As much as we all love our dogs, there are times when we unfortunately have to leave them home alone. Whether you have to stay late at work one night, or your dog walker calls in sick, it can be tough on both you and your dog to be apart — especially when your pup’s dog bowl is empty and their tummy is rumbling. But there’s one thing we can do to help make life a little bit better for them: get them on a regular feeding schedule with the help of an automatic feeder.
What to consider when choosing an auto dog feeder
Take stock of your current feeding schedule and routine. Are you usually rushing home to feed your pup? Do they prefer smaller meals throughout the day or 1-2 large meals? Are you a fan of digital systems vs. automatic timers that release food? Is having a manual option important? Do you have multiple dogs to feed? Is your dog a large breed? And does your dog prefer dry dog food or wet food (or both)? The answers to these questions will all impact which automatic dog feeder is best for you and your pup.
For example, if your dog won’t touch dry food, then you’re better off with a plate feeder because it can seal off and keep wet food fresh. But if your dog is all about the kibble, a programmable one might be better. Smart feeders that can be controlled through apps, meanwhile, are great if you tend to forget to do things (like program a feeder) in the morning or if your schedule is unpredictable.
Bonus features are good to take into account, too! Some dog feeders come with a whole host of other perks to make being apart easier for both of you — from video cameras to phone status updates, to fun food games that keep your dog entertained.
You should also consider your dog’s diet before pulling the trigger on an automatic feeder. If your pooch needs to lose a few pounds, relying on an automatic pet feeder that portions food out by itself isn’t the best option. Many feeders tend to release a bit more than the programmed amount, so it’s easy for a dog to eat more than the recommended serving size. The solution to avoid overfeeding with an automatic feeder is to get one that allows you to pre-portion your dog’s food, like the PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder.
So, what is the best automatic dog feeder?
Whether you’re just looking for help to keep your dog fed every day or you want something special that delivers more, there are plenty of options out there. Check out our top picks for 2023 below.