Home 5 Best Automatic Dog Feeders for 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

5 Best Automatic Dog Feeders for 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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Best Automatic Dog Feeder Reviews: Dog gets a treatEvery working pet parent has this type of problem with their fur babies – the meals during long days. Typically, most dogs need to eat twice a day for better digestion and well-being. But how do their owners cope with it when they’re out for work? Well, it depends on many factors such as age, breed, health issues, and the pup’s temper.

Some dogs are fed only once a day and feel okay. Those are healthy adult large breed canines, as a rule. Small and medium-sized dogs have faster metabolism; thus, they require to get meals more often. If you own a puppy or a senior dog, it is vital to schedule their several meals by a certain time and to serve them limited portions.

I won’t tell fairytales here about leaving the daily diet available for a pup in hopes that she or he will gradually eat it during the day. It just won’t work for a dog! Unless you offer something your pup doesn’t like at all.

Luckily, there is a way to solve this problem for many working pet parents and their dogs. If you have to leave your pup at home, check out the automatic dog feeder. It’s designed to help you to meet a proper feeding schedule for your dog and prevent hunger.

What Types of Automatic Dog Feeders Are There?

There are different devices for pets available on the market with various features. Which of them would be better for your dog? Let’s look at them in detail.

All feeders for dogs can be divided into two basic types: gravity food dispensers and electronic ones. Both have a range of pros and cons that can be considerable for one’s needs. You should know about them to make the right choice.

Gravity Feeders

Gravity dog feeders are based on a simple mechanism of dispensing food into the bowl as soon as it’s empty. You can guess from the name that the moving power for these devices is gravity. What can be wrong with it?

  • The food can’t be divided into portions; hence your dog can overeating easily.
  • You can’t schedule meals, which is not good for pups with health issues.

This type of dog food dispensers can be good enough for some dog owners, especially if they often forget to feed their dogs. Gravity feeders have several more positive points:

  • They are cheaper than automatic ones.
  • This type is easier to set up and handle.

Although these feeders can do the job, you won’t be able to schedule several portions for your pet if you plan to be absent for a certain time. As it was said, it is not appropriate for pets with special needs.

Electronic Feeders

Electronic dog food dispensers are more advanced devices than gravity ones. Automatic feeders can provide your pup meals almost like you do. Check out their advantages:

  • Programming can allow you to set the exact amount of dog food for a meal to prevent overeating.
  • Scheduling is the best-wanted feature of electronic food dispensers.
  • Different designs to choose from.

Despite all the obvious benefits, there are some negatives points of this type:

  • They need electricity to work.
  • Setting up these devices can be difficult.
  • Feeding your pup through the device only is not good for your bond.

Still, if you live a busy life outside, you need to arrange to feed your pets a healthy way. Consider buying the proper model of automatic feeder to be confident about it.

Best Dog Feeders Consolidate Chart

Best
Product Review
Price
Our Rating
Best Choice Overall PetSafe 12-Meal Automatic Feeder
$$
4.9 out of 5 stars
The Smartest Feeder PetSafe Smart Feed
$$$
4.8 out of 5 stars
Best for Toy Breed Dogs AmazonBasics Automatic Electronic Pet Feeder
$
4.6 out of 5 stars
Best for Large Dogs Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder
$$
4.6 out of 5 stars
Best Design HICTOP Automatic Pet Feeder
$$
4.8 out of 5 stars

What to Look for When Buying the Dog Feeder in 2021

So, you want to enhance your dog’s parental experience with the help of modern technologies? Then you need to make an informed choice. Before you’ll start to look for the device that suits your residence design, pay attention to the more important features.

Jam Prevention Features

It’s not obvious for many but food dispensers tend to jam. This is real trouble for dogs that stay alone for an extended time and their parents. The poor canine would starve if their food jams inside the feeder.

Be sure the model you like has the anti-jam feature to prevent the issues. Safety mechanisms may be various depending on construction. One of the efficient ways to prevent food jamming is inner lubricates.

Capacity

The most obvious feature of the food dispenser is its size hence storage capacity. The typical volume is 24 cups of dog food which can be divided into several meals. Actually, this amount of food is optimum for almost any pet. Remember to provide them access to water along with the food.

Types of Food Allowed

Most dog food dispensers are intended for kibbles but there are also models specified for dry and wet pet food. The latter allows even homemade foods of a certain consistency. Sounds great! You only shouldn’t store wet food in the dispenser for too long to avoid it from getting spoilt. Although, some of the high-end multitype devices have the cooling function to keep wet food fresh.

The kibble food has to have the proper size to prevent stacking in the exit opening.

Operating Modes

Speaking of automatic dispensers, you can manually arrange the schedule of meals and the exact amount of food your dog will have. The further the more, often feeders have the option of remote control via smartphone of the owner. This feature allows pet parents to take care of their canine companions during the day they’re apart.

Scheduling Options

The common time mode of food dispensers is a repetitive program with the same feeding hours. This schedule repeats every 24 hours without additional reminders. In case you want to set up the more complex scheme of feeding, you’ll need to purchase the more advanced dispenser which allows various times and portions.

Cleaning

When making a final decision, think about cleaning the unit which is mandatory even for high-tech dispensers. Dog food is prone to bacteria affection thus, pet owners have to clean the storage area and the bowl very often. Look for the dishwasher-safe units to make cleaning a breeze.

Top 5 Pet Food Dispensers in 2021

Here are Our Picks for the Best Dog Feeders with Reviews for 2021.

1. PetSafe 12-Meal Automatic Feeder
– The Best 2021 Choice Overall –

This PetSafe Automatic Feeder is our best choice because of plenty of reasons. The unit has the perfect capacity of 24 cups which is suitable for average needs. There are different modes of timing and portion sizes to meet totally different requirements. Programming is not very complicated as well. You can easily set up the accurate portions from 1/8 cup to 4 cups per meal and arrange them at certain hours. Total meals per day are 12, it is important for pups with diets and health issues.

What is significant in this dispenser – you can get the two-meal splitter (sold separately) to serve meals for two pets at once. It is very convenient because allows having only one mutual feeder instead of two. The next interesting feature is the special mode for quick eating dogs. Kibbles for a meal are dispensed for 15 minutes to let a pup eat slowly.

The PetSafe can be used for dry or semi-wet dog food. Technically, the unit has an anti-jam protecting mechanism to avoid kibble stuck inside. Stainless steel bowl protects from bad bacteria and can be cleaned easily too. The whole thing weighs 10lb without food in it

The unit has many dishwasher-safe parts to ease the cleaning task for pet parents. For additional convenience, you may use a power cord or alkaline batteries. Highly recommended!

Our rating:
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Up to 12 meals per day
  • Precise portions
  • Different sized kibbles
  • Batteries or cord powered
  • Two-meal splitter feature available
  • Slow mode for quick eaters

Cons

  • Large aggressive dog can tip it over
  • Plastic body

2. PetSafe Smart Feed
– Runner Up –

The second model by PetSafe on the list shows the more advanced dispenser with a larger price tag. It has the same food capacity and a wide range of modes to satisfy any need. The difference is related to remote controlling the dispenser using a smartphone.

Yes, using this feeder you can give your dog an additional snack if you want, no matter how far from home you are. Moreover, this unit has an indicator to inform a pet owner when the food inside is about to end. If you’re living a busy life on the go and tend to forget to buy the next pack of dog food, this feature is a savior. This device is Alexa-compatible to let you give your pet a snack using your voice completely hands-free!

Also, the PetSafe Smart Feed app on your phone can turn off the schedule of feeding remotely if you decide to stop it. Thus, this PetSafe dispenser is one of the most innovative among similar units.

Its other advantages are slow feeding mode and dishwasher-safe construction that allows avoiding manual cleaning. The stainless steel bowl holds 5 cups of food at a time. This amount is enough for any small or medium dog but larger pups can require more. If you own several pets, you may be interested in the adaptor for splitting meal into two portions by PetSafe. The set of accessories includes a privacy panel that divides bowls and prevents fights for food.

Aggressive dogs may try to break the unit if they’re not satisfied with their meal. Consider buying another model in case your dog exposes such behavior.

Our rating:
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Wi-Fi enabled operation
  • Low food alerts
  • Alexa compatible for hands-free control
  • Dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleaning
  • Impromptu snacks feature

Cons

  • Higher price compared to other models
  • Not suitable for large dogs

3. AmazonBasics Automatic Electronic Pet Feeder
– Best for Toy Breed Dogs –

The Electronic Pet Feeder by AmazonBasics is another type of food dispenser for furry companions. Its core difference is the built-in carousel tray instead of a separate bowl. The tray has six sections that turn around by schedule in the clock hand principle. Every mealtime the feeder opens the next section full of pre-portioned snacks. This construction allows using wet and dry pet food without the worry of it jamming or creating a mess – if a pet moves the bowl, for instance.

This type of food dispenser is perfect for small dogs and cats. Using the timer, you can schedule up to 6 meals for 24 hours. Not an obvious thing but deserves advising – try this unit if you have a pet that constantly wakes you up before the clock. Set the morning meal on the early hour and sleep as long as you want. Your hungry pet will get his or her breakfast and won’t bother you. This is what many pet parents like the dispenser for, even if they are rarely out for a long time.

All the portions have to be manually measured and put into cells. This requirement may be boring but simultaneously it allows you to put different food into every cell. The amount of food can be different for every meal as well. These features are rare in the automatic feeders of other kinds.

You’ll find it super easy to fill in and clean, although. The tray is removed as a whole part when it’s time to wash it. Programming this unit seems more user-friendly than most advanced dispensers which is also a benefit if you’re not too tech-savvy.

Our rating:
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Four color options
  • 6 meals are available with manually-regulated portions
  • Each meal can contain a different kind of food
  • Jam-free operating
  • Semi-moist pet food allowed

Cons

  • Plastic body may not be not very durable
  • You need to measure each portion size manually
  • For small pets only

4. Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder
– Best for Large Dogs –

The Chow Hound by Little Giant is the solution for large dogs’ parents. All the rest models included in the list are intended for polite pets or not strong enough to destroy the dispenser. What if your dog is stubborn and mighty? Then you should use the Chow Hound.

It’s made of steel to be completely chew-proof. Your tricky pup won’t open it and scatter the food around. Moreover, the feeder has keyholes on the backside, so that you can even mount it on the wall for complete safety. It also has a swinging door that prevents pest infestation of food in the bowl.

This dispenser comes in two sizes – for 25lbs and 50lbs of capacity. The amount of food is enough for several days or a multi-pet household. The food must be dry only because of the construction type and a long period of storage. Its inner mechanism prevents jams no matter what size the kibbles are.

After all these advantages, it’s time to face the flaws. The most frustrating one is the lack of scheduling options. The dog just gets access to unlimited food which can be harmful to canines suffering from obesity or health issues requiring diet. There is no timer as well.

The unit works automatically but doesn’t use electric power of any kind.

Our rating:
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Durable galvanized steel body
  • Magnetized door keeps pests away
  • 2 capacity options to choose from
  • Chew-proof
  • Can be mounted on a wall to sustain attempts to sneak all food from the storage
  • Works without electric power

Cons

  • No timer to set the schedule
  • Unlimited access to food
  • Not for overweighted pups

5. HICTOP Automatic Pet Feeder
– Best Design –

The last dispenser on the list by HICTOP could win first place if the judgment was based on the appearance. It has a smooth shape and a stainless-steel bowl that is easy to clean in the dishwasher. This unit has a round transparent window that shows the quantity of food left in the storage – not only a peculiarity but a handy way to assess your stocks.

Total capacity is 26 cups of kibble with up to 4 meals per day schedule. Using this feeder, you will establish a precise regimen for your pup. What’s nice about this unit is the timer on the top to make programming comfier for pet parents.

Now, the distinct feature of this automatic feeder is its ability to record a 10-seconds audio message for your furry kids. Your voice will encourage them to come and eat when the meal is served. This will make your bond even stronger because food is a natural way to gain trust from animals.

The HICTOP also has an intelligent feature enhancing your experience of using it. Its infrared sensor watches the food left in the bowl and won’t allow it to jam inside. You can customize your feeding plan by choosing a different portion size for every meal. Additionally, you can choose from two power options.

This dispenser may not be the best choice for large dogs due to its capacity and bowl size but pups up to medium size will benefit from this nice unit.

Our rating:
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Prevents serving the next meal while there’s food left in the bowl
  • Voice recording feature to call a pet
  • Transparent window for easy storage checking
  • Fixed stainless steel bowl can’t be moved away by a pet
  • Nice and handy design
  • Anti-jam indicator

Cons

  • Plastic details won’t sustain attacks of strong pets
  • For kibble only

Aspects of Using the Automatic Feeder for Dogs

Some may think about an automatic feeder for dogs as of trending excess device. Check out this list of pros and cons to make an informed decision.

Positives

Pet Parents Convenience

If you belong to a kind of person who often forgets to buy a new pack of dog food or even feed your canine sometimes, check the electronic dispenser models which are able to send alerts when the food is low. The once programmed automatic feeder will take care of serving meals for your pup no matter how busy the owner is.

The comfort of arranged automatic feeding will come in handy even for those who don’t work all day long.

Obesity and Underfeeding-proof

Black and white dog with cookiesDevices that allow precise portions are great helpers for parents of obese dogs. You can’t give your pup unlimited access to food because your Fido will eat until he can and then again and again. This practice leads to overeating and obesity.

Otherwise, if you don’t leave food for your pet when you’re out, your furry baby will suffer from underfeeding. It can cause damage to his or her health. Food dispensers will solve the problem.

Schedule Setting

Everybody knows about the benefits of a feeding regimen for one’s health. Regular meals help proper digestion and have positive affection for behavior. Pets tend to stick to the schedule and their mood gets more predictable because of it.

There is a not so obvious advantage of a feeding schedule for a dog – if a pup eats at the same time, he or she poops at the same time. Thus, the dog’s toilet becomes predictable too. It is comfortable for Fido and his parents. You wouldn’t want to find a pile of poop on the carpet coming home from work.

Negatives

Malfunction is Possible

One of the frequent complaints regarding automatic feeders is their malfunction. The most common issue is jamming with kibbles. You wouldn’t want your dog to starve because of a poor dispenser, therefore, choose the unit with an anti-jam feature, especially if you leave your pet for several days alone.

Then, programming can go wrong, batteries can run out, and the unit won’t work properly. Try to check the feeder before you will rely on it. Instructions and customer support may help you with setting it up.

Not Durable Enough

This is legit for parents of large dogs and aggressive chewers. If it’s your case, omit plastic feeders that can easily be broken by a strong canine. There are metal food dispensers that will solve the task.

Less Bond with Your Pet

The last but not the least reason against feeders is psychological. Giving your pet tasty snacks you show him or her your love and care. When dogs get meals from dispensers only, they feel deprived of this type of bonding with owners. It is more upsetting if dispensers were used to feed dogs constantly from an early age. Pet parents are advised to avoid full automation of giving meals to their pups. Try to offer them treats or snacks from time to time even if your schedule doesn’t allow you to feed your dog by yourself.

Conclusion

Food dispensers are really great invention for working pet parents because they help to take care of their beloved canine companions. With the assistance of dog feeders, you can help yourself too by setting the proper meal schedule and portions once in a while and living your busy life out or sleeping in.

There are many kinds of these units available to satisfy any requirement. Each pet feeder has its advantages and disadvantages like any other thing around. To get a proper dispenser, set your goals, then look for the model with coordinating features. If you leave your pets at home alone for an extended time, consider buying the watering supply as well.

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