Best Automatic Dog Feeders

Do you struggle to feed your dog at the same time every day? Or, maybe your beloved pooch could do with shedding a few pounds? If so, an automatic dog feeder may be just what you need.

Product Details

Best Automatic Feeder 2019

Featured Best Automatic Feeder

Petnet Smart Feeder

  • Smart Phone Connectable
  • 20-28 Cup Capacity
  • Built-in Backup Battery

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Runner Up 2019

Featured Runner Up Automatic Feeder

PetSafe Smart Feeder

  • Smart Phone Connectable
  • Works With Most Kibble Sizes & Shapes
  • 24 Cup Capacity

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Best Budget Option

Arf Pets Automatic Food Dispenser

Arf Pets Automatic Feeder

  • Program Up To 4 Meal Times Per Day
  • 18 Cup Capacity
  • Personalized Meal Time Message

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Best For Wet/Raw Food

Featured Best Automatic Feeder For Wet/Raw Food

PetSafe Digital 2-Meal Feeder

  • Fully Programmable
  • 3 Cup Capacity
  • Perfect For Home Made Food

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Features Of The Automatic Dog feeders

Connectivity

Having access to your automatic dog feeder from afar can be so handy. For that reason, our favorite feeders are those that connect to your smartphone or your smart home device.

Not only can you receive alerts when your dog has been fed, but you can adjust feeding times from your phone as soon as you find out you’re going to be working late!

Programmability

Want to program your feeder once and not have to worry about it every day? No problem. Many automatic dog feeders make it incredibly easy to set up not only the times of day that your dog will be fed but also the volume of dog food per feeding time.

Watch out for feeders that need setting every day, as many owners have accidentally filled up their feeder, headed off to work – and only realized their mistake upon arriving home to a hangry pooch.

Overall Capacity

If you own a chihuahua or another small breed, you’re probably not going to have any issues finding a feeder that can keep up with your dog’s appetite. But for owners of large breeds, like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, or Great Danes – you really need to search for a device with a large kibble capacity.

Dispensing Capacity

Many owners will rule out an automatic feeder because the dispensing capacity doesn’t match their dog’s regular meal size, but fear not! Here’s a smart hack that you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of sooner…why not just feed your dog more often? If your dog is usually fed at 1 pm, why not set one meal for 1 pm and one for 1:15 pm? Easy.

Bowl Size

Again, as above – the size of the bowl doesn’t really matter if it’s too small – you can just dispense multiple meals! If you’re a small dog owner and worried that the bowl might be too high for your dog to reach into, here’s a tip – cut a piece of cardboard to the same height as the bowl and test if your dog can reach over it to get a treat off of the floor.

Bowl Type

There are multiple bowl types to choose from, from your run of the mill plastic bowl and dishwasher safe removable bowls to easy-to-clean steel bowls. It tends to come down to personal preference, but priority should be given to quality bowls that stand the test of time and are easy to clean.

Chew Resistant Cord

If you happen to have a curious pooch who likes to wrap his mouth around everything he comes across, you’ll want to think about the quality of your dispener’s power cord — if your chosen device is powered by plug-in. A chew-proof cord is a must-have if your dog tends to get into mischief and, if possible, try to tuck the cord well out of your dog’s reach, even if it is tooth-proof.

Dinner Time Alerts

If you like to be on top of everything, dinner time alerts straight to your phone can be great! They take the anxiety and stress out of knowing if your dog is happy at home while you’re galavanting around town or, more likely slaving away at work to pay for all of that kibble!

Slow Feeding Option

Some especially smart gizmos have settings for slow feeding – so that your greedy guts won’t rush his food and make himself sick. This works by dispensing the predetermined amount of food not all at once, but over a period of time. This slow dispensing option isn’t only good for dogs that rush their meals, but for dogs with digestive sensitivities and those prone to bloating.

Portion Accuracy

Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of haphazardly measuring our dog’s food sometimes and we can all get a tad lazy and just pour their kibble right into the bowl until it “looks about right”. But this can cause weight gain incredibly quickly.

For those poochies that have already piled on a few unwanted pounds, being able to dole out perfectly-sized meals can help them shed that extra winter weight and – bonus – you won’t have any guilt about feeding them less!

Outdoor Use

If your dog is kept outdoors or left in the yard while you’re at work, you’ll probably want to look for a battery-powered option, unless you happen to have a covered porch or kennel with a power source.

And don’t forget to make sure that the device you’re looking at is suitable for outdoor use as, otherwise, rain could get into the food and cause the kibble to become gloopy and clog the machine.

Power Source

There are a few different power options with automatic dog feeders, with plug-in electrical power, USB, and battery-powered being the most popular. Some feeders also come with a back-up battery that can be very handy in power outages, but it’s important to read the product information for each product, as not all back-up batteries automatically kick-in upon a power cut.

Product Reviews

#1 Petnet Smart Feeder:

Best For Large Dogs

  • Food Types: Dry kibble
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Capacity: 20-28 cups
  • Programable: Yes
  • Power Source: Usb and rechargeable battery
  • Phone Connectivity: Yes
  • Dinner-time Alerts: Yes

PROS:

  • Connects to your iPhone, Android, or smart home device
  • Chew-resistant USB cable
  • Dishwasher safe bowl
  • Pet-proof self-locking lid
  • Built-in rechargeable backup battery

CONS:

  • Customer support can be slow
  • Requires you to have multiple app accounts for multiple dogs

Petnet SmartFeeder is a clever little product that will not only store your dog’s food, but also feed your pooch whenever you want it to. If that isn’t enough, it will also notify you via your smartphone when your dog has had his meal and when their food is running low. Who needs a PA, right?

The SmartFeeder’s app works on Android, iOS, Alexa, and Google assistant, meaning that you don’t even have to be home for this feeder to do its magic. It will also help you to work out just how much food your pooch needs based on his size, age, and activity level.

Its extensive feature set as well as its sturdy and sleek construction combined with a stellar reputation for being long lasting is what makes this our pick for the best automatic dog feeder of 2019.

#2 PetSafe Smart Feeder:

Best For Odd Dry Food Shapes

  • Food Types: Dry and semi-moist kibble
  • Color: Dark blue
  • Capacity: 24 cups
  • Programable: Yes
  • Power Source: Power adapter, batteries
  • Phone Connectivity: Yes
  • Dinner-time Alerts: Yes

PROS:

  • Made out of BPA-free plastic
  • Works with most kibble sizes and shapes – even semi-moist kibble
  • Most parts are dishwasher safe
  • Has backup batteries for power cuts that can work for up to a week
  • Schedule up to 12 meals per day

CONS:

  • Initially seems great, but problems can occur after a few weeks of use
  • Setup is complicated and time-consuming

It would be a shame to disappoint your pup, but with the PetSafe Smart Feeder you don’t have to worry about that – as you can feed your dog via the app and schedule up to 12 dinner times a day! Pretty cool. If your darling is a fast eater, you can even have the meal slow-dispensed over 15 minutes.

Should the power go out, this feeder will keep on going for up to seven days – just remember to buy spare batteries – and, even if the Wi-Fi connection is playing up, the settings will remain the same. Told you this feeder is smart!

Backed by a reputable brand name, a solid consumer review, its large capacity and ability to work with the most varied types of dog food is what make this out runner up pick for the best automatic dog feeder this year.

#3 Arf Pets Automatic Food Dispenser:

Best On A Budget

  • Food Types: Dry kibble
  • Color: Black and white
  • Capacity: 18 cups
  • Programable: Yes
  • Power Source: Power cable or batteries
  • Phone Connectivity: No
  • Dinner-time Alerts: No

PROS:

  • Set from one to four meal times per day
  • Dispenses up to 10 portions of food per meal
  • Record a personal mealtime message for your dog
  • Magnetic lock lid keeps greedy guts out of the main compartment
  • Easily adjust settings from the LCD display on the top of the unit

CONS:

  • Can stop dispensing food properly as it gets older
  • Kibble can cause blockages in the machine

Here’s another elegant and simple feeder for any pup owner who’s on the go. With a sleek design, you’ll be happy to have this in your home.

The Arf Food Dispenser allows you to program up to four meals per day and to choose the size of each one, so that your ball of fluff always gets the right amount. An easy-to-use display on the top lights up and allows you to have full control of the device to change settings or adjust feeding times.

As you can fit quite a lot of food in the dispenser, it’s important that the lid on top is resistant to even the most curious and greedy pups. Therefore, our friends with Houdini-esque dogs will be happy to hear about this feeder’s magnetic lock, so not even the most mischievous pup can open it.

For dogs that are fed with a command word, such as “dinner”, you can record a message, so he’ll know when it’s time to eat.

Runner Up For On A Budget

  • Food Types: Dry kibble
  • Color: White
  • Capacity: 25 cups
  • Programable: Yes
  • Power Source: USB or batteries
  • Phone Connectivity: No
  • Dinner-time Alerts: No

PROS:

  • Record a mealtime message for your dog
  • Ideal for older users or those without smartphones
  • Clever two-button touch design so that dogs can’t accidentally change the settings
  • Incredibly long battery life, thanks to its low power usage
  • Infrared sensor to prevent food being dispensed when the bowl is still full

CONS:

  • Will not work for larger kibble pieces
  • Doesn’t dispense exact amounts of food, you can choose between a small and large meal

Believe it or not, not everyone owns a smartphone and, even if they do – many don’t want to use it for everything around the house. If you fit this description, but still want your dog to have his food on time, the WESTLINK Pet Feeder could be the perfect solution for you.

This feeder is back to basics with its display and easy-to-use settings. You can program up to four meals a day and choose between different amounts, so that your fluffy friend stays both happy and healthy. If there’s food left from last time, there’s even a handy-dandy infrared sensor that will make sure that there’s no overfeeding – so convenient!

The design of the feeder makes it easy to fit into corners and – the best part – you can record a message to be played upon the food being dispensed, so that your pup will know when dinner’s ready. How adorable is that?

#5 PetSafe Digital 2-Meal Feeder:

Best For Raw/Wet Food

  • Food Types: Dry and semi-moist
  • Color: Steel and dark blue
  • Capacity: 3 cups
  • Programable: Yes
  • Power Source: Batteries
  • Phone Connectivity: No
  • Dinner-time Alerts: No

PROS:

  • A small device, easy to fit in small homes and apartments
  • Easy to set the timer and schedule meals
  • Can be used for wet or homemade food
  • If you have any problems, you can phone their US based support – six days a week
  • Dual locking lids to not only keep your pooch out but keep freshness locked in

CONS:

  • Needs to be reset each time, so it only works for two meals
  • Larger dogs might be able to force the lids open

PetSafe Digital Feeder is basically a container with two trays and two lids that stay closed until the timer allows one or both of them to open – perfect for any canine who has decided his mealtime is well before an acceptable wake-up call!

It also works really well if you’re having a late night and won’t be home in time for the evening meal – just set the time and the lid will pop open, ready to dispense your dog’s dinner!

With this feeder you can make sure that the portions are just right and, as the trays are so easy to clean, you’re not limited to just dry food.

#6 PetSafe 5-Meal Feeder:

Runner Up Best For Raw/Wet Food

  • Food Types: Dry and semi-moist
  • Colors: Grey
  • Capacity: 5 cups
  • Programable: Yes
  • Power Source: Batteries
  • Phone Connectivity: No
  • Dinner-time Alerts: No

PROS:

  • AM and PM settings so that you can feed multiple meals per day
  • Dishwasher safe food bowl
  • Can also be used for cats
  • Built-in digital clock and LCD display for easy programming
  • A great option for dogs requiring medication

CONS:

  • Some dogs can figure out how to nudge the tray so that they get access to more food.
  • Does not always rotate fully – which means that the food compartment can get stuck halfway.

This circular feeder boasts five food compartments (though the first one is exposed from the beginning) and a lid that only allows your dog access to one food compartment at a time. Each tray can hold up to one cup of food, but you have full control over the portion sizes – so feeding less is always an option. And, for larger dogs, you can feed more often.

The timer is easy to use and there are settings for both AM and PM, so that you can feed at different times in the mornings and afternoons. And, if you want to change it around, you can suspend one meal without having to mess with the settings.

What Is An Automatic Dog Feeder

An automatic dog feeder is a device that provides your dog access to a set measurement of food, or to a predetermined slot on what essentially looks like food bowl roulette.

This device works as your ultimate dog feeding assistant. Struggling to make it home from work in time for their dinner? No need to suffer from pet parent guilt! Now you can set up an automatic dog feeder at home and – presto – your four-legged friend won’t be waiting for you with a rumbly tumbly anymore.

But an automatic dog feeder is not just designed for the career-focused pet parent. This handy gizmo can work for pet owners with mobility issues that make feeding time difficult, or for those dog people who love their chubby pups too much and just can’t resist giving them an extra scoop of kibble at mealtimes.

We know how hard it can be when your veterinarian tells you that Mr. Fluffy McBarkerson has to lay off of the treats. Leaving it to a machine can take away some of that guilt. And, by golly, will your dog thank you when he’s living his long, happy, and healthy life for years to come!

Benefits Of Owning An Automatic Dog Feeder

Don’t Worry About Getting Home Late

Having a career alongside a family, furry or otherwise, can be a tricky balance. You don’t want your boss to think that you’re not serious about your career by leaving that meeting to go home and feed your dog – but, equally, you don’t want your dog to go hungry.

If this is a problem that continues to crop up, or you’re worried that it will be a problem when you start a new job – why not do yourself a favor and save yourself the stress with an auto feeder?

Perfect for Dogs on Medication

Does your canine companion suffer from a medical condition that requires daily medication? There are multiple conditions that require daily medication and certain medication needs to be given at exactly the right time, or it could have an impact on your dog’s health.

Have a chat with your veterinarian and see whether their medication can be doled out with their food in a covered bowl-style automatic feeder – for many illnesses, this is possible.

Control Your Dogs Weight Loss Without Guilt

Where I grew up, in England, we had a very specific name for the face dogs pull to try and guilt you into feeding them – it’s called the “Battersea Dog’s Look”! And, my goodness, does it tug at the old heartstrings. So much so that my old girl would use it very often and ended up a tad on the chubby side because of it – my bad, I know!

That was until I realized that by removing myself from the feeding equation and using an auto-feeder, I had none of the guilt and, pretty soon, she lost that extra weight.

Digestive Benefits

We all know how we feel on those days that our regular meal schedule goes out of the window. It can leave you feeling bloated, lethargic, and even nauseous. Have you ever thought that the same is true for your dog? He just can’t tell you about it.

Keeping your dog on a very specific feed schedule is great for their health, just ask your veterinarian or local canine nutritionist!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I calculate portions?

The best way to figure out how much your dog should be eating is by speaking with your veterinarian and then using a measuring cup or scale to ensure that you’re feeding the exact amount that is suggested for your dog.

Can I use a gravity feeder instead?

No. Gravity feeders don’t tend to work well at all for dogs, as they don’t control portion sizes and, as most dogs have no self-control, this will almost definitely lead your dog to overeat.

Can auto feeders be used with raw food?

It’s not usually advised, as the food can go bad very quickly, which can make your dog sick. However, if you’re keeping the feeder in a cool place and only plan on putting out enough food for a day, you could get away with it when using a feeder that has covered compartments, as opposed to a tank-like system.

How do I train my dog use an automatic feeder?

Most dogs don’t need much more than to be shown where his full bowl is once, but for some dogs, if they’re a little scared of the device – you can take it slow and use some clicker training to teach them that it isn’t a scary monster!

Is it possible to use these for water too?

Not usually. There are some combo food and water feeders but, as water should be given freely with no restriction, having a bucket or large bowl of water out for your dog will likely be your best solution.

Do I have to buy different ones for my differently-sized dogs?

That entirely depends on the settings offered by the feeder you happen to be considering. It is worth mentioning that it’s important to feed your dogs at exactly the same time, otherwise, the more dominant of the two could end up eating both!

Would this work for my cat?

It will indeed, although it’s probably a good idea to keep your cat and dog feeders in completely different rooms, otherwise, you can bet that your rambunctious pup will be stealing your kitties food in no time!

My dog is destructive – can’t he break into the feeder?

If your dog likes to break everything that he can sink his teeth into, then yes, it is possible that he could destroy your automatic feeder. For that reason, we recommend training your dog to be more considerate before buying one of these handy devices.

Final Thoughts

Some tech gadgets can be a complete waste of time and money – but then, some great inventions pop up that truly make our lives easier. The automatic dog feeder most definitely falls into the latter of the two categories!

This is a product that will save you time, potentially improve the health of your dog, and, if you’re anything like me, remove that guilt of working late.

If you’re still unsure as to whether this device is right for you, I’d encourage you to chat with your veterinarian and ask them for their opinion. This is especially useful if your dog suffers from any medical conditions.

Leave a Comment