When you are thinking about getting a dog one of the most difficult things for many owners to do is provide a solid feeding schedule that doesn’t change. The only other option is to free feed – but even then there is still a chance you will not make it home in time to refill the bowl.
Why Get a Dog Food Dispenser?
One of the best things a pet parent can do in a situation like this is purchasing a dog food dispenser. They are perfect for people who work crazy schedules and cannot always be home in time to feed their dog.
It is also a great option for someone who travels as they will be able to be sure their dog is provided with enough food for while they are away. Whether it’s for all week or just a weekend there is a food dispenser that will fit your needs.
There are multiple types of dog food dispensers so there is guaranteed to be one that fits your needs. Many dog owners allow their dogs to free feed and there are many inexpensive feeders that allow your dog access to food throughout the day.
For those owners who find their dog will eat like a bottomless pit if the chance arises a dispenser that provides portioned meals at certain times a day may be better. These feeders may be a little more expensive but they provide the routine dogs crave.
If you normally feed your pet portioned meals and are going away for the weekend this is a great alternative to a pet sitter. It may be more expensive the first time around (depending on the model of feeder you get), but if you use it enough it will pay for itself in no time!
Some pet parents simply choose to use feeders because they are so much more convenient than anything else. You fill it up with food once every couple days to a week and from there you don’t have to worry about a thing.
When it comes to picking the right dispenser there are many options to choose from. These are three examples of affordable, quality feeders that will keep your pet happy even when you cannot be there!
Chow Hound Galvanized Dog Feeder
This is an excellent feeder and it can be used inside and outside. So if you have a dog run or you allow your dogs to be in a fenced backyard most of the afternoon this would be perfect to have outside as it would allow them access to food even when outside for an extended period.
The Chow Hound is a gravity style feeder – meaning it does not feed a portioned meal at specific times. This feeder will refill the bottom tray when it runs low and can hold up to 25lbs of dog food in the reservoir.
It is made out of galvanized steel which offers durability against almost any weather which is why this feeder is often recommended to people who have an outdoor dog.
There may be a bit of a learning curve when you first get the feeder. There is a flap on the front/bottom that your dog must move to get to the food – however once dogs figure it out there is generally no issue.
The door has a magnet that holds it shut when the dog is no eating, which not only helps keep food dry and fresh in any weather but it also makes it nearly impossible for rodents to get into the dogs food.
One of the downsides to this feeder is that the opening is very close to the ground and may be inconvenient for larger dogs. If you have a larger dog you may want to consider putting the feeder on a couple of cinder blocks or something of similar height.
This feeder is very similar to the last in the fact that it is a gravity style feeder that offers a large (up to 25lbs) reservoir for the food. The design is highly similar however it is made of a durable hard plastic material rather than metal.
The food will always stay fresh, dry and out of the rain when in this feeder. It can be used for an indoor or outdoor dog (the plastic design may even be better for indoors).
The learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to get the food is about the same. Most dogs figure it out right away, others are afraid to stick their head in the flap. If your dog is already afraid of things like doggy doors this is probably not the best automatic feeder for you.
Bergan’s description on Amazon says it is for larger dogs though it still may be too low to the ground. Some dogs do not mind and prefer eating while laying down – for some larger breeds or older dogs it may be more difficult however.
PetSafe Electronic Pet Feeder
This neat little pet feeder is a little different than the previous two. This is an example of a timed and portioned style feeder. You can fill each slot with up to 1 cup of food (there are 5 slots in total) and then you just program it to feed your pet on a healthy schedule.
You can program it to feed your pet up to 5 times a day and eventually they will learn that when they hear the sound of the feeder rotating it is dinner time. This is the best option if you have a dog that likes to pig out when offered a food in a free-feed style.
In some reviews it seems the tray was easily moved and some pets figured it out rather quickly and were able to get to more food when they pleased. However more recent reviews are showing that this problem may have been resolved by the company.
Overall, if one of the above two options does not look like it will work for your dog then this style of feeder likely will. If you are going to be gone for more than a weekend you may need to look for a different model – but for overnight stays or long days at work it’s perfect.
In the end, if you are considering an automatic food dispenser for your dog then these are all great options. Your decision should come down to the needs of your dog as well as how long you want the food to last and how much you want your dog to have access to.