An automatic dog feeder can be so handy. We can make sure our loved pup doesn’t miss a meal, even when we are out late for whatever reason. There are many different types of automatic feeders available for dogs, and cats for that matter.
Our vet advisor, Dr. Melody Aitchison-Steed, looked at all types of automatic dog feeders to determine which is the best option for you and your family, looking at factors like Wi-Fi, food capacity, timer, reliability, and more. She chose the PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder for its slow feed that prevents jamming, battery backup, and smartphone capability. Read how she chose the top 5.
If your dog is struggling with overeating, you may want to try other options, like a snuffle mat, to mitigate his consumption. For pups that are eating because they’re bored, consider alternate ways to entertain them. Of course, if you’re drastically cutting their food intake, you’ll want to make sure they’re not going elsewhere – like the trash (in which case you may want to invest in a pet proof trash can) – to get scraps.
Our Vet’s Top 5 Automatic Dog Feeders
Here are our top picks. Compare the ratings and features of different models to find the right one for you.
|Editor’s Picks||Model||Rating||Good for Multiples?||Capacity||Battery Backup?|
|Best Overall||PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder||5.7 Liters|
|Best Budget||Iseebiz 6L Automatic Pet Feeder||6 Liters|
|Best for Multiple Dogs||PETLIBRO Automatic Feeder||5 Liters|
|Best Smart Feeder||Feeder-Robot – WiFi-Enabled, Automatic Pet Feeder||7.5 Liters|
|Best Microchip Feeder||SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect||13.7 fl oz|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy an Automatic Dog Feeder
- Forgetful pet parents – When your life gets chaotic, making time to portion out your dog’s food may fall down your list of to-dos. Pretty soon, it’s 9pm and you’re realizing your pup hasn’t eaten dinner. This is particularly worrisome for the well-mannered dog who doesn’t request food. Fortunately, an automatic feeder can be filled ahead of time and you can still ensure your pup is getting his food when he needs it, whether you remember it or not.
- Those gone for long stretches – If you have to leave for the day, then you may want to make sure your dog still has access to food. (You absolutely will want to make sure he has access to water.) An automatic feeder can make sure he’s still getting plenty of food to give him sufficient sustenance, even if you’re away. Just make sure he has plenty to keep him busy, otherwise, he may entertain himself with the destruction of your home.
- When your dog overeats – If you’re putting your pup on a diet, then an automatic feeder is an excellent idea to make sure he sticks with his portion control. You’ll have the ability to portion out only what he should be eating and the feeder is secure enough to prevent him from eating any additional food.
Who Should Not Buy an Automatic Dog Feeder
- When your dog eats on-demand – If you have a dog who needs to gain weight, a rescue, or a dog recovering from an illness, for example, then you may not want to limit his food intake. Most dogs will eat more food if it is always available,1 but if he is able to self-regulate, then you don’t need to worry about an automatic feeder.
- Different dogs with different foods – There are ways around food being shared between multiples, even with an automatic feeder, however, there are certain dog dynamics that will preclude the advantages of an automatic feeder. If you have a timid dog on a specialized diet and an aggressive dog who cannot eat that food, even two microchip feeders won’t keep the aggressive dog from eating the food after the timid one has opened it. If you’d rather not separate your dogs for feeding time and you have added complications, sometimes a feeder just won’t help.
Research Tips (From a Veterinarian)
When you are researching an automatic feeder there are a few important considerations to make. Whenever you are researching pet products don’t forget to consult your veterinarian or other reputable sources, including looking at trusted reviews online. Here’s what to consider when selecting an automatic dog feeder:
- Multiples – Do you have multiple dogs to feed? If so, do they get along at mealtime? There are some nice feeders that can feed food into multiple dogs’ bowls, making sure that multiple dogs can all eat together. These bowls are typically close together, so if your dogs become aggressive around food it would be best to get each dog their own feeder.2
- Consider how “smart” you want it – Another consideration for automatic feeders is whether you prefer them to connect to Wi-Fi and have an app to access control of the feeder. There are several feeders out there that can accommodate this! This can be really helpful if you would like to access information regarding the feeder from anywhere. Also, you can manually feed your pet remotely.
- Battery or wireless functionality – Consider whether the feeder has a battery backup in case of power outages or placement where there is limited access to an outlet. Ideally, the feeder could accommodate both electric and battery-operated functions.
- Special dietary needs – Finally, consider whether you need to keep other pets away from this food bowl. If so, then a microchip automatic feeder will be really helpful for your situation. This can be especially useful when one dog is on a prescription diet and cannot eat from a different feeder. Or if you have a dog that’s a slow eater and her housemate will eat all the food, then a microchip feeder can be a wonderful solution.
How Much Do They Cost?
There’s more than just quality and features going into the price range for an automatic feeder. Naturally, the more advanced the technology, the steeper the cost, and of course, the more convenience. But you’ll also pay for the size a giant breed dog will need a larger capacity than a toy breed and you’ll see a significant difference in costs for that difference, as well. You’ll absolutely get what you pay for in an automatic feeder, but you should expect to pay somewhere between $70 to $250. The higher cost will be for the all-electronic, Wi-Fi-controlled feeders, while you can get just timer-controlled feeders for around $65.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily
As a veterinarian, I’ve seen a lot of complications to a dog’s health that can be prevented or helped by establishing a healthy feeding schedule. An automatic feeder that takes all the guesswork out of the times and portions can help regulate your dog and save you big in the long run. Between my discussions with other veterinarians and pet owners, I’ve seen plenty of evidence to support this, and combined with my own experience, I know just what features you’ll need and which you’ll love. – Dr. Melody Aitchison-Steed, DVM
The Best Automatic Dog Feeders: Full Reviews
The PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder is the epitome of dog feeding convenience. You’ll be able to completely control your dog’s food from your fingertips, wherever you are with the free app. That means you’ll be able to ensure the feeding schedule your dog needs, whether you’re home or away. In fact, if you combine this with a doggy door to a backyard, you’ll be able to ensure your dog is independent living. (Just make sure you’re not neglecting him for the sake of your convenience!)
Though we love the single pet feeding capabilities of this feeder, it’s worth noting that it also comes in a two pet feeder that distributes the same food into two separate bowls for your pets who are comfortable eating with each other.
- Works with Alexa
- Battery backup
- Feed now option
- Can only program with a smartphone
- Connectivity issues
The Iseebiz 6L Automatic Pet Feeder will give you the ability to feed your dog on a set schedule without actively doing it. You’ll program your dog’s feeding schedule and portion directly on the front of the feeder and that means you won’t have to rely on an excellent Wi-Fi signal. You also get to record your voice message of up to 10 seconds so that you will alert your dog to his food delivery – and that may be just the kind of encouragement he needs to stay on schedule.
You can program up to four meals per day, and with the large food capacity, you’ll have your dog fed for plenty of days without ever thinking about it again. The infrared design is perfect for ensuring your pet’s food doesn’t spill or overflow, so if he’s a slow eater, you don’t need to worry about too much food coming out and making a mess.
- Record your voice to encourage feeding
- Large capacity (6L)
- Battery backup
- No Wi-Fi or app control
- Only suitable for food 0.2-0.6″ in diameter
The PETLIBRO Automatic Feeder will dispense food into two bowls, ensuring both your dogs can get the right portion of food, at the right time. If all they need is a separate dish to keep them each happy, this is the fix for you. This is an excellent solution to dogs fighting while they eat. You will still want to supervise the first few tries with this method, though, to make sure they’re eating the right food and not bothered by each other as close as they are.
With the desiccant bag located on the underside of the lid and a sealing strip to make sure your dogs’ food is stored virtually airtight, you can count on fresh bites every time. And you won’t need to worry about attracting bugs or rodents, either.
- Excellent at keeping food fresh
- 10-second meal call
- 6 meals a day
- Programming can be tricky
- Aggressive eaters may still struggle
The Feeder-Robot – WiFi-Enabled, Automatic Pet Feeder will connect to your phone via a free app and you’ll be able to program your dog’s feeding schedule and portions easily. Unlike other Wi-Fi feeders, though, you’ll also be able to feed your pup from the console, as well – so if your Wi-Fi is out, you can still make changes.
The backup battery ensures that even during power outages, you’ll be able to get your dog the food he needs when he needs it. And for the puppy who’s especially curious (and maybe a little mischievous), the feeder is made with BPA-free plastic, an auto-locking hopper, tamper-resistant lid, and a chew-resistant power cord. So your loveable little trouble maker won’t easily destroy the “hand” that feeds him.
- 18-month warranty; 90-day in-home trial
- “Feed now” options
- Removable parts for easy cleaning
- No recordable notification
- Plastic feeder bowl is less durable
After you purchase the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect, you’ll place a microchip tag on your dog’s collar, ensuring that the food will only be accessed by your pet. (You could also take your pet to the vet for an implanted microchip to better guarantee the chip stays with your pet at all times.) The feeder will detect your dog and open it as he approaches. You can, particularly if you know your pup eats his food quickly or that you won’t be gone long, even use this feeder with wet dog food – a unique quality for automatic dog feeders.
Opening the feeder does rely on your dog’s consistent position for good microchip detection, but once your dog gets the hang of how he needs to stand to get the lid open, it’s smooth sailing from then on. In order to use this feeder, you do need to purchase the Sure Petcare Hub. Fortunately, once you purchase the hub, you can connect multiple feeders fr your multiple pets, and put them in different locations (within the hub’s range) to make sure your dogs are eating their own food in their own areas.
- LED will indicate how much dog has eaten
- Program via App
- RFID collar tag or vet implant available
- Small capacity
- Requires additional purchase of hub
Frequently Asked Questions
Another type of automatic feeder growing in popularity is the microchip feeder that will simply put a lid over the food you place there each morning and when your pet approached the feeder, it will detect the corresponding microchip you’ve attached to his collar and open the lid. Gravity feeders are a form of automatic dog feeder, but you can’t regulate the food consumption at all with it. You fill the dispenser and it flows freely to keep the dog’s dish full at all times.
If you have additional questions about the right dog food for your puppy, we’ve created a series of resources to help you get the information you need:
- A large list of the human foods that dogs can and cannot eat
- A list (and ranking) of the best automatic dog feeders
- A guide to adding fiber to a dog’s diet
- An article on how long it takes for a dog to digest food
A series of deep dives on different categories of dog food, including:
- The best dog food for Dobermans
- The best high fiber dog food
- The best dog foods for dogs with allergies
- The bet small breed puppy foods
Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Kersbergen I, German AJ, Westgarth C, Robinson E. Portion size and meal consumption in domesticated dogs: An experimental study. Physiol Behav. 2019;204:174-179. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.02.034
- Pendergrass P B, Ream L J, Bartley C M, Nagy F, Stuhlman R. The Role of Territorial Stress in Conditioned Overeating in Dogs. The Ohio Journal of Science, 1982;82 (2), 103.