Unlike humans, pets don’t have the ability to express hunger needs. This however doesn’t mean that they don’t need food to thrive. A constant supply of food ensures that they grow healthy. If you are a pet owner who also happens to have a busy life, an automatic pet food dispenser should prove a worthy investment. To reduce the stress, we review the best pet food dispensers for cats and dogs for you.
These products are fundamentally designed to dispense food for your pet a number of times throughout the day. They ensure that your pet is fully taken care of on those days when you find working late. Pet food dispensers come in various styles, colors and sizes with features that allow for timing and portion control.
Types of pet food dispensers
Pet food dispensers are generally classified as electric pet feeders and gravity pet feeders.
1. Gravity pet feeders
They are the least sophisticated type of pet food dispensers as they completely rely on gravity to dispense food. The food falls naturally into the bowl from the hopper, replacing what has been replenished. Once the bowl is full, no more food can be released from the hopper as the packed bowl prevents any further flow. The main advantage of gravity feeders is that they don’t require sophisticated programming and as such, you can rest assured that your dog will never go hungry. On the downside, they offer unrestricted food flow which could lead to overeating.
2. Electronic pet feeders
These are the most popular type of pet food dispensers among pet owners as they offer more control over when your dog can eat and how much they eat. You need to pre-program the measured food portions and feeding times. The feeder will automatically dispense the set amount of food to the bowl when the time comes. The increased control of your pet’s feeding schedule and portions works great for weight control as well as conditions like diabetes, pancreatitis and hypoglycemia. The portion sizes are never overestimated and these feeders ensure that your pet never gorges on their food.
Overview of the best pet food dispensers
Whether you hate waking up in the middle of the night, travel a lot or keep forgetting to feed your pet, a pet food dispenser offers the perfect solution to ensuring that your pet is always fed properly even in your absence. When looking for a product like this, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed due to the high number of options available in the market.
Gravity pet feeder
2lbs of food
5 meal holder
Best dog food dispensers:
Petnet SmartFeeder – Automatic Pet Feeder for Cats and Dogs
This pet food dispenser allows you to control the schedule and portion sizes remotely using your iOS device. This in turns allows for greater flexibility of your dog’s feeding habits even when you aren’t around. It also uses your dog’s individual needs as well as well as other specifications to determine the perfect food type and portion size. The Petnet SmartFeeder gives you information on the battery life, food level and feeding habits of your dog. The bowl and hopper care dishwasher safe, and the feeder comes with a battery to ensure your pet is well fed even when there is shortage of electricity supply.
Pet Feedstar USA PF -10 Pet Feedster Automated Pet Feeder
This pet feeder can dispense a variety portion sizes ranging from one teaspoon to six cups. The water tray at the base makes it ant-proof and the hopper can store up to 10lbs of food. Additionally, it is one of the few automatic food dispensers that can be powered by both battery and DC. The bowl can be removed for cleaning purposes and the feeder runs quietly, giving your dog peace of mind while feeding. While it does come with a one year warranty, this feeder isn’t perfectly sturdy. The reason for this is because the motor can get stuck on kibble. Not to worry though as this is very rare.
Oxgord Automatic Electronic Timer Programmable Dog Feeder
What makes this food dispenser special is that it comes with a voice recorder and speaker that allow you to record your voice calling your pooch for meals. This helps make up for some of the social time you miss out on when not at home. Moreover, the Oxgord Automatic Electric Timer Programmable Dog Feeder has a capacity of 45 cups, making it ideal for regular travelers and big dogs. The hopper is translucent so that you can monitor food levels. An LCD light allows easy programming while the heavy base and pet-proof lock help prevent your curious pooch from tipping it over. It also comes with easy to clean bowl and hopper, sensors that prevent overloading as well as a low battery indicator. The only downside is that it only allows for four meals a day.
Petsafe Healthy Pet Simply Food
With this food dispenser, you can schedule up to 12 meals each day. You can adjust the portion sizes from 1/8 cups to 4 cups. It utilizes a conveyor belt facility to serving meals thus ensuring accuracy in portion control. It features a slow mode, which if activated, dispenses a meal in a period of 15 minutes. This helps prevent vomiting or bloating which may arise as a result of fast eating. The immediate feed mode dispenses the next meal immediately, while the pause feed mode allows you to stop feeding immediately without losing the programming. The bowl is removable and dishwasher safe.
QPets AF 200 Advanced Programmable Pet Feeder
This automatic feeder works great for small, medium and large dogs. It is also one of the most advanced dog food dispensers available in the market. The extra large hopper that can hold up to ten pounds of food is one of the features that make this dispenser unique. It can dispense as little as a quarter cup to five cups per feeding. It also comes with an inbuilt recorder and speaker that alert your dog when it’s feeding time.
The integrated microchip makes this feeder ideal for pet owners with several cats at home. The technology is designed to detect the RFID collar tag and open automatically. This means that other pets can’t get to your cat’s food. It also means that it works great for cats under medication because no other pets can get to the food. It comes with a sealed bowl that protects the food from flies and ensures that it stays fresh for long hours. This automatic cat feeder is incredibly easy to set up and programmable. It comes with various trays, and you can get one with two compartments for wet and dry food.
Cat Mate C20 with Ice Pack
This cat food dispenser provides incredible convenience and ease of use. It is one of the cheapest automatic cat feeders on this list and despite its name; it can also be used for puppies and small dogs. It comes with a two compartment design with an ice pack at the base. Each of the compartments can hold up to 45 grams of food and can open separately based on the timer settings. The ice pack ensures that your cat’s food stays fresh for as long as possible, and it has a 48-hour timer that runs on its own battery. The bowls are easily removable for dishwashing, and the overall product has a robust design that’s sure to feed your cat for a long time.
Petsafe 5 Meal
This is a five compartment automatic pet food dispenser that can be used for both cats and dogs. Each compartment can hold up 230 grams of food. While this is officially a dry food dispenser, you can use it for wet food if you put an ice pack at the bottom. In terms of durability, this feeder has a solid design that doesn’t break easily. The LCD timer is delightfully efficient, and you can set the dispenser to feed your cat once a day for five days or five times a day. This feeding station is easy to clean by hand or using a dishwasher.
Cat Mate C50
It comes with five compartments, one of which must be open which means you can only seal four of them when setting the timer. Each compartment can accommodate up to 300 grams of food, making this food dispenser ideal for one or two cats. The timer can be used for up to four days to open the compartments four times a day. Both the bowl and lid can be removed for easy cleaning.
Cat Mate C3000
Some of its impressive features include a temper proof nozzle that only opens when the set feeding time comes. It is not suitable for wet foods, and the container has a maximum capacity of three kilograms, making it the ideal option for cat owners who away from homes for long hours or even days. The timer is powered by its own batteries that can function for up to nine months. The timer can be used to schedule three meals each day, and different sized portions. It is simple to use, and the bowl can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
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Factors to consider when buying pet food dispensers
When it comes to buying a pet food dispenser, there are certain factors to consider to ensure that you buy what best suits your pet. Such include:
1. Feeding intervals
Ordinary pet feeders come with a bowl where one has to manually fill it with food. However, this often proves inefficient as the pet consumes all the food in a single time leading to puking. Automatic pet food dispensers allow you to eliminate this problem as they allow you to set feeding intervals. A good pet food dispenser should allow for up to six feeding intervals to avoid overfeeding and hence constipation or puking of your pet.
2. Timer setting
This is particularly important for pet owners who struggle to feed their pets at regular time schedules. With a time setting, you can set the device for a single time and forget about having to be home every time you need to feed your pet. Consider buying a pet food dispenser with maximum hours of setting to reap optimal benefits in case you have to be away for a long time.
3. Hopper size
The hopper is used to store food and its size differs from brand to brand. If you travel a lot or own more than one pet, consider buying a food dispenser that comes with a larger hopper that can accommodate more food. Many pet food dispensers come with transparent hoppers that make it easier to monitor food levels to determine when you should refill.
4. Quantity of meals
It’s important that you feed your pet at regular intervals and with equal food quantities. A pet food dispenser that allows you to control how much food you pet eats each time will come in handy. Every feeder has different quantities that can be fed at continuous intervals. Consider your pet’s diet needs and the number of pets you own. Go for a feeder that can automatically close the shutter when the pre-set amount of food has been released into the bowl.
5. Power source
Most pet food dispensers are usually plugged into an electric socket to work. Others are built to be powered by batteries. If you opt for an electric pet feeder, ensure that you always have a constant supply of electricity. Monitor the batteries to make sure that the energy never runs out. Purchasing a food dispenser that can be powered by both electricity and batteries is however best.
6. Pet size
This is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a pet food dispenser. Different pets have different food requirements. Consider the size of your pet to ensure that what you buy can satisfy your pet’s food requirements and not leave it improperly fed. If you purchase a small feeder, the taller pets will have a tough time in tipping.
Making sure that your cat or dog is properly fed requires a reliable, automatic feeder that can get the job done. This guide covers all aspects of pet food dispensers that will help you find the right food dispenser that caters to your pet’s needs.