The 10 Best Automatic Pet Feeders
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in June of 2015. If you sometimes end up stuck at work and can't get home as planned, but you don't want your furry friends to go hungry, try one of these auto pet feeders. Your dog or cat or fish will be well provided for in your absence, and some of our picks even offer Wi-Fi capabilities for remote control and monitoring, and programming functionality for dispensing food in predetermined portions. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 10, 2021:
We adjusted our listing for the Amazon Basics Self-Dispensing so that it now points toward the company's two-pack deal, which combines its similarly designed food dispenser and water dispenser, and offers them at an affordable price. We also removed the Docaup-Pet JW26 and Portion Pro RX, noticing some availability issues, and replaced them with the Ashomeli 66448 — which features a two-megapixel Wi-Fi camera with a 110-degree wide-angle lens; and the HoneyGuaridan 7L — which caught our eye with its handy splitter, that can evenly divide rations amongst two bowls, for homes with a pair of pets.
December 04, 2019:
We replaced some discontinued items like the Feed and Go FG1001W and the GemPet 105 with options that have some newer bells and whistles.
The Portion Pro RX addresses the issue of the multiple pet household, especially those on special diets. The RFID tags can be worn on the pet's collar, and the feed area is only large enough for one mouth. The door closes on the food before the wrong pet gets more than a mouthful, so it may not be great for an allergy situation.
We also added the Cat Mate C300 for those who prefer wet foods. It's not incredibly high tech, as it runs on a simple digital timer, but the custom shaped ice packs are a nice touch to keep the food fresh.
The Pet Safe Smart Feed moved into the top position for it's added functionality in the 2nd generation model. The app now sends your phone an alert when food levels get low, plus you can even pair it with Alexa if you like using voice commands.
Why Do I Need an Automatic Pet Feeder?
The newest feeders can be programmed to dispense dried pet foods days in advance.
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.
While they often seem to be indifferent, kitties also need socialization and entertainment.
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.
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.
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.