web portal and you can monitor your dog while he eats and control the feeder with a simple interface.
Great for small to medium dogs, this feeder dispenses up to six meals of up to one cup of food. You need not worry about the freshness of the food, as the airtight compartments will keep dry or wet food fresh up to 24 hours. You could also dispense medicine with this feeder. When it is chowtime, call your dog to the feeder with a 10-second voice recording.
One major drawback with the Feed and Go is that there is no battery backup, so if the electricity goes out, the feeder cannot dispense food.
WoPET Feeder with Ice Pack – Best automatic dog feeder with timer
A unique feeder, the WoPet automatic pet feeder with ice pack is a great solution if you are gone at work all day. Very easy to use, just set the timer for the number of hours you want to pass before the spring-loaded lid opens. When the timer goes off, the compartment will open and your dog can eat. Though this feeder only has compartments for two meals, the ice pack will keep the food fresh for up to 48 hours, which is the longest amount of time the timer can be set for.
Excellent for moist or wet food, you can also dispense medicine with the WoPet automatic feeder. The trays are easy to remove and clean and the rest of the feeder can be wiped down with a moist cloth. One drawback of this device is that it cannot be turned off because there is no switch. Once you set the timer, the compartment will spring open at that time without fail.
HoneyGuaridan A26 – Best pet feeder for small dogs
Do you have a toy breed dog? Then you may want the Honeyguardian A26 because it can dispense the smallest portions of all the feeders reviewed in this article. Portion sizes can range from 1/32 cup to four cups and the hopper holds up to 12 cups.
Great for when you go on a weekend getaway, this feeder can feed your dog twice a day for three days straight. You will not have to worry about power outages or the batteries draining, since this device is able to use both an AC adapter and batteries. Call your dog to eat with a 12-second recording and never worry about food getting lodged in the chute because of infrared detection. The setup and programming takes a little practice and patience, as it is tedious to do and not very intuitive.
WoPet Smart Feeder – Best automatic dog feeder with app
Intended for the small dog in your life, the feeder dispenses up to four meals of between 10 and 100 grams. If your home Wi-Fi goes out, this smart feeder will continue on your programmed schedule without delay. You also do not need to worry about power outage, as the WoPet Smart Feeder uses both AC adapter and battery backup. When it is time to clean the hopper, simply detach it and wash thoroughly.
GemPet 5 Meal Trays – Best automatic pet feeder for wet food
Controllable via a smartphone app, the GemPet automatic pet feeder is another great feeder for the owner on the go. With the app, you can view and talk to your dog at any time, take pictures or videos, and set a schedule that will run on its own even if the Wi-Fi fails. You can even share your dog’s picture or video to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media!
You can set up to five meals a day with portions of up to approximately one cup. Cleaning the device is easy since the tray and hopper are both detachable and simple to wash in the dishwasher. When it is time to put it back together, the setup is very simple and takes no practice. You can dispense wet or dry food, as well as medicine, with this feeder and when it is time to eat, a voice message can be played to call your dog to his food. Made very sturdily, the GemPet automatic pet feeder is hard to break in to because of a lockable lid.
eTTgear Electric Pet Dry Food Dispenser – Best for large breeds
Great for feeding larger dogs because of its seven-pound hopper capacity, the ETTGear electric dry food dispenser is easy to setup and program. The device will dispense portions of food starting at one-fourth cup and then play a 10-second message that you can pre-record.
Suitable for indoors or outdoors, this feeder is battery-operated only. When you want to refill, just open the snap-lock lid and pour the food in. The lid will keep your canine from spilling the contents and overeating. One drawback to this feeder is that it is not quite accurate in its measurements, so you should set the program to portion out one-fourth cup smaller than the actual amount you want it to dispense. Other than this one flaw, this automatic pet feeder is an excellent choice for owners of large dogs or who will be gone for long periods of time.
Pyrus Pet Feeder – Best cheap dog feeder
With a hopper capacity of seven pounds and portions measuring one-fourth cup to three cups, the Pyrus pet feeder is another great option for large dogs or long periods of absence. You can program it to feed up to three times a day and the setup and programming is very simple.
Suitable for both inside and outside, the pet feeder is battery powered. Check the level of food remaining with a glance through the transparent hopper and never worry that your dog is running low on food. When it is time to clean the device, taking it apart is a simple process and the bowl is removable and dishwasher safe. Once it is clean, just refill the hopper via a top lid which locks in place to prevent spillage or break-ins. When it is time to eat, the Pyrus pet feeder plays a 10-second message three times in case your dog does not hear it the first time, but the speaker quality is low and your dog likely will not hear it well unless he is nearby.
Best Dog Feeders 2017 – Buyer’s Guide
The Technology Behind the Automatic Dog Feeder
There are two types of automatic dog feeders, gravity reservoirs and electric dispensers. The first kind, the gravity reservoir, is simple and requires no batteries or AC adapter. The bowl is filled until the chute is covered and then the food stops dispensing until food is eaten. When the food is eaten, gravity pushes more food into the bowl. This style of dog feeder is not suitable for dogs that need to lose weight or who overeat and get sick because the feeder will continue to dispense the food until it is all gone. Gravity reservoirs are best for dogs that can self-regulate their food intake and eat only what they need throughout the day.
The second style of automatic dog feeder is the electric dispenser. There are a few different ways these can work, form a simple countdown timer with spring-loaded lids to a programmable schedule with a shut-off valve. If the feeder has a tray, the lid on each compartment will open when the timer goes off and releases the lock. The style with a shut-off valve on the chute dispenses the programmed portion then closes the valve when the set amount is dispensed. Some of these electric dispensers also come with simple webcams and a recorder for you to record a message. With these, you can view your dog while he eats from a web portal or smartphone app and the recorded message will play when the food is dispensed.
Benefits of Using an Automatic Dog Feeder
There are many benefits to using an automatic pet feeder. First of all, you will no longer have to worry that your dog will run out of food while you are at work or on vacation. Another benefit is being able to sleep in and know that your dog will be fed on time. Begging will likely become a thing of the past as your dog will recognize that food no longer comes from you. Finally, if you have a special needs dog who requires medicine around the clock, using an electric dispenser will mean you do not have to rush home or wake up in the middle of the night to give your canine companion his medicine.
Uses of an Automatic Dog Feeder
Automatic dog feeders can be used for several different things. The most obvious use is to provide dry or wet dog food during the day and/or night so your dog does not run out of food. However, automatic feeders can sometimes also dispense medicine to a special needs dog so you do not have to worry that your canine is not getting his medication. Furthermore, you can set the feeder to dispense small treats and sometimes even control the treat dispensing from wherever you are via an app or web portal. In this way, if you spot your dog being good on the webcam, you can give him a treat to encourage the good behavior.
Most people do not like having to go home in the middle of the day to feed their dogs. An automatic dog feeder can fix that problem and will also save you money on pet sitters while you are on vacation. While there are many types of automatic feeders, this article looked at ten of the best and analyzed their features. Hopefully, you found the right one for you among these best automatic dog feeders. If you have any other thoughts or suggested products, feel free to post a message in the comments section below.