A dog is a commitment, that’s for sure. Any pet parent will tell you that dogs require lots of time, attention, training, money, and of course, love.
But as more and more of us in the United States are opening our homes to dogs, more and more companies are jumping on the dog-loving bandwagon and helping to make pet parenthood easier and more convenient.
So, if you are a busy pet parent, you’re in luck. We modern day dog parents finally have options and there are unique, creative ways we can keep our pets occupied, exercised, and fed during a busy work week.
What are these options, you ask?
Doggy daycares help us keep anxious pets or pets with separation anxiety happy and busy until their owners get off work.
Boarding facilities and doggy hotels keep pets pampered and doted on while their families are off on vacation. There are even dog walkers who will stop by your home up to three or four times a day to walk and play with your fur kid so he is never missing out.
And then of course, there are automatic dog feeders.
If you are a pet parent on the go, then you may want to look into automatic dog feeders. They are great for busy dog moms and dads, but they are also wonderful for those who may be a bit forgetful, or for owners who want to help an overweight pet with portion control.
Whether you want an electric pet feeder or a gravity pet feeder, or a 2 in 1 water and food dispenser for your dog, you’re in luck.
What Is An Automatic Dog Feeder And Does My Dog Need One?
An automatic dog feeder helps keep your pet fed automatically.
This is the future, folks. We can unlock phones with our faces, we can video chat with our family across the world, and now we can feed our dogs automatically even if we are miles apart.
Automatic pet feeders are exactly what they sound like. They help keep our pets full and happy, even when we aren’t home for mealtime.
But automatic dog feeders also provide a sense of comfort and safety to pets who are especially anxious or suffer from separation anxiety or boredom.
Even owners who aren’t super busy may opt to invest in an one to help keep their pets entertained while they are home alone.
It may go without saying but for the sake of at least knowing we said it, we do want to note that these automatic dog food dispensers are not meant to take your place or be used as a dog babysitter for extended periods of time.
For owners who plan on going out of town for days on end, it’s incredibly important to have a dog sitter or a trusted dog walker stop by at least twice a day to check that the food dispenser is working and that your dog is getting plenty of exercise and one on one love time.
Keep reading to learn more.
What You Should Look For
Quality is key, especially when it comes to automatic dog food dispensers.
You will want to make sure that the dispenser is dog-safe and made with healthy materials that are non-toxic and easy to clean.
We also suggest storage containers that keep your dog’s food fresh and mold free. Remember, most automatic dog food dispensers are made for dry kibble only, and some shapes of dog kibbles can get stuck in the dispenser, so you’ll want to do your research.
Follow the measurement guides and make sure your dog’s food and kibble size won’t clog the dispenser.
You should also take care to keep your dog’s automatic food dispenser ready with fresh batteries if it is electric, even if it comes with an adaptor plug. This is to help prevent feeding mishaps if there is a power outage or electrical glitch.
Are There Different Types Of Automatic Dog Feeders?
Not all automatic dog feeders are the same. Some use gravity to keep your pet’s food bowl full. These pet feeders are best for pets who are grazers and don’t overeat.
For dogs who need a bit of portion control, automatic pet feeders that allow owners to schedule mealtimes are the way to go.
Some dog food dispensers only dispense treats while others are able to schedule full-blown meals up to six times a day.
Then there are two in one food and water dispenser options for the owner who really needs some assistance. We also love it when these automatic food dispensers link to your smartphone, but keep in mind that not all of them listed below do.
Whichever automatic dog food dispenser you opt to get for your dog and lifestyle, just make sure it is made with dog safe materials, it’s easy to keep clean, and it keeps your dog’s food fresh and free from mold and bugs.
1. WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder
We love the WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder as it allows for scheduled feedings for up to four times a day. This is an excellent feeder for busy pet parents who work long hours.
You can control your dog’s food portions as well, with alloted food portions being between 2 teaspoons to 4.5 cups. This food dispenser can be powered with a pug adaptor but is also able to use batteries for extra safety in case of a power outage.
And like many of the automatic dog feeders we love, you are able to record a customized voice message for your pet so he is able to be called down for meal times.
This dog feeder is ideal for dry kibbles that range in size from 0.2 to 0.6 inches and it is easy to clean and comes with a removable tray that is dishwasher safe.
2. PetSafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder
The PetSafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder allows pet parents to pre-schedule up to five meals a day for your dog. This is great for senior dogs who need to eat more often and smaller puppies who require eating smaller meals more times throughout the day.
There is also a portion control option that helps keep your dog from overeating, which we recommend for dogs who don’t know when to stop.
This is ideal for small to medium sized dogs and puppies and helps to keep pets and their owners on a mealtime schedule. Like the pet feeder above, this feeder is easy to clean, is made with BPA-free plastic, and has a removable tray that is dishwasher safe.
We should note that this product is fully battery operated and batteries are not included.
3. Athorbot Automatic Pet Feeder
For those of you with small to medium dogs, we recommend the Athorbot Automatic Dog Feeder. It works for both dogs and cats and can be plugged in or battery operated.
The product even includes an infrared sensor which promises to help prevent food from overflowing and jamming. Best of all, the Athorbot Automatic Pet Feeder will not automatically refill your dog’s bowl if food is still in it.
It works with dry kibble only and allows you to schedule from one to four meals a day, all of which can be portion controlled. And yes, you can even record a cute little voice message for your dog so he knows when it’s dinnertime.
4. Lucky-M Automatic Water Dispenser For Small Dogs
The Lucky-M Automatic Water Dispenser is made with a beautiful, sleek design that not only looks great but works well. This is only a water dispenser, but it does come with an attached foodbowl.
The Lucky-M Automatic Water Dispenser is best for small dogs, puppies, or cats and the sphere design that holds the water is made both for style as well as function. The ball allows for more water to be held and the materials are safe and pet friendly.
The water bowl portion even comes with a cover to prevent dogs from playing in the bowl and helps keep the water inside the bowl clean.
5. Balimo Automatic Smart Pet Feeder
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For pets and owners who need help portion control, we like the Balimo Automatic Smart Pet Feeder.
You can schedule up to four meals per day automatically, but there is also a manual button you can use to delve out snacks if you’re feeling generous. Owners can record a ten second message to their pets to alert them at mealtime and the product runs on batteries with an option to plug into the wall.
This is a great feeder for medium dogs or large dogs as it holds 20 cups of dry dog food. It also comes with a transparent covering so owners can see if the food is running low in the storage bin. Like many of these dog food dispensers, the tray is removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
The Westlink 6L Automatic Pet Feeder is another feeder ideal for pets who are in need of portion control and scheduling feedings.
There is an optional voice recorder for that cute ten second message that alerts your dog to mealtimes and a sensor prevents food from overfilling or overflowing from the bowl.
What makes this automatic dog feeder unique is that it works well with kibbles that are different shapes. With that being said, dry kibble should be between .39 inches or 1cm. This feeder is battery operated.
7. DOGNESS Automatic WiFi Dog Feeder
We love that the Dogness Automatic Dog Feeder connects to your smartphone so you can really stay in touch with your dog throughout the day.
Plus, it holds up to 6.5 pounds of dry dog food and stores it safely, keeping it fresh for your pooch. You can record a custom message that alerts your pet to mealtimes but you can also watch your pet from the special Ip camera through the free app.
Keep in mind that this feeder is adapter operated and you will need to have wifi to connect it to your smartphone.
8. Furbo Treat Dispenser and Dog Camera
Come on, now. You didn’t think we would make this list and not include the Furbo Treat Dispenser and Dog Camera, did you?
This is perhaps the most famous automatic dog food dispenser available and it has lots of features we love as dog parents.
It has a two-way audio system so you can not only speak to your dog in real time but you can also hear your dog if he is barking or running around your house. Furbo also allows you to toss treats through the app in a fun, game-like way that helps you engage with your pet even if you are at work.
However, we should note that the Furbo Treat Dispenser is just that – a treat dispenser. It is not for feeding full meals.
Still, it connects with Alexa and you even get alerts if your dog starts barking. We love it!
9. Little Giant 25 Pound Chow Hound Pet Feeder
The LIttle Giant 25 Pound Chow Hound Pet Feeder is a Gravity Pet Feeder that keeps your pet’s food bowl full without batteries or plugs.
This is a simple design, easy set-up automatic dog feeder that is best suited for dogs who are grazers and stop eating when they are full.
The dog food container holds up to 25 pounds of dry dog food and a swinging door hides the dog food and helps to keep it fresh until dogs are ready to eat.
However, some dogs may need to be taught how to use the swinging door.
10. HoneyGuardian 136 Automatic Dog Food Dispenser
If you have small or medium sized dogs who need scheduled meals and portion control then the HOney Guardian 136 Automatic Dog Food Dispenser is a great option.
It is made to be powered by batteries or an adapter and owners can pick their dog’s meal sizes. You can schedule up to 80 portion sizes and schedule six meals a day, which offers great variety and is wonderful for a puppy growing into adulthood.
The product holds up to 13 cups of dry dog food and comes with a stainless steel, dishwasher safe bowl.
In order to keep kibble from clogging the dispenser, measurements of kibble should not exceed 0.47 inches. We also love that there is a built-in alarm that alerts you when the food is running low in the storage container.
11. Fairy Tale Automatic Pet Feeder For Small And Medium Dogs
The Fairy Tale Automatic Pet Feeder is great for small to medium sized dogs and for owners who are looking for a simple design to keep their dogs fed and hydrated throughout the day.
This is a gravity feeder and water dispenser design, so again this means it is best for dogs who are grazers and who only eat when they are hungry.
The feeder should last for about seven days and it is suggested it be washed at least once a week to ensure it stays clean. The dispenser is made BPA free materials and comes with non-skid rubber underneath the feeders to keep it from slipping or spilling during mealtime.
12. BELOPEZZ Smart Pet Automatic Dog Feeder
The BELOPEZZ Smart Pet Automatic Dog Feeder offers you the luxury of scheduling up to four portion controlled meals a day.
This feeder is ideally made for small dogs, puppies, and cats. You can record a short voice message to alert your pet to mealtime, which you already know we love, and it even includes technology that helps reduce clogging.
The environmentally friendly design and pet-safe materials are a plus and a must, and you have options with this feeder as far as using batteries or an adapter plug.
13. Pawple Automatic Pet Feeder
The Pawple Automatic Pet Feeder is another automatic dog feeder we love as it allows for up to four scheduled meals a day. Again, this is a wonderful pet feeder for dogs who need portion control and you can feed your dog portions from between 2 teaspoons to 4.5 cups.
This is great for small to large dog breeds and is easy to set up. It also comes with a food container that holds up to 7 liters of dry dog food. And yes, you can record a custom message to your pet and the tray is removable and dishwasher friendly.
14. URWoow Pet Feeder and Waterer
The URWoow Pet Feeder and Water dispenser is another gravity feeder option for dog owners who aren’t looking for the hassle of an electric dog feeder. However, and as we have mentioned above, the gravity feeder is not ideal for dogs who don’t know when to stop eating or dogs who need portion controlled meals.
This product comes with both a water dispenser and a food dispenser. The food dispenser is for dry dog food only.
It can hold up to 8 pounds of dry kibble and is great for medium sized dogs who only eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full.
15. PETKIT Smart Feed Automatic Dog Feeder
Lastly, we are all about the PETKIT Smart Feed Automatic Dog Feeder. It comes in three sizes for small, medium, and larger dogs and includes a self-adaptation system which helps to prevent food from getting stuck or clogged in the dispenser.
This is a great product for large breed dogs and the unique storage container helps to keep food fresher longer.
You can even schedule up to 10 meals a day for your pooch and the container holds at least six pounds of food. Best of all, you can connect the dispenser to your smartphone and stay in touch with your dog all day long no matter where you are.
Picking the right dispenser for you will depend on your dog and your lifestyle.
Remember, an automatic dog food dispenser isn’t right for every dog and every dog owner. Still, these products can help busy pet parents keep up with their dogs throughout the day and feel more connected to them at the very least.
Before you invest in an automatic dog food dispenser, we recommend you do some research and think about what you need from a dog food dispenser in the first place.
Are you looking for a way to easily keep your dog on a feeding schedule whether or not you are home? Then we suggest investing in a dog feeding dispenser that allows for easy scheduling feedings and portion control.
And speaking of portion control, do you have an obese dog, a dog on a diet, or a dog who needs a bit of help creating healthy eating habits? You may find that an automatic dog food dispenser with portion control options is the right choice for your dog here as well.
For dogs who are grazers or multi-dog households, a gravity dog feeder may help reduce the number of times you are bending down to fill your dog’s bowl.
And while we do love automatic dog feeders, we hope you keep in mind that there are pros and cons to automatic dog feeders, especially the gravity dog feeders. It’s important to keep track of how much your dog is or is not eating each day, and some of the feeders listed above can make it so that keeping track of your dog’s meal portions can be tricky.
With that being said, it’s important to be a vigilant dog owner to help ensure your pet has healthy eating habits. This is why automatic dog feeders are not right for every dog.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.