The 10 Best Automatic Pet Feeders
10. Lusmo L-AF120O
- available in 3 colors
- sleek and compact
- the batteries don't last very long
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. PetSafe PFD11-13707
- solid grips keep it in one place
- plastic is safe and bpa-free
- adjusting the timer is a pain
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
8. Icoco Electric Food Container
- the hopper is transparent
- tightly-fitting lid keeps food fresh
- it's rather pricey
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
7. GemPet 105
- construction is very sturdy
- low-battery indicator
- setup instructions are confusing
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. HoneyGuaridan A25
- low power consumption
- built-in voice recorder
- not as durable as its competition
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
5. Pet Feedster Plus PF-10
- comes with a bottom water tray
- insect-proof and jam-proof
- the buttons are a bit finicky
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
4. GemPet SmartFeeder
- easily disassembles for cleaning
- offline feeding mode
- good option for weight management
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
3. SureFeed MPF001
- memory for up to 32 pet identities
- 3-year manufacturer's warranty
- free pet towel is also included
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Petsafe Simply Feed
- 24-cup capacity hopper
- dispenses dry and semi-moist food
- stainless steel bowl is removable
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Feed and Go FG1001W
- each compartment holds 8 ounces
- control many units using 1 profile
- real-time alerts when pets are fed
|Brand||Feed and Go|
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
Why Do I Need an Automatic Pet Feeder?
An automatic pet feeder used to be a simple contraption that cat owners would set out when they went away for a short business trip or weekend getaway. Since then, they have evolved into powerful tools that all pet owners can use to manage and improve their pets' health despite increasingly long work days and busy schedules.
The most basic way an automatic pet feeder can keep your pet healthy is a simple unit that dispenses a continual portion of fresh water. It's a well-known fact that a hydrated pet is a healthy one. Look for feeders that come with a removable water bottle that is easy to refill.
The newest feeders can be programmed to dispense dried pet foods days in advance. This is not only helpful for travelers, but also especially useful in controlling portion size and feeding times for animals who may have special dietary needs. Rather than leaving out a day's worth of food, scheduled portions can, instead, play an important role in an overweight pet's weight-loss management.
The most advanced units even come with Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to keep track of how much your pet has eaten, order new food and schedule feedings directly from your smartphone.
Tips For Leaving Your Pet Home Alone
Automatic feeders can be of great help to cat and dog owners if they can't always make it home at the usual time, but they are no replacement for regular interaction and care. Cat owners are able to rely on them to keep their furry offspring fed and watered for short trips, even if no pet sitters are available. For dog owners, an automatic feeder is more of a convenient time saver because dogs will still need to be walked or at least taken outside to relieve themselves a few times per day.
Even though they use a litter box and pretend not to notice when you arrive home late, experts agree that you shouldn't leave a kitty for longer than an overnight without having someone check in on them at least once a day. Active cats can get themselves into trouble by tipping over furniture or getting a toenail caught in a scratching post. While they often seem to be indifferent, kitties also need socialization and entertainment. To help prevent separation anxiety, make sure they have access to a window for observing nature and passers-by. You can also try leaving a radio on or hiding treats around the house to give them something to do.
Leaving your dog at home for an extended period of time requires considerably more planning and care. First, it's important to remember that young puppies should not be left home alone without supervision or confinement until they are properly trained. Older dogs who have been trained may be able to stay home as long as eight to ten hours, depending on how long they can hold it, but never longer. You can load up an automatic pet feeder to help speed up your daily routine, but nothing can replace the need for human interaction and regular bathroom breaks.
A Brief History of Pet Food
The first food made specifically for dogs was concocted by an American electrician named James Spratt in the 1850's. While visiting London, he noticed his ship's crew members throwing leftover biscuits to hoards of waiting dogs. This enthusiasm and a growing number of urban dog owners gave him the idea that he could make cheap and easy-to-serve biscuits for pets. In 1860, Spratt's Patent Meal Fibrine Dog Cakes hit the market and were a big hit. He eventually began production in the United States, launching the American pet food industry.
The early twentieth century saw an explosion of competing dog biscuits as well as the introduction of Ken-L-Ration canned dog foods immediately after World War I. The popularity of wet dog foods, which were actually canned horse meat, became a way to dispose of excess horses at the end of World War I. By the mid-1930's, Ken-L-Ration was such a success that they began breeding horses just for dog food and slaughtering up to fifty thousand per year. In the same decade, the pet food industry expanded to include canned cat food as well as dry meat-meal cat and dog foods.
Canned dog food cornered 90% of the market until the the government started rationing tin and meat during World War II, paving the way for the modern-day popularity of dry dog food. By 1964, a lobbying group called the Pet Food Institute started an aggressive marketing campaign to educate consumers about the dangers of table scraps and the benefits of prepackaged pet foods. These convenience foods, especially the dry versions, made it easier for working families to keep their furry friends fed and nourished without having to worry about spoilage and extra food preparation time.