Despite our very best intentions, we can’t always be at every doggy mealtime. Fortunately, grown dogs require only two daily meals on average – but what if you can’t be there for both? Or have a puppy who still needs three meals a day? Feeding your puppy in person is always best, but if you find yourself pressed for time, an automatic dog feeder can be a total lifesaver. There’s no need for your pup to go hungry!
Keep reading to find out how the best dog feeders are used, what a reliable puppy food dispenser looks like, and check out our reviews of the 10 best auto dog feeders available.
Quick Review: Top-5 Automatic Dog Feeder
Choosing The Best Dog Automatic Dog Feeder
In this day and age, dog food dispensers can come with lots of different features and functions. Some are helpful – such as air-tight food silos – and some are just plain lovely, like video cameras that let you watch your puppy chow down. But whatever you decide to purchase, the best dog feeder should be reliable. If your pup’s kibble is too big and gets stuck in the dispenser chute, you can wave goodbye to that Sunday morning sleep-in!
Best Dog Feeder Essentials
So what should you look for in the best dog food dispenser? Some essentials include:
- Hygienic kibble storage: Large breed and giant breed dogs eat more than smaller dogs, so make sure that you choose a reservoir with sufficient volume. The cap, lid, or clasp of your chosen dispenser should ideally ensure that as little air as possible flows into your dog’s kibble, keeping it fresher for longer.
- A safe, secure food reservoir: Puppies can be quite clever when it comes to getting at their food, and they may want to eat ahead of your scheduled hours. So the best auto dog feeders will be just as cleverly designed – to prevent your pooch from getting inside and eating too early.
- Well-designed food bowls: This goes without saying, but a great puppy food dispenser should have a great bowl. Stainless steel is a reliable, easy-clean material that will usually last a long time with little fuss.
- Battery and electric: Since battery power does not last forever, it’s important to make sure that your feeder will still offer your pup food if the batteries die and you don’t have extra batteries on hand. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your feeder is either all electric and is plugged into a power source, or that it has the ability to be plugged in when needed.
Features and Functions
So what are the fun extras that the best dog feeders offer? Typically these include:
- Camera functions – Some puppy food dispensers include built-in cameras which catch your puppy’s dinnertime live. As well as being incredibly cute, these are a super way to get some peace of mind that your puppy food dispenser is working;
- Voice recorders – With these it’s possible to capture your voice digitally, then automatically play it back to your puppy as his kibble is released for dinner. Many less-advanced dispensers now offer this functionality along with timer capabilities, and they are a fun way to call your best pal over for his meal!
- Portion control – A dispenser’s ability to measure out different serving sizes is pretty commonplace now, but it is not a feature of some low-tech, gravity-style dispensers. Feeders with portion control features often have LCD or button displays for easier use and can be an advantage if you’d like to monitor your pup’s calorie intake.
- Overflow sensors – This type of technology prevents food release once your pup’s bowl has been filled. It prevents both spillage, waste, and overeating.
- Wifi connection – Many dog feeders now will allow you to hook your feeder up to your home’s wifi in order to connect you to the automatic feeder’s camera no matter where you are.
Let’s consider the best dog feeders for your puppy, and what they have to offer!
Best Automatic Dog Feeders
- PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Dog Feeder with Stainless Steel Bowl
- Meal sizes and times are a breeze to personalize, so you can control how much your puppy gets, and when he gets it;
- Securely store up to 24 cups worth of kibble or semi-dry food in this easy-to-program PetSafe feeder;
- It’s battery-powered and can be moved around the house;
- Lets you program as many as 12 meals in advance, or you can use Immediate Feed to dispense kibble outside of these intervals; and
- The bowl itself holds <5 cups of kibble, so it’s ideal for giant– and large-breed dogs, e.g. Dobermans, St Bernards, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers.
- While it’s particularly user-friendly, some owners may need a little time to get used to the programming functions.
- SereneLife Automatic Pet Feeder – Electronic Digital Dry Food Storage Meal Dispenser
- Magnetic locking seals keep your puppy’s kibble safe from bumps and prevent him from snacking between meals;
- Dispenses anywhere between 1 and 4 meals each day, with alarms;
- Allows voice recordings of up to 10 seconds long;
- Uses D batteries or wall connections for maximum versatility; and
- An easy-to-program LCD display saves you from fiddling around with buttons or learning new settings.
- Suitable only for dry kibble.
- DOGNESS Automatic WiFi Dog Smart Camera Feeder
- Record your voice and play it to your puppy at dinner time, so he knows he’s a good boy!
- This battery- or AC-powered dispenser comes in several gorgeous colors;
- 4GHz WiFi-compatible, with a sweet camera that lets you watch puppy eating; and
- Compared to a lot of dispensers, it’s easy to get set up via the free app.
- This isn’t 5 GHz WiFi-compatible; and
- It doesn’t work with Android OS, unfortunately.
- PortionProRx Automatic Pet Feeder
- Kibble only gets released when your dog’s specific RFID tag is registered by the machine – and this feeder comes with 1 tag included;
- A great choice if your puppies tend to steal one another’s food, and helps avoid excess eating;
- This feeder has a very large storage volume of up to 32 cups;
- Allows 6 scheduled daily meals; and
- If your pet is on a veterinary diet, you can use separate feeders to ensure they aren’t eating the wrong food.
- It’s not going to stop your puppies from stealing each other’s food once it’s already in the bowl!
- BELOPEZZ 6L Smart Pet Automatic Feeders for Dog Food Dispenser with Timer
- Includes a recorder so you can capture your voice and play it back when its time for lunch!
- Allows you to program 4 daily meals of varying sizes, to prevent overeating and promote regular mealtimes;
- Has 6-liter kibble capacity for minimum refills;
- Battery- or wall-powered charging are both possible; and
- Secures firmly to reduce airflow and prevent sneaky pups from getting food out!
- The instructions are supposedly very easy to understand and follow, but one or two owners have had bad experiences. Definitely test it first!
- WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Dogs
- Using the timer, it’s possible (and easy) to program 4 daily feeds with an LCD user-friendly screen;
- For each meal, you can record your voice: “Dinner time, Cookie!”;
- You can schedule varying portion sizes, from anywhere between two teaspoons and 4.5 scoops for each meal;
- It has a dishwasher-friendly food tray; and
- The food container stores up to 20 kibble cups.
- Not suitable for semi-wet food, only dry puppy or dog food.
- WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Dog with Voice Recorder and Timer Programmable
- Includes infra-red sensors which avoid spillage and stop kibble from pouring out when the bowl is full;
- A voice function lets you record 10-second-long messages to call your pooch at dinnertimes;
- Uses quite a low amount of energy, and is battery- or USB-powered;
- Use the timer to schedule puppy’s meals and encourage regular feeding; and
- Requires two buttons at a time to program, so Puppy can’t accidentally reprogram it!
- There are no reports of puppies messing with the controls, but apparently, some cats have managed!
- HICTOP Automatic Feeder
- Lets you to record a short message to call your cat over for their meal
- Can offers up to 4 meals each day
- Let’s you control the portion of food that’s offered
- Runs on plug in electric power, but can use backup battery power if needed
- We could not find a single bad review for this high quality dog feeder!
Best Dog Water Dispensers
- Aspen Pet Lebistro Gravity Waterer
- The plastic water bottle and base are both BPA-free for your little pup’s safety;
- Cleaning this bottle is as simple as unscrewing it and washing it by hand;
- It’s designed to be secure to prevent slippage and spillage;
- A slow, gravity-based refill system (and large volume!) means that you won’t have to refill it as frequently; and
- The largest, 4-gallon bottle model is excellent if you have multiple pets.
- Some owners have suggested that the new, updated design makes it harder to refill the bottle without splashing.
- AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Feeder and Waterer
- Non-slip grips keep this dispenser firmly in place so it won’t get jostled around;
- Includes super-wide food and water bottles which are simple to empty, clean, and refill;
- The food dispenser holds 12 pounds of kibble – perfect for larger dogs;
- A 2.5-gallon water bottle will keep your puppy hydrated all day; and
- It’s an affordable option!
- No portion control – this is a gravity design feeder.
- PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Multi-Pet Stainless Steel Dog Fountain
- With 128 ounces of water storage, this fountain will ensure your pups stay hydrated all day and night long!
- Super-simple to clean, this stainless steel fountain even goes in the dishwasher;
- The streams can be adjusted easily using a flow control lid, for fussy pups;
- A quiet fountain pump offers continued, clean, carbon water flow that won’t bother you during the night; and
- It’s easy to install for instant use.
- Some owners have mentioned the bowl rusting quite early on.
Are cat feeders and dog food dispensers the same?
The key difference between a cat and dog food dispenser will usually be the kibble storage and delivery system. Cat food tends to have smaller pieces than puppy food, and cats also eat less in general than dogs. Therefore, designated cat food dispensers tend to have smaller storage containers (less volume is required to hold a cat’s daily meals than a dog’s), and they may not be appropriate for larger-sized dog kibble. It’s always important to remember that even the best automatic dog feeder will not be able to dispense kibble that is too large for its design, as this can get stuck in the chute and leave your dog without anything to eat. This is why many of the products we’ve reviewed are available in different sizes – S for small kibble and L for large kibble (or similar).
In most cases, however, you will find products that work brilliantly – and indeed are designed – as cat and automatic dog food dispensers. Simply adjust the portion size, and you’re usually good to go!
Can I leave my puppy with an automatic food dispenser and go on holiday?
We strongly recommend against this, and highly advise that you do not even leave a young puppy alone for longer than one meal without seriously considering the need to do so. Even the best automatic dog food dispensers are no substitute for the love, affection, and human touch that your puppy gets from you – your dog will not only get very lonely, but he also deserves better!
Auto dog feeders are useful to maintain normal feeding routines, not replace them entirely. If you want to sleep in one morning, or if you have a pressing engagement every once in a while, you will find our reviews of the best dog feeders helpful – but if you need to be away for longer, please consider a human pet sitter.
Last update on 2020-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API