For most people, feeding your pet isn’t a big deal. You will establish a routine and quickly fall into the habit of feeding your dog first thing in the morning and before eating dinner every night. But, what happens when your plans change and you can’t stick to the regular schedule? The best automatic dog feeder can serve your pet meals when you’re not able to.
The main concern with automatic dog feeders is their reliability. You need to be sure that the device will not brake, will feed your dog on schedule and dispense the right amount among other things. With this in mind, I set out to test a large number of most popular automatic dog feeders, check their reliability, features, pros and cons and find the absolute best automatic dog feeder on the market for the right price.
In my video and full review round-up article below I’m going to discuss ten of the best automatic dog feeder options, their advantages and disadvantages and more. I’ve ranked all ten of them in terms of cost to value, and here are my overall top five picks:
|Automatic Dog Feeders||Price||Quality||Rating|
|PeTreat PetPal WiFi Automatic Pet Feeder||$$$$$||A+|
|Petwant Automatic Pet Feeder||$$$||B-|
|Arf Pets Automatic Feeder||$$||B-|
|Petnet SmartFeeder Automatic Pet Feeder||$$$||A-|
|Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder||$||B+|
* Click on the best automatic dog feeder for more information, prices and details. Alternatively, scroll down below to read my reviews.
Picking and Using Automatic Dog Feeder
There are several key features that you want in your pet feeder at the very minimum. The best automatic dog feeder should have a timer that can be set to feed your dog throughout the day. Whether your pooch’s diet requires that he eat 2 meals or 5 meals per day, there’s an automatic feeder that will allow you to schedule his feedings according to Fido’s regular routine.
A lot of these automatic pet feeders can be controlled by an app on your phone. That means that you can schedule feedings or manually feed your pup all while you’re away at work. These pet feeders are especially ideal for pets with medical problems that require specific dietary guidelines to help with their treatment.
If your dog is not a glutton, you can also find a pet feeder that will allow him to access his food whenever he is hungry. These types of feeders keep your dog’s food enclosed in the hopper so rodents and pests can’t access it. But, you won’t need to fill his food bowl twice a day; instead you can just fill his automatic dog feeder once per week.
I’ve also done separate videos and single product reviews for some of these automatic pet feeders to show off their features, problems, pros and cons. Here are two examples of my previous dog feeder reviews:
- Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder
- Petwant Automatic Pet Feeder
After you’ve been shopping for the best automatic dog feeder for a while, you’ll be well aware of the many options that are available on the market. So, which one will best meet your needs and fit your budget? I’ve researched and tested ten of the best feeders available to save you some time and energy, and share all of my findings below.
What’s the Best Diet for My Dog?
Dogs are creatures of habit, and routine is particularly important when it comes to their diet. The best automatic dog feeder will help you keep your pet on a feeding schedule, which is great, but how do you know what the best diet is for your dog? How many calories should he be eating every day?
- health condition
- activity level
The diet that your dog needs will also vary throughout his life. The proper diet for a puppy isn’t going to meet the nutritional needs of a senior pet. Likewise, an active dog that competes in dock jumping will need a much different diet during his competition days than he will after he retires.
The vet or canine nutritionist that you work with will evaluate your dog and ask you questions about his daily activities and behavior. They’ll recommend the right diet that will meet your dog’s nutritional needs, and they’ll ask you to come back if any of the variables listed above change.
The Right Pet Feeder and the Right Dog Food
I’ve done hours of research to find ten of the best pet feeders available, and I’ll be sharing the pros and cons of each model in this article, down below. I’ve found the best dog feeder for large breeds, small breeds, free feeding dogs and even the best option for families on a budget.
My overall top pick is the PeTreat PetPal WiFi Automatic Pet Feeder. This feeder holds more food than most similar products and is very easy to clean. It’s ideal for large and extra large breeds. The stainless steel design blends perfectly with any home’s decor.
Now, let’s take a deeper look at this feeder and the other nine products that I’ve included on this list. I’ll explain all about the different features of each, including my top PeTreat PetPal feeder pick, and show you some other great alternatives.
Top 10 Best Automatic Dog Feeder
most reliable automatic dog feeders of 2018
After hours of research, sorting through hundreds of product reviews and testing a number of automatic pet feeders with my own pets, I’ve made my picks for the 10 best automatic dog feeder on the market.
I’ve used automatic feeders in the past for my dogs, so I knew which features I was looking for. The best feeders need to be easy to clean. Trust me, if it takes you 30 minutes to tear apart a feeder to clean it, you’ll get tired of that very quickly. It won’t be long before you’re back to using a traditional dog bowl.
The best feeders also need to be reliable. If it doesn’t always feed your pet at the time that it is supposed to, what’s the point in having the feeder in the first place? Along the same lines, I needed to be sure that any feeder I recommend does not jam easily.
It’s extremely frustrating to have a feeder that clogs up when you’re away from home and can’t fix it. Your dog will have to go hungry until you get home, which is the exact reason that you bought an automatic dog feeder in the first place.
Finally, the best automatic dog feeder products have quite a range of prices. You can find feeders for less than $50 and you can find some that will cost you more than $300! The feeders on my list all had to be affordable for the average pet owners. I mean, we can’t all spend $300 on a product that isn’t a necessity, right?
Why Trust My Dog Feeder Reviews?
I’m certainly no expert on automatic feeders for dogs, and I’m not associated with any companies that manufacture or sell them. However, I have been using different dog products for decades and have been reviewing pet products for more than 5 years. During this time, I have tested thousands of pet products.
I’ve been a dog owner since I was born and freelance writer on all things dog for nearly a decade, which has allowed me to polish my researching skills and develop an eye for what to look for in pet products, how to rate and rank them in terms of price-to-value ration and more.
As you well know, purchasing products for your own pet can be a chore. Over the years, I have become an expert at making smart purchases for my dogs. Quality is always my top concern, and I compare the price to the value of the product to make sure that my money is well spent.
That’s what I bring into these dog supplies reviews, ensuring that anyone looking for a good dog product doesn’t waste their cash. When I do these reviews, I research and test the dog products like I would if I were buying them for my own personal use. I want to make sure that these dog supplies that I recommend in my Top Dog Tips reviews are top quality and will last throughout your dog’s lifetime. I take this responsibility very seriously.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are my top 10 picks for the best automatic dog feeder.
You probably just glanced at the price of this feeder and thought about skipping it entirely. I know what you’re thinking. I just said that the best automatic dog feeder needs to be affordable, and now I go and recommend a feeder that costs over $300!
Just hear me out. While the PeTreat PetPal WiFi Automatic Pet Feeder won’t fit into everyone’s budget, it is (in my opinion) the best option for available for any dog. Many similar products are geared toward small and medium breeds, but this product will work for any size dog – from Chihuahuas to Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Not only does it hold more than 10 pounds of food (50+ cups), the bowl is large enough for a dog with a wide head. As you’ll see in a moment, some of the feeders on this list have small openings that are conducive for a dog with a large head to eat from.
As you can see in my video review above, you can also connect this feeder to your home’s WiFi. It enables you to see a live stream video of your pet while he eats, record a message that will play for him while you’re away and hear any noise that he’s making.
The only trouble with this is that you need to plug the PeTreat PetPal Feeder into your modem initially in order to get it set up on WiFi. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it would be much more convenient if it connected automatically like some of the other models on my list.
This feeder connects to your smartphone via a free app that is available for Android and iOS. While using the app, you can see the video of your pet, listen to him, talk to him and take snapshots that you can share on social media. You can also set up to 5 different feeding times per day or feed your dog manually by the simple press of a button.
I was also impressed the camera in this feeder is equipped with night vision, so you can see your dog even when it’s dark.
The non-jamming technology that is featured in this product is patent pending, and it works very well! I’ve been using this feeder for months, and it has not jammed once.
This pet feeder is less than half the price of the PeTreat PetPal feeder, but offers a lot of the same options. The big difference is that this feeder only holds about 18 cups of food and is only about 1/4 of the size of the PetPal. This means it’s really only suitable for small and medium breeds.
My favorite thing about the Petwant Automatic Pet Feeder is that it gives you the option of running on a DC power cable that plugs into an electrical outlet or 3 size D batteries. The batteries only last for about a week, so it’s economical to run on them all the time. However, this is a great source of backup power in the event of a power outage or if you want to take the device with you when camping or traveling.
This feeder allows you to set up to 4 meal times per day, and it will dispense between 1/10 and 1 cup of food at each meal. There is also an alarm that alerts your dog when the food is being dispensed.
There is a 100X pixel camera on the front of this device that pairs with a smartphone app that is free to download on compatible iOS devices above 7.5 and Android devices above 4.0. The camera records your dog’s movements in real time video. You can share still photos or videos via social media as well.
You’re probably thinking that this feeder looks a lot like the one above it. While this is very similar to the Petwant feeder, it does not require the use of a smartphone app. That’s great news if you’re like me and aren’t very tech savvy!
As I demonstrate in my video guide above, you set the feeding times on the Arf Pets Automatic Feeder with the easy-to-access buttons on the top of the feeder. There is a lighted LCD display that clearly shows the clock and all the information that you’ll need to select the feeding times that are right for your pet.
Making this stand out as one of the best automatic dog feeder options, this device also does portion control a bit differently. One portion is equal to 1/10 of a cup, and you can choose to dispense 1-10 portions per meal. You’re able to schedule up to 4 meals per day.
Like the Petwant feeder, this one comes with a DC power cord that plugs into the wall. You can also power the device with 3 size D batteries if you wish to take it with you when traveling or camping. Just remember, the batteries will only power this best automatic dog feeder for about a week, so it’s not an economical option for long term use.
This feeder holds up to 18 cups of dry kibble, which isn’t going to last very long if you have a large breed dog. Also, the bowl and portion sizes are small. Plainly put, this isn’t the best option for big dogs, but it would work well for small and medium breeds.
The Petnet app allows you you to dispense food, see videos of your dog eating, take photos and send recorded messages to your pet. The Petnet SmartFeeder Automatic Pet Feeder also takes things a step further by helping you choose the right diet for your dog and even ordering more food when you’re running low.
Setting this device apart as one of the best automatic dog feeder options, is its ability to link to Amazon. The feeder can actually order more food for you when it senses that you are running out. It stores up to 7 pounds of food in the hopper and notifies you when there isn’t much left. If you choose, it will place an Amazon order to have more food shipped before you’re completely out.
Also, based on your dog’s age, weight and activity level, the Petnet Feeder will recommend the correct portion size for your pup. It will also tell you what type of food (high protein, moderate fat, low fat, etc…) would be best for your canine companion.
You can set the feeder to dispense 1/16 to 1 ½ cups of food at a time. Another feature that makes this one of the best automatic dog feeder options is that it can run up to 7 hours without power thanks to a rechargeable backup battery that automatically charges when it’s plugged in.
If you’re on a tight budget, this may be the right feeder for you. It’s made of extremely durable 24 gauge galvanized steel, and can be hung on the wall or stand on the floor. One thing to note is that the hardware to attach it to the wall is not included with the product.
This is another of the best automatic dog feeder options for large breeds, as it holds up to 25 pounds of food and has a large opening that can accommodate a wide head and big muzzle. The Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder also comes completely assembled, so you don’t need to worry about trying to put all the pieces together.
The drawback to this model is that it is electronic. That may be a benefit for pet owners who don’t want to use extra electricity or are looking for a feeder to take with them when they travel. However, it’s a drawback for dogs that overeat.
The way the Little Giant Feeder works is by utilizing a magnetic door. Your dog can simply push in on the door when he’s hungry and food will drop out. This is great for keeping pests and rodents out of the food surplus, but if your dog is chow hound, this best automatic dog feeder option won’t work for you.
PetSafe is a very well known company in the pet industry. They make affordable and effective products that are known to last, and this feeder is no exception. You don’t need to download an app with this one either. You just program the digital timer on the machine and let it feed your furry friend.
You can program up to 12 meals per day, which is great for dogs with renal disease or other health conditions that may benefit from eating many small meals over the course of the day instead of two larger ones. The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder will dispense between 1/8 and 4 cups of food at a time and holds up to 24 cups of food, making it great for large breeds.
My favorite feature is the slow-feed mode that releases meals larger than 1/8 of a cup in smaller increments over the course of 15 minutes to prevent gulping. This is the absolute best automatic dog feeder for pets that truly gulp food.
Another great benefit that this feeder offers over other similar products is that it can dispense dry kibble AND semi-moist dog food. Most other products only work with dry food.
The drawback to this feeder is that it is powered by 4 size D batteries, which aren’t included. It’s not the most economical automatic feeder on the market, but it does have a lot of benefits that help to offset this drawback.
Not only is this one of the best automatic dog feeders, it also comes in two sizes – 18-cup capacity and 30 cup-capacity. You have to program the device itself, as it doesn’t pair with a smartphone app. However, the lighted LCD screen is easy to read and programming is very straightforward.
The food hopper, lid and bowl come apart easily and all safe to wash on the top rack of the dishwasher. You can easily wipe down the electronic base of the Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Food Dispenserwith a damp towel. Unlike other feeders, this one is super easy to clean.
Of course, as one of the best automatic dog feeders, it can dispense up to 3 meals per day and releases 1/4 to 3 cups of food per meal. This is another feeder that runs solely on battery power, which isn’t very economically. It requires 3 size D batteries, and they are not included.
8LUSMO Automatic Pet Feeder
If you’re looking for a fashionable pet feeder that will really stand out, this is the right choice. As you can see above, it’s available in 3 bright colors that will add a splash of color to any home’s décor.
This best automatic dog feeder is only a good option for small and medium breeds. They dispense between 1/16 and 1 cup of food at a time. The LUSMO Automatic Pet Feeder can be programmed to dispense up to 3 meals per day.
The LUSMO feeder only holds 4 cups of food, which will only last one day if you have a large breed. It also requires batteries for power, which we’ve already as a non-economical option. You’ll need 4 size D batteries to power this feeder, and they aren’t included with the purchase.
If you need the best automatic dog feeder that can serve dry or wet food, I’ve found the right option for you. It can dispense up to 5 meals per day, and serves up to 1 cup of food per meal. That means this feeder is only ideal for small and medium dogs.
As you can see from this list, there are not many best automatic dog feeders that can serve wet food. If your dog eats canned or fresh commercial dog food or you make him a homemade diet, the TD Design Automatic Pet Feeder will come to your rescue.
If you serve a wet diet, you know how messy it can be. Even serving dry food will get messy with your dog’s slobber and crumbs from his meal stuck to the feeder. The good news is, the food tray of this feeder is removable and dishwasher safe. The bad news is that the top of the feeder is easy to remove, so dogs that are interested in getting to their next meal will be able to paw it off pretty quickly.
The TD Design feeder also lets you record a 10 second meal call that will play for your pet before his dinner is served. You can plug this best automatic dog feeder into an outlet for power, and it’s also equipped with an optional battery backup. It requires 4 size C batteries that are not included with your purchase.
Rounding out my list of the best dog automatic feeders is this programmable feeder from Animal Planet. It holds up to 10 pounds of food, so it can work for larger dogs but is best suited for small and medium breeds.
This one is programmable, so you don’t need to worry about downloading and navigating an app. The lighted LCD display on the Animal Planet Programmable Electronic Pet Feeder is easy to see, even in the dark, and the programming instructions are simple and easy to follow.
This option dispenses up to 3 meals per day and serves 1/4 to 2 cups of food at a time. It’s powered by batteries, and requires 3 size D batteries that are not included when you buy the device. Another drawback to this is that it is fairly light and can be easily tipped over and raided by hungry pups, but it’s still one of the best automatic dog feeders for pets that aren’t gluttons.