If you have cats or dogs, then you know just how they seem to sense when it's mealtime. And if you're late with a meal? Well, they'll let you know. Unfortunately, sometimes life happens, and work obligations, traffic, or last-minute errands mean you're not always home to feed your pet on time.
Automatic pet feeders can take care of that task for you. These feeders can be preprogrammed to feed your pet when you're not available. Your pet won't have to wait for you, you won't have to scramble to find a pet sitter, and your pet can continue to eat on a regular schedule.
These feeders are also useful if you have a pet who needs to eat smaller meals throughout the course of a day. Remembering or being available to feed your pet four times a day isn't always practical, so an automatic feeder can be an ideal solution. Smaller meals can help to prevent boredom and even behavioral issues in between feedings. Plus, if your dog has problems with vomiting in the mornings or in between meals, breaking the feedings up into smaller, more frequent meals can help to prevent this issue.
The feeders in this list are innovative, dependable, and equipped with some great features to enhance their performance. Some of these feeders can differentiate between your pets, so they can prevent one pet from stealing another's food. Most of these feeders are suitable for both cats and dogs, and some even accommodate wet food in addition to dry. These feeders are easy to use and are available in a variety of price points, so you should be able to find one that's within your budget.
The Westlink 6 Automatic Pet Feeder is full of features that give you complete remote control over your pets' feeding program. This feeder is highly customizable, and you can set it to dispense between 1 and 39 portions (each portion between 10 and 12 grams) up to four times per day. This means you can feed your pet smaller meals more often, which is a healthier style of feeding that can even help to combat boredom when you aren't home.
But that's far from all it offers. Use the built-in voice recorder and speaker to record up to 10 seconds of you speaking to call your pets when meals are available. This feeder is powered by D batteries or USB power and offers ultra-low power consumption. Install the batteries as a backup power source to ensure the feeder still functions during a power outage.
One of the best features of this feeder, though, is its infrared detection. It can sense when there is still food in the dish and prevents the feeder from releasing too much and causing a mess. Because this feeder offers the option to feed frequent, small portions, you may choose to use it even when you are home in order to provide a healthier feeding schedule for your pet.
The Westlink 6 Automatic Pet Feeder has a 4.4 out of 5-star Amazon rating based off of 377 reviews. Cousin Vinny wrote, "Large hopper holds several weeks worth of food (depending on your cat's appetite). Even during our too frequent New England power outages, it transitioned seamlessly from plug-in to battery mode with no loss of programming. Extremely dependable."
Lindsay Thompson also stated that the feeder worked well: "The directions were adequate for programming the meal times and quantity of each, but it took a couple of tries to get the programming just right to get the right amount of kibble for my kitty ... no clogs or jams."
Pros: Record your voice to summon your pets for mealtime, feed up to four meals per day, low-power consumption and battery backup
Cons: Understanding the portion size may take some testing, suitable for use with dry food only, food that is too large can jam
Many automatic feeders aren't designed to work with wet food, but the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder can accommodate both wet and dry food. This feeder comes with a single gray bowl, as well as a split gray bowl that allows you to dispense both wet and dry food. The sealed bowl design keeps the food fresher, since the cover only opens when your pet is nearby to eat.
This feeder is also ideal for multi-pet homes where you need to prevent pets from eating each other's food, such as when one is on a prescription diet or when one pet needs more or less food than the other. This feeder can be paired with a pet's existing microchip, or put the included RFID tag on your pet's collar. When your pet approaches, the feeder recognizes the microchip or collar tag, and opens up. It automatically closes when your pet moves away, so other pets can't access the food. The feeder can store up to 32 pet identities and retains this information even when the batteries are removed.
The feeder is powered by four C batteries, and the batteries last for six months. Thanks to the battery power, you can move this feeder anywhere and position it so that it's out of the way.
The SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder has a 4.5 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 293 reviews. Justa Person has used this feeder to keep three cats' food separate: "Perfect to separate cats' food. It prevents bully cats from taking others' food. It allows me to know how much and exactly what each cat has eaten. The cats learned to use these fairly easily."
Pirate Captain also found this feeder easy to program and use: "These dishes have solved my problems!!! I have two cats on two different prescription diets and two kittens that need their own nutritious kitten food! They are so easy to program them to your cat's microchips!"
Automatic pet feeders don't have to be expensive to be effective, and the PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder is proof of that. This pet feeder is economically priced but still has plenty of features to allow you to customize your pet's feeding. The digital timer lets you set feeding times in one-hour increments, and you can feed up to five meals per day.
The feeder's design helps to keep food fresh, which is particularly valuable if you're using the feeder across the span of multiple days. The five sections of the tray each hold up to one cup of food. Then, the tray rotates at the designated time, allowing your pet to access the next portion of food.
Do note that because one tray is always exposed, this food will be immediately available for your pet. You can schedule four additional meals with the trays that are not exposed.
This feeder is powered by four D-cell batteries. It includes an LCD so you can easily set mealtimes. The tray is also removable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. While the feeder isn't loaded with some of the features that you'll find in higher-end models, it does have the essential functions you need to feed your pets throughout the day, or over the span of a few days.
The PetSafe 5-Meal Pet Feeder has a 4.1 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 2,650 reviews. Kristin B. credited the feeder with helping her to finally get some sleep: "Our cat is still getting used to it but we've seen a difference already with how she doesn't wake us up that much. It has five different chambers to put food in which is great for portion control since we have our cat on a diet. The feeder was very easy to program with the times we wanted the next serving of food available."
Glenn Morse has owned this feeder for 10 years: "It's reliable in terms of actually feeding, which I think is the most important. If the batteries are going to die, it gives you lots of warning, so it doesn't just stop feeding your pet one morning, and it always moves to the exact position, so they can't get at two compartments or be unable to get into the new one. Batteries last years, which is also great."
If you have multiple dogs, multiple cats, or a combination of cats and dogs in your home, ensuring that each pet gets its food — and its food alone — can be a challenge when you're not around to supervise meals. The PortionProRx Automatic Pet Feeder helps to solve that problem.
This feeder comes with an RFID tag, and will only open up the protective barrier when it recognizes the pet wearing that specific tag. Other nosy pets won't be able to steal food. The problem is that it only includes one tag, so if you want additional tags, you'd need to buy it separately. Another bummer: The tag is expensive.
This feeder is an excellent choice when it comes to portion control. You can feed up to six meals per day, and can feed between half-cup to 6 cups of food per meal. For a pet who tends to scarf down food, gets bored between meals, or simply tends to overeat, this feeder can feed small, frequent meals throughout the day, even when you're unavailable.
Plenty of thought has gone into this feeder's quality design. The access control system only opens when a pet wearing the appropriate RFID tag is within 2 feet of the feeder. The self-locking lid is pet proof, so even the most determined pets won't be able to get into the storage container. Plus, the system is equipped with a sensor that recognizes if a pet is trying to reach up through the dispenser door to steal more food. If this occurs, the door will close at a low force to prevent food theft.
The PortionProRx Automatic Pet Feeder has a 4.1 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 17 reviews. Devin uses two of these feeders to keep two cats on their appropriate diets: "The scheduling lets me feed them dry food four times a day without having to worry about forgetting to fill the bowl if I leave the house … These feeders make meal times worry-free and easy."
Just Us has two cats on two different prescription diets and found the feeders worked well: "Almost immediately, both cats were at their own dishes, eating their own food, and when they crossed to the wrong bowl, it closed right up. It works perfectly, and I'm actually sort of surprised, I expected at least some small hiccups, but nope!"
Pros: Generous capacity, ability to feed up to six meals a day, designed to prevent other pets from stealing food
If you need to dispense a large amount of food, the WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder has the generous capacity you need. The 7-liter capacity accommodates 20 cups of dry pet food, and you can schedule up to four feedings each day. This feeder offers excellent customization of portion sizes, with the ability to serve portions ranging from 2 teaspoons to 4.5 cups. Food pellets must measure between 0.2 to 0.6 inches in diameter in order to work with this feeder.
You can also easily record a brief voice message that will sound to alert your pet to mealtimes. This feeder also features a battery backup to ensure that it operates even during a power outage. The inner compartment is removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. It comes with a small portion dish and a large portion dish, so you can choose the appropriate dish for your needs.
The WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder has a 4.4 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 347 reviews. Adrian McDonald uses this feeder for her dog: "I purchased this because my dog is fat and is now on strict diet. Typically I fed her in the morning and at night — but now she eats four small meals a day. Because I work, this wasn't an option for me until I bought this feeder."
Jim K also had a positive experience with this feeder. "I love that you have the option to plug it in the wall outlet and it's very easy to change the feed times and amounts. My cat was getting overweight on the self-feeder and this was the best way to control the amount of cat food she could eat per day."
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