Feeding your dog is a simple daily chore that can have a few challenges. For one, if you’re forgetful then your poor dog will have to deal with the hunger that comes with missed feeding times!
Another real concern is overfeeding or underfeeding due to inaccurate and inconsistent measurements of food. An estimated 25-30% of dogs are obese, with that number being as high as 45% in adult aged dogs. This leads to an incredible amount of health issues, lower quality of life, and lower lifespan for your dog.
Luckily for us, one of these top rated automatic dog feeders can solve these problems! Take a quick glance at our top choices below and then we’ll discuss why an automatic dog feeder can create a better life for both you and your dog.
Our Best 5 Automatic Dog Feeders
If you’re really looking for a smart dog feeder, Petnet offers the smartest on the market. The SmartFeeder connects to your home’s Wifi network, and the Petnet app is your gateway to your dog’s feeding and eating habits.
The Petnet app can be installed onto your smartphone and will allow you to know when the last time your dog has eaten, if they are out of food, and even let you dispense food on command.
With the automated feeding scheduling, you likely won’t need to think about individual feedings again. The Smartfeeder allows you to set portion sizes as small as 1/16 cups for tiny dogs or 1.5 cups for large breeds. It can handle kibble sizes from 1/8″ – 5/8″ in diameter which should cover any commercial dog foods. The built-in food storage bin holds 5-7 lbs of dry dog food.
This dog feeder is also built with a lot of great, practical features in mind. The dog food storage bin securely locks to keep prying noses and paws out! The food contain and doggie bowl are both removable to be easily cleaned as needed.
One thing to consider with the Petnet SmartFeeder is that it is electronically operated, so you’re going to have to plug it into an outlet or use the built-in rechargable battery which lasts just 2 days. I don’t think remembering to re-charge the SmartFeeder every 2 days is a realistic option, but it is great that it has a built-in battery backup in case of power outages.
PetSafe Smart Feed
PetSafe is a trusted name in the pet industry, making lots of popular products such as dry dog food containers and doggie doors. PetSafe isn’t exactly a cutting edge start-up, but they have been releasing more “smart tech” devices for pets, and their new PetSafe Smart Feed has been very well received so far.
PetSafe’s smart dog feeder is also Wifi connected with an app that gives you notifications such as pet feedings and low food levels. The app lets you program your dog’s regular feeding schedule and allows you to do extra feedings as needed.
This smart feeder can dispense anywhere from 1/8 cups to 4 cups per feeding, and the food storage container can hold 24 cups of dog food. The Smart Feed has a slow feed option that can dispense food slowly over a period of 15 minutes if your dog has issues with eating too quickly.
This smart dog feeder needs to be plugged in to operate, and you can install 4 D batteries (not included) to work as back-ups in the event of a power outage.
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HoneyGuardian Automatic Pet Feeder
The HoneyGuardian A36 Automatic Pet Feeder looks a lot like the PetSafe feeder, but the A36 is a more dumbed-down version.
For starters, the A36 doesn’t connect to your WiFi or have any apps that can be used to monitor and control the feeder. Instead, you program the feeding settings using a small display on the feeder itself.
The food capacity of the HoneyGuardian is also much lower, just 13 cups of dry food so you’ll be filling it more than the first two models we looked at. The A36 has one cool feature where you can record a message up to 10 seconds long that will be played from a speaker to alert your dog when it’s feeding time!
There are a few benefits to the A36. First is the cost – it’s about half as much as the smarter, WiFi-enabled smart feeders. Also because it’s not connected to the WiFi constantly, you can choose to power this with 4 D batteries and expect to get at least 6 months of usage before you need to change them! You can also use a regular power cable and the batteries as a backup.
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PortionProRX Automatic Pet Feeder
The PortionProRX is another smart feeder with a bit of a unique twist compared to what you’ve already seen – controlled access to food! This smart feeder lets you program your dog’s feeding schedule on the device, and then using an RFID tag you put on your dog’s collar, it controls access to the food.
If you live in a single-pet household this isn’t very useful, but if you have multiple pets then this can be very helpful. This feeder comes with 1 RFID tag which will allow that pet to get access to the food. It’s recommended to buy another unit if you want another pet to have access to their own feeding schedule and diet.
The PortionProRX holds 32 cups of food at a time and detects when your dog is within 2 feet of the unit to control access to the food. The feeder is powered by a standard power cable, but does not have a battery backup in the event of a power outage. It does have a small battery to save the feeding settings and can dispense food once the power comes back on, however.
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- Simple Cleanup: Food bottle has and extra-wide opening, which makes for easy cleaning as well as fast...
The SureFeed is a smart feeder is more about controlling access to pet food rather than automatically scheduling feedings. This device only controls access to a bowl of food that can allow access based on the microchip your pet already has implanted in their neck in case they get lost.
This makes the SureFeed a good option for those with smaller dogs, but not for larger dogs. Your pet will need to get their head and neck under the arch in order for the device to read their microchip, so if your dog is taller than 12″ or so, they might not be able to use this device.
The feeder doesn’t need to be plugged in and can operate for over a year off of 4 C batteries.
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The Benefits of an Automatic Feeder
There are numerous benefits that can come to both you and your dog from an automatic feeder. One of the major advantages is an automatic dog feeder can be great for your dog’s health.
The feeding mechanism these gadgets use feed your dog the exact same amount of food you specify, so getting your dog’s weight on target will never be easier. Given that 20-40% of dogs are overweight or obese, this can be a lifesaver for some pets and add quality years to their life. If your vet suggests your dog needs to gain or lose weight you can simply tweak the amount of food or add/remove feeding times.
Another big benefit some people see is no more missed feedings or overfeedings. If you’re very forgetful or you live in a house with other adults where you sometimes end up double-feeding or not feeding the dog because you’re not sure if someone else already did it, a smart pet feeder eliminates those communication errors.
As long as there is dog food in the feeder, you can rest assured your dog will be fed exactly as much as they need, when they need it.
If you have a difficult schedule where you’re not home to feed your dog during regular hours, an automatic feeder can be a big help in that regard as well. This lets your dog’s feeding schedule stay normal so you aren’t feeding them at random times on the weekends or days you don’t work, throwing off all the timing.
Speaking of schedules, if you’re like me and enjoy sleeping in a bit later on the weekends, you can still let your dog get fed at their normal morning hour without getting up!
Drawbacks of an Automatic Dog Feeder
Smart pet feeders aren’t perfect and won’t be for everyone. The main drawback of a smart dog feeder is the cost. A regular dog bowl and dog food container won’t run you very much, but these smart devices can cost upwards of $200! You’ll want to make sure you’re going to reap the benefits from it to justify the costs.
If you have a multi-dog or multi-pet household, then these devices may not be as useful to you. While some of the devices above try to control access to the food, it’s hard to be certain you won’t have two dogs eating out of the same bowl when you’re not around!