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As dog owners, we spend so much time worrying about our dogs, especially when we’re not home. We wonder if they’re doing ok, if they’re lonely, or maybe just if they’ve left bite marks on our furniture. But the most important concern any dog parent has is how much the animals have had to eat. Leaving a bowl full of food out isn’t the best solution, as the food can go bad, attract pests, or the dogs eat it too quickly and then they’re left feeling bloated and with an empty bowl.
And that’s just if you’re away during the day because of work. If you want to take a trip and you can’t take your dog along, things get even more complicated. You need to find a pet sitter and explain your dog’s eating habits in detail, and you’ll still be wondering if something will go wrong.
Luckily, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, you can spend less time worrying about such situations. All you need to do is to buy an automatic pet feeder. Automatic pet feeders are designed to keep your pets fed when you’re away. In addition, they can help you get more rest by preventing your pets from waking you up demanding breakfast.
The two main types of automatic pet feeders are gravity feeders and electronic feeders. Gravity feeders use gravity to provide access to fresh pet food at all times. Electronic feeders are powered by electricity and you can program them to dispense desired amounts of food at scheduled times.
Best Automatic Dog Food And Water Dispenser Models
There’s a huge number of different pet feeders on the market. The best choice for you will depend on how many dogs you have, their size, how comfortable you are with technology, and many, many other factors. To help you choose the best feeder for your unique circumstances, I have put together this list of top 5 automatic pet feeders, with pros and cons of each one.
SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
The first feeder on my list is actually a selective pet feeder. Selective pet feeders have a lid that will only open for a select pet. This design is perfect for households with multiple pets. Selective feeders will be of great help if you have that one greedy dog that eats everyone else’s food, if you have a dog that takes medication in their food and want to make sure no one else eats it, or if you have a child that’s too small to understand that pet food isn’t meant to be eaten by humans.
This selective feeder by SureFeed works by detecting your pet’s microchip and opening when a pet with a registered microchip comes in range. When that pet is done eating, the lid will close, and it won’t open for any unauthorized pets. One feeder can store up to 32 pets, which is really impressive.
It’s great that this feeder can dispense both dry and wet food. The bowl is sealed, and the lid will only lift when a registered pet comes to eat. This means that the food will have minimum exposure to air and will last longer. The feeder also comes with a split bowl, which is designed for both wet and dry food to be used at the same time. The wet food will still have to be changed on a daily basis. The feeder has an open/close button that you press when you need to change the food and wash the bowls. The bowls aren’t dishwasher safe. The product uses 4 D-cell batteries, which are not included.
Pros: It’s great for households with multiple pets. It can be used with wet food.
Cons: It doesn’t have a power adapter option.
PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder
The next feeder on my list is an electronic feeder by PetSafe, a big name in the pet products industry. It has a round food tray with five triangular slots that can hold up to one cup of food each. To use the feeder, you need to fill these slots with food, use the digital timer to set the feeding times, and the feeder will automatically rotate to the next slot at scheduled times. When it’s not feeding time, the lid on the feeder will close. This means that the feeder can also be used with wet food, because the food won’t be exposed to air and won’t spoil as quickly. Still, it won’t be able to sit in there for too long, so make sure to check on the food regularly. One great trick that you can use is to put ice cubes in the unused slots, which will keep wet food fresh for longer.
I really like how this automatic feeder allows for many different combinations. For example, you can fill some slots with dry food, and some with wet food, ensuring your dog gets a balanced diet. You can also set up to five meal times. So, for example, you can schedule multiple smaller meals throughout the day or one larger meal once a day. All in all, it’s very flexible.
The lid and the tray are made of BPA-free plastic which isn’t harmful to your dog’s health. The downside is that some larger and more aggressive dogs might be able to break the lid to get to the food. The feeding tray can be removed and tossed into the dishwasher when you need to clean it.
The feeder uses 4 D-cell batteries, which are not included. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a power adapter option, so make sure to always have backup batteries available so that your dog doesn’t go hungry.
Pros: It can be used with wet food; it’s really flexible and easy to clean.
Cons: It doesn’t have a power adapter option. Some larger dogs could break the feeder.
PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed™ 12-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder
Here’s another automatic pet feeder by PetSafe. This electronic feeder will be a great choice for you if you have dogs that have weight issues, or have special feeding needs due to medical issues. It has a number of useful options that help you regulate your dog’s weight and feeding habits.
The best feature of this feeder, in my opinion, is the Slow Feed Mode. Slow Feed Mode dispenses meals slowly over a 15 minute period, in order to prevent your dog from eating too fast. You can also customize the portions to range from as little as 1/8 cups to 4 cups of food, to accommodate for dogs of different sizes and feeding needs. It should be only used with dry and semi-moist pet food. If you wish to feed your dog outside the scheduled feeding times, you can use the Immediate Feed Mode, which dispenses the next scheduled meal instantly. In addition, the feeder comes with 2 feeding options for quick setup, making it really user friendly, even for those pet owners who aren’t so comfortable with technology.
The feeder is made of BPA-free plastic, and the bowl is stainless steel. Both of these materials are good for your dog’s health. The bowl can be removed and washed in the dishwasher, which is a real timesaver. Just beware that the product uses 4 D-alkaline batteries, which are not included, and the power adapter is sold separately. This means that you’re either going to have to pay extra for the power adapter, or always have backup batteries nearby, so that your dog doesn’t go hungry.
Pros: It’s great for dogs with weight and medical problems. It’s easy to clean.
Cons: It can’t be used with wet food; the power adapter is sold separately.
AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Dog Food And Water Stand
This next one on my list is a gravity feeder. Gravity feeders offer a number of benefits. Firstly, they are really simple to use, as you don’t need to fiddle with modern technology to set them up. You just need to put food into the hopper, and the force of gravity will make the food flow out automatically whenever your dog comes to eat. This means that your dog will always have access to fresh food. These dog food and water bowl stands are also a great choice for households with multiple pets. You don’t have to fear that one of your pets will eat everything and the rest will go hungry. A gravity feeder will provide fresh food for all of your pets. The downside of gravity feeders is that you can’t use them to control your dog’s portions. So, if you have dogs that eat too greedily or have weight issues, a gravity feeder won’t be a good choice for you.
This is actually a 2-in-1 product, a dog food and water dispenser. In addition to food, it will provide your dog with fresh water.The product comes in two sizes – Small and Large – that you can choose from depending on how many pets you have or what size they are. The small feeder has 6-pound capacity, and the large dog food and water bowls are double its size. The base is made of rubber, to prevent the feeder and waterer from sliding all across the floor. The bases have side cutouts for easy lifting without spilling. Both the feeder and waterer are made of pet-friendly plastics.
The food reservoir and the water bottle can be cleaned by hand, and they have extra wide mouths to make cleaning by hand easier. The downside is that you need to be really careful while filling the feeder, because the three separate pieces can easily come apart, resulting in dry food being spilled all across your floor.
Pros: It’s simple to use; it’s great for dogs of all sizes and multiple pets.
Cons: You can accidentally spill food everywhere when you’re refilling the feeder.
Old Tjikko Dog Food And Water Bowl Set
The last product on the list is another gravity feeder and waterer combo. This one comes in only one size. The barrels are large, and they provide enough food and water for a single dog for about 7 days, but this will depend on the size of the dog as well. The bowls are quite small, so they might not be big enough for really big dogs. Multiple smaller dogs can also use this product. The water bottle and food reservoir are made out of sturdy, BPA-free, non-toxic plastic, to protect your dog’s health. It’s great that this dog food and water bowls can be used both indoors and outdoors. If you have a backyard, your dogs can eat and drink while they’re on a break from playing without having to come inside all dirty, which is really convenient.
The feeder and waterer are really easy to put together and to refill. There are no leaks and spills when you’re putting the reservoirs back on. You’ll need to wash the reservoirs by hand. Make sure to do it often and well, because mold can appear in the water bottle. The waterer works great, but the food in the feeder doesn’t flow down as well, and it can often get stuck. If you wish to minimize this, fill it with smaller kibble. The bottom of the two products has non-slip pads, so they don’t slide all over your floor when your dogs get too enthusiastic about meal time.
Pros: It can be used both indoors and outdoors; the bottom has non-slip pads.
Cons: The food can get stuck in the feeder.
Conclusion: Best Dog Food And Water Bowl Design
In my opinion, the best dog food and water dispenser is the dog food and water stand made by Old Tjikko because it requires minimum maintenance so you can fill the containers up and be at peace. But, if you have a dog that has to use the slow feeder, then I would recommend the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed™ because it has the Slow Mode. If you want to check other automatic pet feeders for your dog, read my post about automatic dog feeders or even elevated dog feeders made for large breed dogs.