If you work long hours or are out of the house on the regular, an automatic pet feeder may save you the time and money you’re spending on pet sitters, day care, or frequent visits home.
The benefits and features across both types vary widely. Among the different types of automatic feeders are gravity and electronic, smart a.k.a. internet-connected and analog, multi day feeders and special diet feeders, models with a web cam, and more.
Let’s take a look at some different models.
1. Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder
This automated feeder is the only one of our list that allows you to feed and watch your pet from anywhere that has an internet connection. The plug-in unit has a built-in (albeit low-quality) webcam and voice recorder that allow you to see your pet and “call” it with a message.
The wireless connection allows the feeder to release food based on a schedule you set (or at manual command) within an online portal. Feed and Go‘s rotating pre-loadable tray has 6 eight-ounce (1 cup) compartments for dry or wet food, treats, or medicine, and is dishwasher safe. The covered compartments and hefty weight (8 pounds) prevent break in and tipping.
2. Petnet SmartFeeder
This feeder uses sensors, learning software, and the world’s largest pet food database to maintain the health of your pet. The plug-in unit calculates portion sizes based on age, activity, and weight, and matches your pet’s needs with specific foods.
The SmartFeeder is controlled through the Apple app (sorry, no Android yet), and even alerts you when you’re low on food and can ship more right to your door (though connection to the device can be spotty).
The sleek and stylish feeder holds the most food (5-7 pounds) but can jam easily, and the taller design could make it easy for larger pets to tip over (weighs 11 pounds).
3. Lusmo Automatic Pet Feeder
The Lusmo is a battery-operated feeder that dispenses up to 3 meals of the proportions you choose on a 24-hour repeating schedule. The programming panel features large buttons, and there is no wifi or app to set up.
Its cat-like design features an ear-shaped handle, and is the only one in our list to come in a choice of orange, yellow, and pink. The food tank’s locking tinted cover provides protection from the sun, yet still allows you to peek at the food supply.
The tank holds just a 10-14 day (just over 2 pounds) supply of food to minimize drying or expiration, and both the tank and bowl are completely detachable and washable (they weigh just over 3 pounds together).
4. Wireless Whiskers AutoDiet Pet Feeder
This feeder is the only one listed that can accommodate up to 8 cats and small dogs (up to 18 inches tall) and welcomes them each by name when it’s their feeding time using wireless identification tags.
Wireless Whiskers gets to know your pets, monitors their eating habits, and sets daily feeding times and portions. It alerts you if a pet eats less that 65% of their food, dispenses food from a hopper in up to 24 daily intervals to minimize gorging, and locks out pets that have eaten too much or are trying to eat another pet’s food.
The feeder comes with an AC adapter and can also run on 4 D batteries if the power goes out. It holds about 5 pounds of food, and is the heaviest at 31 pounds.
5. Cat Mate Timed Cat Feeder
The Cat Mate C50 Automatic Feeder is the only one listed here that keeps wet food cool with integrated ice packs. It can be programmed to feed your cat (not ideal for dogs) up to 5 meals a day (with a 4-hour delay from start time, and 6-hour delay between first and second meals).
The rotating-bowl unit takes the least amount of energy, running on just 1 AA battery, has a 96-hour quartz meal timer, and is fitted with dishwasher safe bowls. Feisty cats may have an easy time upsetting or breaking into the unit, as it only weighs 4 pounds.
6. PetSafe Dog and Cat Food Station
This gravity feeder is the first of its kind to use a stainless steel bowl, recommended by veterinarians for optimal pet health. The reservoir is BPA free and locks into place to prevent spills. Small and medium sizes are available, holding 2 and 4 pounds of dry food, respectively.
The only gravity feeder on our list, the simple concept requires no batteries, plugs, or an internet connection (though it can jam or overflow).
The matching water station provides pets with water around the clock, and can be supplemented with a water filter. Both units weight 1 pound on their own.
7. Qpets 6-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder
With the Qpets Automatic Pet Feeder, your pet can be fed dry or wet food (though not refrigerated) up to 6 times a day. A 6-second message of your voice or an enticing sound can be recorded and played at each feeding time.
Once the rotating bowl cycle is complete, the food trays need to be filled and the program started again, and the trays cannot be turned manually.
The device requires some tedious initial setup and takes 4 C batteries (features a low-battery alarm). Crafty cats could break into the food supply, even with the lid locked, and could push the 3-pound unit around.
8. PetSafe Eatwell
The Eatwell uses 4 D batteries to rotate 5 individual 1-cup BPA-free dishwasher safe bowls that can be filled with dry or wet food (though it does not keep the food cool, either).
The 3-pound feeder can be set for up to 5 times per day, and does not have to be reset once the 24-hour cycle is complete like the Qpets feeder.
The connected tray of bowls does not lock into place, so sneaky cats can advance it with some effort to tap into their next meal.
You needn’t feel guilty about leaving your pets alone once you bring an automatic feeder into your home.
No more worrying if your dog is overeating or starving while you’re gone. Feed your puppy at set times during the day like is recommend.
The right model can ensure they are fed the food and treats they like at the times they need.
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