What is the Best Dog Food Dispenser?

Do Automatic Dog Feeders Work?

Yes, automatic dog feeders work. Based on how they work, there are several types of automatic pet feeders:

  • Gravity Feeders. These work by filling the food storage container at the top of the feeder. When the dry dog food is removed from the food bowl, more kibble falls from the storage container into the bowl.
  • Programmable. Automatic dog feeders are handy for being able to program feeding times. This means pets will be on a strict feeding schedule that is set by pet owners so they can eat on a more regimented schedule.
  • Video Camera. These work in much the same way as programmable feeders do but with a camera added that can be accessed through a smartphone like Android or iPhone. These can be used to dispense certain amounts of food at a given interval and allows pet parents to watch and communicate with their pet.
  • Microchip Feeders. A microchip that attaches to a dog’s collar tells the feeder when the dog is close and dispenses food when the dog is within a certain distance of the bowl.
  • Water Fountains. Providing clean water is important for pets, and water fountains allow pet owners to do that. They automatically circulate water and keep it oxygenated and fresh between uses.

Are Food Dispensers Good For Dogs?

Yes, dog food dispensers are good. They perform several important functions like the ones listed below:

  • Controlled Eating. Automatic dog feeders can be set up to dispense food at certain intervals throughout the day. This is important for dogs who are overweight as it offers them the chance to eat smaller portion sizes more often, thus reducing hunger spikes through portion control.
  • Limited Food Intake. Programming an automatic dog feeder to only dispense a certain amount of food per day is important to prevent weight gain and help encourage weight loss in overweight pets. Limiting food intake can also prevent upset stomachs, bloat, and food-related illnesses.
  • Circulating Water. Automatic dog feeders can dispense water too. In these machines, water is circulated to prevent the growth of bacteria and keep water fresh.

How Do I Get My Dog to Eat Out of an Automatic Pet Feeder?

Some dogs will take to an automatic feeder right away, but if they don’t, some things can be done.

Feeding a dog treats out of the pet bowl can encourage them to trust the bowl and be more comfortable eating from it over time.

Leaving the bowl next to their old food bowl can train them to overcome their apprehensions.

Realize the dog might be afraid of the noise the feeder can make when dispensing food and offer treats at the same time the feeder operates. This will encourage the dog to associate the noise of the feeder with food.

The Best Dog Food Dispenser Reviewed

There are plenty of food dispensers for cats and dogs on the market. To help owners find the right dog food dispenser, we have reviewed some of the best-sellers on Amazon and Chewy.

Amazon Basics Gravity Pet Food Feeder and Water Dispenser

Amazon Basics Gravity Pet Food Feeder and Water Dispenser

Get it on Amazon

Features: Gravity-fed, transparent food hopper, side cut-out handles for easy lifting, non-skid rubber feet to secure placement.

Food Capacity: 6 pounds

App-Controlled: No

Summary: This small pet food bowl is gravity fed and includes a feeder with a 6-pound capacity. The food hopper is transparent for easy viewing and is ideal for single-pet households. It features non-skid rubber feet and an easy-to-clean design as well as handles molded into the side of the hopper for easy movement.

Pros

  • Handles are molded into the side of the hopper
  • Transparent hopper
  • Gravity fed
  • Holds up to 6-pounds of food or 1 gallon of water
  • Non-skid rubber feet prevent unwanted movement

Cons

  • According to reviews, lack of quality control may make fitting the hopper and bowl together frustrating

Review: High ratings and reviews give the same reason for their praise. They were all happy the product worked as it should, and their pets enjoyed it. Critical reviews were mostly upset about the difficult time they had when putting the food bowl together. Reviewers said the two pieces barely fit together, and they would be returning this one and buying another brand.

Automatic Pet Feeder and Water Food Dispenser

Automatic Pet Feeder and Water Food Dispenser

Get it on Amazon

Features: BPA-free, gravity fed, 100% recyclable, easy to clean wide opening, the small footprint allows for easy placement anywhere

Food Capacity: 1 gallon

App-Controlled: No

Summary: This gravity feeder is made of 100% recyclable BPA-free plastic. It features an extra wide opening for easy filling and cleaning, and the water bottle locks in place to prevent leaking. The food hopper holds up to 1 gallon of water or food, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. The small footprint is made with a slip-resistant rubber bottom to prevent unwanted movement.

Pros

  • 100% BPA-free and 100% recyclable
  • Elegant-looking and modern design
  • The extra-wide opening allows for easy cleaning
  • Small footprint can be placed even in small spaces
  • Comes in a two-pack for food and water

Cons

  • The small design is not made for larger pets

Review: Satisfied customers were happy with this as a cat feeder, and owners of both dogs and cats said this was an excellent choice for their pets. Unhappy customers said they would return the product after it would not fit together, and dissatisfied customers expressed concern over the apparent cheapness of the plastic.

PetSafe Healthy Pet Food Station

PetSafe Healthy Pet Food Station

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Features: up to 2 1/2 gallons capacity, made to take up less space on the floor, is dishwasher safe, gravity fed

Food Capacity: Up to 2 1/2 gallons

App-Controlled: No

Summary: This plastic pet feeder and waterer is made to take up less space with a small footprint that can be placed in the smallest areas. It features up to 2 1/2 gallons of capacity with a stainless steel bowl that is dishwasher safe. Allowing gravity to fill the bowl at mealtime, this feeder enables your pet to complete access to a full bowl of food at any time. The locking lid keeps food fresh, and the BPA-free plastic that makes up the hopper is made to be safe and last a long time with constant use.

Pros

  • Comes with a stainless steel bowl
  • Available in different sizes for all breed sizes
  • BPA-free with a small footprint
  • Can store up to several cups of food
  • Dishwasher safe and easy to keep clean

Cons

  • Sold as a single unit, not a package deal
  • Only the waterer is sold in the large size

Review: Positive reviews noted how easy it was to clean this feeder and to keep it working appropriately. Many customers even liked how it looked and said it added a “nice touch” to their kitchen. Complaints were numerous and came in many forms. They ranged from rusted bowls to plastic caps that wouldn’t lock into place to the bowl not lasting more than a few months.

2 Pack Automatic Dog Feeder and Water Dispenser in Set with Pet Food Mat

2 Pack Automatic Dog Feeder and Water Dispenser in Set with Pet Food Mat

Get it on Amazon

Features: 1-gallon hopper, feeder mat reduces unwanted bowl movement, includes 2-year assurance and lifetime customer service, molded handles in the hopper for easy movement

Food Capacity: 1 gallon

App-Controlled: No

Summary: This cat feeder can be used for small breed dogs and is available in a single or dual pack. It is gravity fed and made of plastic. It features an anti-skid bottom and spring mouth for the automatic flow of food and water. A feeder mat is included for extra traction on the floor, and the hopper is translucent for easy viewing. The extra-wide mouth allows for easy cleaning, and this is available in a pack of one or two for food and water.

Pros

  • Includes feeder mat to reduce unwanted bowl movement
  • Non-skid bottom for more traction
  • Gravity-based dispensing design
  • Available in a one or two pack
  • Extra wide mouth makes for easy cleaning

Cons

  • Food dispenser may clog, defeating the purpose of an automatic feeder

Review: Happy customers often noted this worked great for cat food, but even some five-star reviews noted the size was smaller than they had thought, and it wouldn’t work for their larger dogs. Dissatisfied customers were unhappy with the size of the container, with some complaining it was smaller than they thought and others complaining it was larger. Numerous customers complained about manually dispensing food from the food hopper as it is prone to clogging.

WOPET Automatic Dog Feeder Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Pet Feeder

WOPET Automatic Dog Feeder Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Pet Feeder

 

Get it on Amazon

Features: App controlled, can record a custom message, dual power supply, suitable for dry food only, ability to program up to 15 meals per day

Food Capacity: 6 liters

App-Controlled: Yes

Summary: Wifi capability and controlled by your smartphone, this pet feeder is able to be programmed to dispense up to fifteen meals per day. It contains the ability to record a custom message for your pet to get them excited about mealtime, but it is only suited for dry food. The 6-liter hopper is removable and made to be easily cleaned, and more than one user can control the account for the pet feeder. This automatic pet feeder can handle up 5-15 mm kibble, and the app can be downloaded on Android and Apple IOS.

Pros

  • Controlled by an app
  • Voice recorder can record custom messages for each meal
  • Can be programmed to dispense up to 15 meals per day
  • Dual power source to prevent outages due to power loss
  • Helps control pet’s weight by limiting portion sizes

Cons

  • Suitable for dry food only
  • Only compatible with 2.4 GHz WIFI

Review: Most customers were happy with the ease of use of this feeder offered. They were able to put their dogs on a feeding schedule and keep wild animals from getting to the food they leave for their outdoor cats by only allowing food to be dispensed at specific times of the day. Negative reviews complained that the feeder was challenging to set up and did not dispense when they thought they had told it.

Petmate Pet Cafe Feeder

Petmate Pet Cafe Feeder

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Features: Gravity fed, 6 lbs hopper, food, and water bowls, large hoppers for large pets

Food Capacity: 6 lbs

App-Controlled: No

Summary: The large food hopper and bowl make this automatic feeder a good option for owners of large dogs or multi-pet households. It is easy to clean with a wide opening and easy disassembly. The gravity-fed design allows the food bowl to be full at all times while dispensing water only when needed. It is available in four different sizes to fit the needs of any pet parent.

Pros

  • The gravity-fed design makes pet feeding easy
  • Large capacity
  • Available in several sizes
  • A wide opening allows for easy cleaning
  • Eco-friendly design

Cons

  • Food may not dispense automatically if the kibble is shaped oddly

Review: The satisfied reviews were similar to each other, with reviews saying it is “worth buying” and “five stars.” They were happy with the quality of the feeder as well as the functionality. Most of the negative reviews noted the dry food does not dispense on its own, making the purpose of the feeder null and void, with some even complaining about the color.

Automatic Pet Feeder For Small&Medium Breed

Automatic Pet Feeder For Small&Medium Breed

Get it on Amazon

Features: 1-gallon hopper, gravity-fed food and water dispenser, eco-friendly design, non-skid rubber bottom, cut-out handles for easy moving

Food Capacity: 1 gallon

App-Controlled: No

Summary: This pet food dispenser features a large 1-gallon hopper with cut-out handles for easy moving, cleaning, and filling. The large opening and easy disassembled design make this easy to clean and fill, and uses gravity to keep the bowl full. It has a small, compact design to fit anywhere in a house and requires no electricity to operate. It is only suitable for dry food and has a wide food dispensing groove to avoid clogging.

Pros

  • Cut out handles for easy moving
  • Non-skid rubber bottom
  • Easy disassembly for easy cleaning
  • Larger capacity hopper
  • Eco-friendly design can be used anywhere

Cons

  • Suitable for only dry food

Review: Pet owners were happy with this automatic feeder saying it did not frighten their cats, and their dogs haven’t knocked the hopper off to get to the rest of the food immediately. They were impressed by the quality of the plastic and the locking system this product uses to keep food and water in the hopper. Critical reviewers would have liked a larger opening for easier cleaning and complained the water dispenser did not operate as expected, with numerous pet owners stating they had depended on this product to feed and water their cats when they left town only to find it had not worked for the duration of their trip.

What Should I Look for in a Dog Food Dispenser?

When looking for a dog food dispenser, consider the following factors:

  • Type of Food. Some feeders work exclusively with dry food, while others can handle dry and wet food or semi-moist food. This can determine the type of feeder you buy, as some programmable feeders only work with dry food.
  • Portion Control. If your dog requires smaller portion sizes, it may be necessary to use a slow feeder or programmable feeder. Gravity feeders do not allow for portion control, but programmable feeders will only dispense as much food as you program them to dispense.
  • Power Source. Many automatic feeders are dual source powered. This means they have an AC plug that powers the feeder from the electricity in the house, but they also have battery backups in case of power outages. Other feeders, however, run on only batteries or only AC power. Be sure to know which power source a feeder requires before purchasing.
  • Design. Finding a feeder that is easy to clean and assemble is important. The food storage container should be easily removable and have an opening you can fit your hand into or a brush for washing. Also, keep in mind that some pets might become eager and impatient when hungry and may try to get into the feeder before it dispenses the next meal. Consider pet-proof designs if you think your dog may be the kind to become impatient.
  • BPA-Free. Most feeders will be BPA-free but be sure to check just in case. BPAs have been linked to an elevated risk of diabetes, mammary and prostate cancers, reproductive problems, and neurological problems.
Amazon Basics Gravity Pet Food Feeder and Water Dispenser
  • Pet food and water dispensers use gravity to ensure a consistent supply
  • Includes a Small feeder with a 6 pound capacity and a Small waterer with a 1 gallon capacity
  • Food hopper and water bottle made of transparent PET, which allows for checking levels at a glance

Are Automatic Dog Feeders Worth It?

It depends. Many dogs do not require strict feeding schedules or strict portion sizes. If your dog does not require these, it might not be worth the money to buy an automatic feeder.

However, if you work long hours, require a strict dog feeding schedule, or have an overweight dog that requires smaller, more frequent meals, it may be something to consider.