Top Rated Automatic Dog Feeder for 2018 – A Comprehensive Comparison
This article will provide a lot of details and will help you with finding the best automatic dog feeder, particularly if you don’t have a lot of time to read all the automatic dog feeder reviews. Our team has carefully examined the positives and the negatives of the most popular models and they have come to the conclusion that the WESTLINK 6L Automatic dog feeder is the one that you should try to get. It has some of the most advanced technological abilities, including the fact that it offers you the possibility to record yourself and then use the recording to call your dog to the feeder. You can use its automatic function that lets you set a certain time when the food is dispensed. It also has an infrared system that automatically detects when your pet’s bowl is empty and it fills it up. If you cannot find this model for sale, you should try to get the AmazonBasics Gravity Bundle.
- Comparison table
- Petmate Pet Café
- Dr. Fox Recommends – Comparison & Yearly Report
- Best automatic dog feeder with timer
- Best automatic dog feeder for large dogs
- Best cheap automatic dog feeder
- Best outdoor automatic dog feeder
- Best metal automatic dog feeder
- Best automatic dog feeder for two dogs
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently asked questions about dog feeders
Dr. Fox Recommends – Comparison & Yearly Report
We all have days in which we can’t find enough time to take care of everything. But dogs do need to be taken care of every day, and this is why automatic feeders are essential. We have showcased some of the models that we consider to be great alternatives, as each of them has certain areas where it excels.
WESTLINK 6L Automatic
Offering some unique capabilities, this dog feeder will surely catch your attention. It’s a model that people love because it’s so easy to set up, clean, and program. The battery life will last for a good while and the design is very stylish.
It can hold up to 6 liters or 1.32 gallons of food and it keeps it safe from the reach of your animals because it uses an air-tight container to store it. The container has a recessed spring latch that doesn’t let the dogs get to the food. Technologically speaking, it’s very impressive. It has an infrared system that detects how much food is in the bowl. If the bowl isn’t empty, it doesn’t dispense more food.
The device has a built-in recorder and speaker. You can use this tool to record yourself for up to 10 seconds and you can use that to call your dog to eat. The dispenser is programmable to offer up to 4 meals per day.Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.99)
AmazonBasics Gravity Bundle
This package features not only a feeder but also a waterer and they’re both pretty large, with a capacity of 2.5 gallons each. The hopper is able to hold dry food that comes in all shapes and sizes and it’s made of transparent plastic, thus you will know exactly how much food is left for your pet.
Most people love that it offers a simple and easy-to-clean design for both of the dispensers. You can just pop the bottles out, clean them with soap and water and put them back in.
To make it easier for the pet owner to move the dispenser around, the feeder comes with handles. Both devices have a non-skid surface on their base so that when enjoying the food, your dog doesn’t just push them around.
Due to the simplicity of the design, the dispensers are reliable for a long time and they don’t need replacement parts.Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.88)
Petmate Pet Café
Using a transparent pet container, this dispenser lets you see how much food your dog has left. The gravity system used keeps your dog fed at all times. The design of this product is simple yet aesthetic so you can keep it in your kitchen.
This affordable feeder is entirely made of plastic, PET to be more precise, which is a type of material that is entirely recyclable and safe. For making it easier to be carried around, this unit features handles. You will thus not risk dropping it when it’s a bit heavy.
You can choose to wash it by hand and it’s easy to disassemble. But what’s great is that the parts are dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty. It comes in 3 colors: tan, blue, and white, all with a tan finishing. You can choose between 3 sizes: 3, 6 or 12 pounds.Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.49)
Best outdoor automatic dog feeder
AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity
With this dispenser, you can keep your pets happy even when they’re outdoors. It’s a small feeder, ideal for smaller dogs or cats. It’s also suitable for puppies, so make sure to fill it with some puppy kibble for your little dog.
Because of the simple but durable design, you can leave it in your back garden and it won’t be affected by the weather. It holds up to six pounds and it’s easy to use – just unscrew the lid, put the food in and screw the lid back.
The transparent recipient will let you know when the food is low. To clean, use warm water and wash it by hand. The removable parts make cleaning an easy process. As you might know from previous experience, you will sometimes need some handles to carry the bowl around, and this model comes with handles for your convenience.
To prevent your pet from moving the feeder all around your house or yard, the dispenser comes with non-skid rubber feet. It’s best if you place it on a flat and hard surface.Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.99)
Best metal automatic dog feeder
Little Giant Galvanized Steel
When something resembles a bank safe in appearance, you know that it’s made to endure a lot and to last a long time. That is the case with this automatic food dispenser that is built of galvanized steel. Even the biggest and most mischievous dogs won’t have a chance of ripping it apart. Other models can be easily knocked down and the food can be spilled around, but not this feeder.
It has a magnetic door that is actioned only when needed in order to keep the food fresh and dry. The container can hold up to 25 pounds of food, but there is a bigger version able to contain 50 pounds of food. If you keep it away from rain, this model is even suitable for feeding pets outdoors. The food flow is assured by an angled shot that gradually lets food go down.Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
Best automatic dog feeder for two dogs
Precision 3D Prints Two-Bowl
As the name suggests, this is a 3D printed piece of equipment that is meant to let you feed two pets at the same time. It is an attachment that needs to be used in combination with a feeder, thus, please be aware that the feeder is not included in the package.
That being said, if you have been looking for a way to split the food equally between your two pets, this is the way to do it. The attachment is compatible with most food dispensers. Because it’s a 3D printed model, it’s not safe for it to be cleaned in a dishwasher, instead, you should clean it with warm water and a sponge.
The build quality is good and the tray doesn’t have any rough edges. Additionally, it’s sturdy and quite heavy so it won’t get pushed around.Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.99)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
A good automatic dog feeder should be easy to set up and maintain, it should be stylish enough so you don’t have to hide it in a corner and most importantly, it should keep your dog fed and happy. That’s why, when choosing one for your dog, you must think about a lot of aspects. Below we discuss what we think are the most important things to consider.
Types of automatic feeders
Most automatic feeders employ a basic principle in order to work – they rely on gravity to get the food down in the dog’s bowl. Using this simple mechanism, such feeders always keep the bowl full. Due to their simplicity, these are cheap automatic dog feeders, they are easy to maintain and also easy to wash.
They come with an array of advantages, amongst which a very simple setup process and no need for programming. But they do have some downsides as well. The pet will always have access to the food because it keeps coming down the dispenser. Thus, this may result in a very hazardous eating routine.
If you let your pet use a gravity feeder while you’re away, your dog might eat all the food that you have put inside the feeder within one day. And then there will be no food left for your beloved pet. An unchecked eating routine is dangerous for dogs with certain health issues. But if you have a dog that knows when to stop, these feeders are great.
When you are away for a little while and you don’t want your dog to destroy your home while you’re gone, you might want to consider getting a spacious dog kennel and placing a gravity feeder inside to ensure your beloved pet doesn’t stay hungry.
The alternative is represented by electric feeders. Of course, they are automatic but more expensive at the same time. However, they allow you to control the amount of food that your dog gets at each meal and the time interval between each feeding. This makes for a better eating schedule, a thing that your dog might need.
Because this feeder is programmed by the owner in order to work, it has the disadvantage of being harder to set up. Also, if you are unlucky and get a low-quality machine, you might have a lot of issues with it malfunctioning.
On the bright side, however, electric feeders will make it a lot easier to set a schedule for your dog. The ability to control the amount of food they get at each meal is the most important. This is great for dogs with bad eating habits or for those that have health issues. If you’re the kind of person that’s always on the go, these types of feeders will work best for you.
Choosing the feeder based on your lifestyle
Owners who work long hours
If you spend a lot of time at home and you enjoy sharing time with your pets, you probably don’t need a dog feeder. However, most people can’t stay with their pets all day long, so automatic feeders are needed. For those owners that work a lot of hours, automatic dog feeders offer a great option for making sure their dogs always get to eat.
Even when using a feeder based on gravity, you can ensure that your dog eats at around the same time, if you fill the feeder every morning and after you come from work. But if you can’t always do that, you should look for a programmable model.
Owners who travel a lot
There are people that like to travel all the time. And when traveling you can’t always take your pet with you, especially if it’s a large breed. For that kind of people, a feeder that can be placed outside is very useful, because bigger dogs need to have more space and play in the yard from time to time. And if your dog likes to spend more time outside, you might also want to consider looking at some dog coats for cold weather.
Simple models are most often preferred for outside use because they are more resistant to weather. There are very sturdy feeders made of galvanized steel that can be left outside for your dogs. If you’re leaving the house for more than one day though, make sure that you have a neighbor or a relative that constantly fills and checks on the feeder.
Having more than one dog
Choosing a feeder, however, doesn’t only depend on your lifestyle, but also on other factors in your home. For example, how many pets you have. There are certain pets that require special foods, or medication mixed in with their food. And surprisingly enough, there are electric feeders that have chip reading capabilities. They only dispense food to a certain pet.
But you might have a different, smaller issue – getting the same amount of food to two or more pets. Fortunately, there are feeders or attachments that let you split the food in the container into two or more portions when dispensed.
Owning more dogs may present you with a problem – too much hair on the carpet. Be sure to check our article on vacuums for dog hair, to solve that issue. And the hair is not the only thing that can make your house dirty, so have a look at some dog poop scoopers too.
General aspects to consider
Many food dispensers are only designed for small dogs and they can’t hold too much food at once. They offer small bowls, and bigger dogs can have some issues with those. Make sure to check the dimensions before getting a dog feeder.
There are models that are very suitable for large dogs, particularly the ones that use a large plastic container to hold the food. If you get a feeder that automatically dispenses food at certain intervals, set it up so it can give large portions to your dog.
Sturdiness and security
There are dogs that like to play a lot or are impatient and they will want to grab the food container and flip it over so all the food comes out. For those ones, using a plastic feeder might not be the best idea. They are usually feeble and the larger dogs will be able to spill the food out of them.
This is why if that’s the case with your dog, you should be looking for models that are made of galvanized steel. There are also models that feature secure locking systems that keep the food away from the pets.
Frequently asked questions about dog feeders
Do slow feeder dog bowls work?
Because they are made to stop the dogs from gulping, slow feeder bowls have a design that won’t let the pet eat the whole food in one go. Ridges and barriers are used to prevent the dog from eating too fast. But the build quality needs to be exceptional. If the bowl is too hard, the dogs can chip their teeth when biting around the barriers.
Also, if the bowl breaks, ingested plastic can cause serious trouble. When the bowl is too light, the dog can simply flip it over and eat the food off the floor. Thus, slow feeder bowls work but only if they’re properly made – make sure yours sticks to the floor, it isn’t too hard for the teeth, and it doesn’t break apart.
You can also buy dog food for weight loss if you feel that your dog really needs a diet.
Are elevated dog feeders good?
An elevated feeder can be great for some dogs but not a good fit for others. Of course, they are recommended for taller dogs like Great Danes or German Shepherds, or for those older ones that have certain medical conditions. Speaking about health issues, your dog may require dog food for sensitive stomachs, so check out our article on that.
Elevated feeders help the dog have a better posture when eating, and they do that by putting less strain on the dog’s neck, hips, and shoulders. Probably the biggest advantage of these bowls is that they don’t slip across the floor. One of these can stay firmly put, but if your dog is a bit naughty it may still flip it over.
What is a smart dog feeder?
A smart dog feeder is a more advanced variant of the automatic feeder. It not only ensures your dog eats, but it also sets a schedule and a certain amount of food per portion. Smart feeders are connectable via WiFi and they can be paired up with a tablet or smartphone using an app that they have or through a certain website.
They each have certain capabilities, but most of them will allow you to set up a certain feeding schedule. Some feeders will let you communicate with your dog, or they will offer you the possibility to record yourself calling your pet.