Dogs need to eat twice a day – once in the morning and once at night – but if you’re at work or school during feeding times, an automatic dog feeder can come in handy to give your pooch his meals on time. Automatic dog feeders dispense your dog’s food automatically, either by electronic programming or by gravity.
We looked at dozens of automatic dog feeders in order to find the best, highest-quality, most reliable automatic dog feeder at any budget, based on factors such as quality of materials, Amazon ratings, price, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to five of the top-rated automatic dog feeders that are on the market today.
We’ve identified the PetSafe Simply Feed Automatic Feeder as the best automatic dog feeder overall. While it’s a little pricier than some of our other picks, it can dispense 12 meals per day, features three different feeding modes, and is made of BPA-free plastic and stainless steel. These features, coupled with the fact that it’s easy to set up and clean, make it an excellent choice for smart dog owners.
The 5 Top-Rated Automatic Dog Feeders
|Best Overall||PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder
|Runner Up||WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Dog with Voice Recorder||4.5|
|Best Budget Buy||AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Feeder and Waterer||4.4|
|Best Gravity Dog Feeder||Little Giant Galvanized Steel Chow Hound Dog Feeder||4.3|
|Best Portion Controlled Pet Feeder||PortionPro Rx Automatic Pet Feeder for Cats and Dogs||4.8|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: PetSafe Simply Feed Automatic Feeder
If you’re looking for a reliable automatic feeder that will stand the test of time, look no further than the PetSafe Simply Feed Automatic Feeder. This feeder features a digital timer that can program an unbeatable twelve meals each day. The large reservoir can hold up to 1.5 gallons of food. The unique feeding system features an anti-jam conveyor belt that dispenses all sizes of dry and moist kibble.
The PetSafe feeder features three feeding modes: slow feed mode, which dispenses meals over a 15-minute time span to prevent your pet from gobbling up food too quickly; immediate feed mode, which dispenses the next meal right away; and pause mode, which temporarily shuts off feeding while keeping your pre-programmed schedule intact.
Reviewers love how they can always depend on this reliable feeder. They don’t have to worry that their dog isn’t being fed when they’re not home because it works every time. The feeder includes a stainless steel feeding dish that’s dishwasher safe. It also boasts a one-year average battery life.
PetSafe Healthy Pet Automatic Key Features:
- A digital timer that can program 12 meals per day
- Large LCD screen that makes programming easy
- Anti-jam conveyor system
- Extra-large hopper that holds 1.5 gallons of kibble
- Three feeding modes
- Pet-proof dispenser to keep food fresh and secure
- Dishwasher-safe stainless steel bowl
- One-year battery life
Our Runner-Up Pick: WESTLINK 6L Automatic Feeder with Voice Recorder
A bit more budget-friendly, WESTLINK Automatic Feeder with Voice Recorder still packs a punch. This dog feeder features a built-in voice recorder and speaker. You can record 10 seconds of your voice to call your pet to their meals – perfect for pets that tend to sleep through meal times. The feeder is pre-programmable up to 4 meals each day. Each meal dispenses one to 39 portions at each feeding, with each portion weighing about 10 to 12 grams. Food size for this feeder cannot exceed .39 inches, so it might not be appropriate for dogs that eat large kibble.
The hopper holds six liters of food in an air-tight container that has a recessed spring latch so pets cannot get inside. The system also features an infrared sensor that stops the device from dispensing when food is still left in the bowl. This keeps the system from jamming or overflowing.
Reviewers love how easy it is to program, set up, and clean. They also love the sleek design and the long-lasting battery life.
WESTLINK 6L Automatic Pet Feeder Key Features:
- 10-second voice recorder
- Programmable for up to 4 meals per day, one to 39 portions of 10-12 grams each
- 6-liter capacity
- Infrared sensor to stop the device from dispensing when there is food left in the bowl
Best Budget Pick: AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Feeder and Waterer
At just $29.99, the AmazonBasics Gravity Pet Feeder and Waterer is the best automatic dog feeder for budget-friendly pet owners who don’t want to sacrifice quality for price. It features both a gravity feeder and a waterer for double the value at half the price.
The hopper holds up to 12 pounds of dry food in all shapes and sizes. It’s made of transparent PET plastic so you can easily see when food needs to be refilled. The entire device can be hand washed easily with soap and water. The feeder features side handles that make it quick and easy to grab and lift the feeder when you need to move it. It also has non-skid feet to prevent the feeder from sliding across the floor as your pet eats. The design features no moving parts, so nothing will ever need to be replaced for the life of the feeder.
Reviewers love the simple and easy-to-clean design of both the feeder and waterer. They also can’t get over the value for the price.
AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Feeder and Waterer Key Features:
- 12-pound capacity
- Transparent pet food hopper to easily see when food needs to be refilled
- No moving parts that will need to be replaced
- Integrated side handles and non-skid feet
Best Gravity Dog Feeder: Little Giant Galvanized Steel Chow Hound Dog Feeder
If you’re looking for a gravity dog feeder that will stand up to even the most determined pooches, look no further than the Little Giant Steel Chow Hound Dog Feeder. It’s made of 24-gauge galvanized steel for the ultimate in durability. It features a magnetic door that keeps the food in the hopper fresh and dry. Dogs just need to open the door with their snouts to access their food. The specifically angled shoot provides for easy flow of food. The extra-large food reservoir holds 25 pounds of food, but there is a larger model that can hold up to 50 pounds of food.
Reviewers love that this feeder stands up to their even their most mischievous pets. One reviewer complained that her dogs could easily knock down other models and spill out the food, while the Little Giant has withstood her pooches. Other reviewers like the sturdiness and durability of the feeder and say that it’s even suitable for feeding pets outdoors.
Little Giant Galvanized Steel Chow Hound Dog Feeder Key Features:
- Galvanized steel for durability
- Angled shoot to provides for easy food flow
- A magnetic door helps keep food fresh
- 25-pound capacity
Best Portion Controlled Pet Feeder: PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder
Perhaps the most impressive feature of all is the PETLIBRO’s voice recorder. Yes, you read right—you can record a 10 second clip of your voice that sounds before your dog chows down their meal. It’s a wonderful way to connect with your pet, particularly when you’re not physically there. This feeder comes in either a 4L or 6L food capacity, and a choice of a black or white design. The transparent design means you can easily check the feeder’s food level, and top it up when necessary.
PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder Key Features:
- 9 portion options per meal
- Ability to record a voice message for your dog
- 4L or 6L food capacity
- Dual power supply
Who Should Buy an Automatic Feeder
Dogs thrive best when they are fed twice a day on a regular, consistent schedule. This can sometimes be hard to achieve when you work long hours, go to school, or just plan to be out of the house during your dog’s regular feeding time. Instead of having to feed your dog before the sun rises or after the sun sets, you can pre-program the automatic feeder to feed your pooch at his typical breakfast and dinner times. Automatic feeders can also come in handy on the weekends. Instead of having your pooch wake you up early to get his morning meal, you can pre-set the feeder to allow for extra lounge time in the morning.
Automatic feeders can also provide a bit of stimulation for dogs left home alone. Many automatic feeders record and play back messages to your dogs. This can help soothe their nerves while they’re home alone and can also help break up their day during the long hours you’re gone. Automatic feeders can also help you manage feeding multiple dogs at one time. For example, you can feed your small pooch one-on-one while your ravenous German Shepard eats his own meal in another room.
Important Features to Consider
An automatic dog feeder should be secure, air-tight, and made with quality pet-safe materials. Here’s what to consider when selecting an automatic dog feeder:
- Security. Poorly constructed automatic feeders may allow your pooch to break through and access food before the designated feeding time. To avoid this, look for feeders that are constructed with quality materials – especially if your dog is a heavy chewer. Some automatic dog feeders have reservoirs made with galvanized steel and feature secure locking systems to keep out even the most determined pooches.
- A high-quality feeding dish. The reservoir isn’t the only part of automatic feeders that should be well-constructed. The feeding dish needs to high-quality, non-toxic, and sturdy enough to hold up to heavy chewing.
- Large-kibble capacity. Some feeders are not made to dispense large-size kibble, which can be a problem for some large-breed dogs that eat dog food with big pieces of kibble. If your dog likes large kibble, be sure to look for a feeder that can handle the large pieces.
- Air-tight food reservoirs. Look for an automatic feeder that keeps a tight seal and doesn’t allow air to enter the reservoir. This will keep your food fresh for longer and will keep it from going stale. This is especially important for large-capacity feeders.
- Long-lasting battery life. If your feeder operates by batteries, be sure that it has a long-lasting battery life. Some ultra-fancy feeders have a lot of cool features, but eat up battery life quickly. This can be a problem when you’re relying on the feeder to open on time. Instead, look for models that minimize battery expenditure.
- Easy to clean. Look for feeders that are easy to clean, since you’ll have to clean them often. Many models are easy to disassemble and fit right into the dishwasher for ultimate convenience.
- Pre-recorded messages for your pet. Some pets, especially older dogs who like to sleep a lot, need to be called in for breakfast or dinner. If this sounds like your pooch, you might want to opt for an automatic dog feeder that features a pre-recorded message for your pet. You can record a message that will play when it’s time for your pooch to eat.
- Dry and wet food compatible. If your pooch only eats wet food, you’ll need to be on the lookout for an automatic feeder that is compatible with wet food. Some models even include an ice pack to keep wet food fresh longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an automatic dog feeder and how does it work?
An automatic dog-feeder is just like what it sounds like. It’s a pet food dispenser that gives your dog food automatically either by electronic programming or by gravity. There are several different types of automatic feeders, including gravity fed systems, mechanized feeders, clamshell dispensers, and circular dispensers.
How do gravity dog feeders work?
Gravity-fed dog feeders are the simplest type of dog feeders on the market. They have a vertical reservoir that holds the dog food, connected to a small dish that fills with food. As your dog eats the food in the dish, gravity brings down additional food from the reservoir. This type of feeder is great for dogs who like to eat whenever they please, but not ideal for dogs that tend to overeat and keep eating until their food is all gone.
How do you set an automatic dog feeder?
Setting your automatic dog feeder will depend on your individual model. In general, you will have a “clock” option that you will first need to set to the current time. Then, you will need to input each desired feeding time, one at a time. Some models will allow you to adjust the amount of food dispensed at each feeding, while others do not. Be sure to refer to the instructions of your particular model.
How many times a day should you feed your dog?
Most experts recommending feeding your pooch twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Puppies under five months of age should be fed more often, about three or four times a day. In order to set a feeding schedule that’s appropriate for your dog’s unique needs, be sure to check with your veterinarian.