Updated: November 2017
If you have more than one cat or dog (we do!), you'll understand that ensuring your cat or dog are well fed is of utmost importance. Amongst all the daily to-dos, I sometimes feel quite overwhelmed. That's when my husband suggested an automatic pet feeder. It's a really convenient way of ensuring that Harley and Lilo's basic feeding needs are met.
Table of Contents
- My Top Picks: Best Automatic Cat & Dog Feeders Comparison Table
- Top Automatic Feeders for Cats and Dog
- 2. Ergo Systems Feeder
- 3. Robotic Dry Food Dispenser by Cat Mate
- 4. Diamond Series V3 Dog Cat Feeder by Crown Majestic
- 5. Eatwell 5-Meal Cat & Dog Automatic Dispenser
- 6. Six-Meal Pet Dispenser
- 7. Lentek 6-Day Automatic
- 8. Aspen Le Bistro Portion-Control Automatic Cat Feeder
- 9. Eatwell 2 Meal Automatic Dispenser
- 10. Bergan Gourmet Food and Waterers Automatic Feeder
- Benefits of Having Automatic Pet Feeders
- What Makes A Good Automatic Pet Feeder?
- Top Choices
- What are Some Possible Disadvantages?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Introducing Your Pet To A Feeder
My Top Picks: Best Automatic Cat & Dog Feeders Comparison Table
Type of Food
Up to 24 cups
Up to 12 meals a day with slow feed mode and anti jamming features
Dry & semi moist foods
Best automatic cat feeder! Up to 4 meals/day. Control using your smart phone!
Dry food (size must be 0.2-0.59 inch)
48oz total (8oz in each of the 6 compartments)
Feed and control from your smart phone, anytime! Watch from the built in web cam.
Wet, dry and even treats
Perfect for multiple cats and dogs! Recognises your dog or cat and each one's diet/feeding routine.
Dry & Wet
Up to 8 meals a day
Top Automatic Feeders for Cats and Dog
1. PetSafe Healthy Simply Feed
This automatic dog feeder is like the mega sized of the lot! I love that I can allocate up to 12 meals per day with very flexible meal sizes from 1/8 cup to 4 cups. This makes it extremely suitable for cats and dogs of all sizes.
The top feature I have to say is its Slow Feed Mode that slowly dispenses portions greater than 1/8 cup over a 15 minute period. This helps fast gobblers like my dog and helps prevent digestion problems in the long run. The Pause Feed Mode also lets you stop feeding immediately but it doesn't cancel your programming. Very helpful you have a temporary schedule change. You can just simply resume programming with a click of a button.
The bowl is also made of stainless steel (a lot safer than plastics!) and it's also very conveniently dishwasher safe. The hopper itself is made of BPA free plastic and you can rest assured that it's safe and non toxic for your dog or cat.
Its construction and design is rather solid and stable. This means if you have any hyper active, strong dogs or even cats, you won't have to worry about it being tipped over.
One of the points that can be improved though is that there is no clear monitor level of when the food runs out. It's a little hard to tell when the supply is running low. It's quite simple though - you just have to pop the top lid and have a quick look. Easy peasy!
- Type of Food: Dry kibble and semi-moist foods for your cat or dog
- Serving Size: 1/8 cup to 4 cups
- Meals per day: 12
- Timer: Programmable LCD display. Can dispense food in Slow Feed Mode over 15 minutes.
2. Ergo Systems Feeder
This small automatic model was designed to feed small cats or dogs, like a small pup. It can be programmed to release small quantities, such as 4 to 5 kibbles of food if necessary. With adjustable meal servings, this automatic feeder is suitable for cats and dogs with health problems that need to be monitored.
Slow dispensing of food prevents kibbles from piling up and also prevents fast eating, suffering afterward from indigestion and bloat.
- Tank Size: 5lbs
- Type of Food: Dry foods only
- Serving size: can be programmed for a small quantities such 4 to 5 kibbles of food if need.
- Meals per day: 8
- Timer: digital timers with battery backup for programs
- Power: works with AC adapter and with batteries as backup for programs
3. Robotic Dry Food Dispenser by Cat Mate
Perfect for smaller cats or dogs, this automatic feeder can be easily set for a small serving of dry foods. Easy to wash (just chuck all parts in the dishwasher), it also comes with an easy to program LCD control. If you have a cheeky cat or dog who loves tampering with gadgets like these, this automatic feeder has a tamper-proof feeding nozzle. I also like the snap lock lid which is conveniently cat and dog proof as well.
- Tank size: 6.5lbs
- Type of food: Dry foods only
- Serving size: Minimum of 2 teaspoons (10g) and upwards
- Meals per day: 3
- Timer: Easy to program using the LCD control
- Power: Works with 4 C batteries (not included)
4. Diamond Series V3 Dog Cat Feeder by Crown Majestic
This feeder comes in a complete unit, with a water dispenser (detachable drinking bottle) as well. It also comes with a drinking bowl, and extender container and even allows you to record a personal voice message (12 seconds) to alert your cat when food is dispensed. It is well designed to be stable and difficult to tip over. I find the automatic backlit display pretty cool and it also displays the time and number of meals.
- Tank size: 4.4lbs
- Type of Food: Dry foods only
- Serving sizes: dispenses 1/4; 1/2; 3/4; 1 and 2 cups of dry food
- Meals per day: 4
- Timer: equal hour intervals. i.e 1 feeding every 24hrs 2 feedings every 12 hrs
- Power: works with 4 AA batteries as primary source (not included) and with AC 6V adapter (included) in conjunction as backup
- Power battery indicator: Yes
5. Eatwell 5-Meal Cat & Dog Automatic Dispenser
This is another automatic design made by PetSafe - it's a very popular option because it can provide up to 5 meals for your cat or dog, which can be set for everyday use.
Dogs and cats cannot easily turn this automatic feeder over, as it’s quite big and flat - it is really quite stable indeed. The tray is really easy to wash (just pop in the dishwasher), and I do appreciate that I can include wet foods as well.
- Tank size: 5 x 1-cup capacity chambers
- Types of food: Dry and wet
- Serving Sizes: 5 x 1-cup capacity
- Meals per day: 5
- Timer: easy to set digital timer
- Power: 4 D-cell batteries (not included)
- Battery indicator: No
6. Six-Meal Pet Dispenser
Featuring 6 compartments (6 feeds a day!) and a function to record a 6 second message for your cat or dog, this automatic feeder also has a built in clock. Fill the compartments with either dry or wet foods. I have to say I do love the design as well as the secure lid lock.
- Tank size: 3/4 to 1 cup
- Type of food: Dry and wet
- Serving Size: 3/4 cup to 1 cup
- Meals per day: 6
- Timer: Built-in clock with easy to read LCD. Records a 6 second personal message. Can only be set in one hour intervals and it will only program at the top of the hour (11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, etc...).
- Power: 4 C-cell batteries
- Battery Indicator: Yes
7. Lentek 6-Day Automatic
This model allows you to select intervals of 6, 12 or 24 hours. It also comes with a removable lid and 2 inserts which comes in handy when one is being washed.
- Tank Size: 2/3 cup dry or 5 1/2 ounces wet
- Types of Food: Dry and wet
- Serving Size: 2/3 cup dry or 5 1/2 wet
- Meals per day: 6
- Timer: Selectable feeding intervals of 6, 12 or 24 hours
8. Aspen Le Bistro Portion-Control Automatic Cat Feeder
Program up to 3 meals a day in sizes of 1/4 to 3 cups. This is a gravity design and helps to control your dog/cat's weight/obesity by controlling the portions. I also love that it has a microban protection that helps to stop the growth of bacteria and odor.
3D batteries and power adapter must be bought separately.
- Tank Size: 5lbs
- Type of Food: Dry only
- Serving Size: 1/4 to 3 cups
- Meals per day: 3
- Timer: Can be programmed to dispense up to 3 meals per day
- Power: 3 D-cell alkaline batteries
9. Eatwell 2 Meal Automatic Dispenser
Most experts recommended that dogs should be fed twice a day. That is the logic that this Petsafe feeder is based on. If you only feed your dog twice a day, this will be perfect.
Great for small to medium dogs and felines, this model allows you to set your timer up to 48 hours in advance.
- Tank Size: 1.5 cups each
- Types of Food: Dry and wet
- Serving Size: 1.5 cups each
- Meals per day: 2
- Timer: It has a 48 hour timer. You need to reset it after each feeding with no sound
10. Bergan Gourmet Food and Waterers Automatic Feeder
This combo set includes a water dispenser as well. Made from durable plastic, both are designed to be sturdy and stable. The food capacity is 13 pounds while the water capacity is 3 gallons. This combo set has no timer though so it's an easy system if you just need something simple and not so sophisticated to do the job of ensuring food and water is present when you're temporarily not around.
- Tank Size: 13lbs
- Type of Food: Dry foods only
- Serving Size: Will keep supplying food until empty
- Meals Per Day: Will keep supplying food until empty
- Timer: No timer
Benefits of Having Automatic Pet Feeders
Well, the best automatic pet feeder works tremendously to support you when you have busy schedules. If you're a late riser and tend to rush off to work, these feeders will come in handy as you might miss getting your cat or dog's food ready before you head off to work. Or how about lunch hour? With automatic feeders, you have a set and forget option at your fingertips and can be at ease that there's food ready for your cat or dog.
Some other perks include: Not having to keep track of times to feed your cat or dog. Not having to be alert to stick to a schedule (there are already so many things to keep track of each day!) For elderly owners especially, or owners who have physical challenges, it is a much needed solution to help simplify the feeding task for their cats or dogs.
Also, if you have more than one cat or dog, most automatic dispensers these days have a large enough basin to feed multiple felines or canines. Especially if you have a handful of felines, getting a robotic kitty feeder can really help.
What Makes A Good Automatic Pet Feeder?
The 3 main things to keep in mind are: The automatic dispenser itself, your pets' characteristics (breed, size) and your own preferences. Be sure to consider its size when buying one.
Some best automatic pet feeders suit bigger animals (they allow a bigger capacity to hold and dispense more food) while other dispensers really suit smaller ones more. Here are some questions you might consider:
Choosing a feeder can be a tiresome process due to a variety of options available. There are several important factors to consider when choosing a pet feeder.
- How efficient is it? Is the capacity big enough so you don't have to refill so often?
- Again, the size of the tank will have to be able to dispense a suitable amount for the size and appetite of your fur kid.
- Is the container and dispenser big enough if you have multiple cats or dogs?
- What is the kibble size? Some dispensers will transmit the food through a tube, then pour it out. If the kibble you use is too big to let it through, it might get stuck. Some better feeders come with adjustable parts for this. So make sure to pay attention to the shape of your kibble as it is a significant factor. If it’s round there will be no problem at all, but if it’s square or any other shape, it might get stuck inside the tube.
- For foods that are longer stored inside the dispenser, an air tight hopper is a must.
- Some dogs have health issues, so one that have better control on food quantity per serve might be the better option.
1. Different Speed Modes
It is important to choose an automatic feeder dispenser that will dispense just the right amount of food for your dogs or cats. In order to prevent your pet from becoming obese, it is necessary to find an automatic pet feeder that gives you lots of control and options such as different speed modes.
2. The Number of Pets
It might not be very smart to purchase just one automatic pet feeder if you have more than one cat or dog. Cats and dogs can be aggressive when eating and they can prevent others from reaching the food. It is best if you purchase separate pet feeders for each cat or dog.
3. Can the Feeder be Used For Cats and Dogs?
There is a great difference between dogs and cats and their dietary needs. Therefore, if a pet feeder is designed for dogs, you should consider this before thinking of using it for your cat.
4. The Amount of Food Dispensed
A perfect automatic pet feeder should dispense a small amount of food during each feeding time. In this way, you can control how much food does your fur baby eat and prevent your cats or dogs from becoming obese. For fast-eating pets, there is a possibility that the feeder will shut down upon noticing that your pets eat extremely fast. These pet feeders operate on batteries.
5. Big and Small Pets
Automatic pet feeders are specially designed to fit the needs of your cats and dogs. If you own a bigger pet that requires a great amount of food each day, there is a pet feeder designed just for that. On the other side, there are pet feeders for smaller pets as well.
6. How Many Meals Can It Be Programmed For?
Make sure the feeder you choose gives you lots of options and flexibility to program multiple meals each day.
7. How Easy Is It To Use?
There's no point getting feeders so high tech that they're so difficult to use. It'll just end up not being used at all! Get a good feeder that's easy to use and set up.
8. Easy to Clean?
Get one which is easy and convenient to clean, preferably even dishwasher safe. Make sure the bowl and hopper are both easy to clean.
9. Stable and Sturdy
The last thing you want is to invest in something that's so filmsy and light. Your hyper and strong dog or your curious cat will easily tip it over, giving you more mess to clean up. The feeder should help you, not cause you more trouble! Get one which is well designed, sturdy and can stand strong on its own.
Taking all the above mentioned factors into consideration, there are great automatic pet feeders available on the market. Here are a few examples:
1. Petsafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed
This pet feeder allows meals to be dispense slowly so to prevent your pet from eating fast. You can schedule as high as 12 meals each day with adjustable portion sizes.
The main disadvantage of this pet feeder is that you can’t know how much food is there left in the hopper.
2. Feed and Go Automatic Feeder
This automatic pet feeder has a webcam and microphone built in allowing you to see what your pet is doing at any moment. You can schedule up to 6 meals daily and control the feeder from the web.
The main disadvantage of this automatic pet feeder is that you cannot control it without the Internet.
3. Oxgord Automatic Electric Timer Programmable Dog Feeder
This feeder allows your pet to hear your voice via a recorded message. There is a pet-proof lock which prevents it from tipping over, and and LCD display.
The disadvantage of this pet feeder is that you can only schedule 1-4 meals per day, and portions sizes are rather small. Changing the batteries can erase the feeding schedule.
What are Some Possible Disadvantages?
Well, nothing's perfect so there's definitely downsides to using such feeders. One of the most common points brought up is that the owner and the dog or cat will not be able to enjoy bonding time during meals.
Also, there's the discipline element. For me, I like to be strict with my dog and cat and make them sit patiently to wait during meal times. With a dispenser feeder, there's no need to sit or wait. This can be a bit disruptive to your dog or cat's discipline routine as it's hard to be consistent.
Lastly, if the feeder you pick is not an electronic, computerized feeder (in other words, a gravity one), you won't be able to control your dog or cat's meals and portions as much. Your greedy food-loving dog or cat will probably just enjoy gobbling everything up.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Can I make a customized feeding schedule?
An automatic pet feeder provides the possibility to avoid default feeding schedule and choose the feeding times instead. You can decide on the length of the intervals between each meal, and you can even set the feeder to dispense small amounts of food and prevent your pet to become overfed.
2) Does the performance of automatic feeder depend on the food my pet eats?
The type of food your pet eats is related to how well the automatic pet feeder performs. For example, the type of food will affect the accuracy of the amount of food dispensed. It is recommended to choose a pet feeder that works best with the type of food your pet eats.
3) Is a battery powered feeder reliable?
Battery operated feeders require long-lasting batteries. Otherwise, it is less reliable than automatic pet feeders. Battery powered feeders do dispense food even during power outage.
4) Does the programming change when I change the batteries or during power outage?
It is possible that battery powered pet feeders may lose the programming when you change the batteries.
5) Can I use the Feeder to feed my pet from anywhere?
If you would like to be able to feed your pet from anywhere, you should purchase automatic feeders with webcams. You can control the feeder through your computer or tablet. In that way, you can make sure that your pet is eating the food.
Introducing Your Pet To A Feeder
Dogs usually adapt a lot faster to the best automatic dog feeder but it is a good idea to monitor them keenly first because they do have the tendency to try to turn the feeder over.
From my experience, cats are a little trickier to train with the feeder dispenser. Yes, you need to do some prep work even with the best automatic cat feeder. Try to place it where you usually feed your cat, right next to their usual cat bowl. You can even try a feeder dispenser with sounds to attract the attention of your cat!