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Automatic Dog Feeder Buyers Guide
Gone are the days of buying a 5 dollar plastic bowl. In choosing the best automatic dog feeder, you need to consider a few things to make sure you get the right one for your dog.
When choosing the right unit for your dog you want to make sure that the materials are non toxic and pet safe. What will happen if your puppy decides it is a glorified chew toy? You also want to make sure that it is shatter proof in case Fifi gets so excited while eating that she knocks over the unit.
Some units are even made with anti-bacterial plastic. This is something you might want to look into so your dog stays healthy for many years to come.
What type of power supply does the unit have? Will you have to plug it into the wall and is that safe for your dog? If it is battery operated, how long will the batteries last and how hard is it to replace the batteries? Does it come with a battery backup if the electricity goes out.
The last thing you want is for your dog to go hungry because the unit runs out of battery charge or the power goes out.
Our Top Automatic Dog Feeder Picks
Construction And Durability
How tough is the unit? You know as well as I do that when your canine hero figures out that there is food inside the machine, they will work to get the food out before it is time.
How well is the storage container sealed? Will it resist those insistent paws and teeth?
Timer Controls And Settings
As much as we like our technology, sometimes we want things simple. How much time do you want to invest in programming just so your dog can get a meal? Is the app easy to use? Is programming the timer and the portions easy to understand and set up?
Is your dog a little on the heavy side? Do they need a doggy diet? Make sure your unit comes with portion control so that you can keep them on a strict diet and help them be a healthy hound for many years to come.
How easy is it to clean the storage container and the doggy dish? Are they dishwasher safe? Is the whole unit dishwasher safe? Make sure you check out what it takes to clean your dog feeder so that it will last for a long time and not cause your dog to get sick.
Audio And Video Capabilities
Do you want to keep tabs on what your dog is doing? Some units come with a camera so you can keep watch.
Other units come with a voice recorder so you can call them to eat. There are some indications that when a dog hears their masters voice it helps them with separation anxiety. When they are anxious they lose their appetite. So you might want to consider an automatic dog feeder that will record your voice.
Best Types of Dog Food To Use In Automatic Dog Feeders
Many people have asked what is the best type of dog food to use when they are going to switch to using an automatic dog feeder rather than doing it everyday by hand.
This is a good question! Even the best automatic dog feeders do not work well with all types of dog foods. So I thought I would write a brief article explaining which foods work best with these handy little tools.
There are 4 types of dog food on the market today. Depending on your budget and your sensibilities, you probably already use one or more of these types. They are…
- Dry Dog Food – (Kibbles)
- Semi-Moist Dog Food
- Canned Dog Food – (Wet)
- Frozen Or Freeze Dried Dog Food – (Gourmet)
All for of these types of dog food “MAY” and I emphasize may, be used in an automatic dog food dispenser.
Not all automatic dog feeders can handle wet or gourmet food. The feeders that measure amount and hold the food in a storage container cannot handle these types. It is only the dog feeders that allow you to place portions in separate bowls that open on a schedule can be used for these types of food and even then it is not best practices because the food can spoil and the dispenser needs cleaned after every use.
2 Types Of Dog Food To Use
I am only going to talk about the 2 types of dog food that is best used in a dog feeder and those are dry food and semi-moist food.
Semi-Moist Dog Food
Usually semi-moist dog food is used for dog treats rather than for a steady diet. This is because of the artificial colors and flavors used in the mix along with the preservatives.
Semi-moist dog food usually comes in the form of soft pellets. It is packaged in individual portion sizes. It really isn’t designed to be stored in bulk. However it will work with most automatic dog feeders because it is still able to be dispensed in portions and will not stick to the dispensing mechanism.
Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food or kibbles, is by far the most popular and the best type of dog food to use in an automatic dog feeder. We all remember the “kibbles and bits” commercial from the 80’s right? It was a mixture of both semi-moist dog food and kibbles or dry dog food.
Dry dog food has a very low moisture content. It can come in the form of kibble, but also includes flakes and biscuits or mixers.
Dry kibble is the most popular dog food diet because it is the cheapest option on the market
One of the biggest benefits of dry dog food is its ability to be stored in bulk. Not only in the large bags that it comes in, but in your automatic dog feeder storage as well.
Dry dog food also will clean your dog’s teeth helping you keep “doggy breath” to a minimum. It also does not spoil nearly as quickly.
However when feeding your dog dry food, there are a lot of brands that place a lot of filler in their food. Make sure you buy a quality brand of dog food for your pooch. Stay away from brands that have a lot of corn meal or corn in them. Make sure that the primary ingredient is meat even if it is dried meat.
Try to stay away from dry dog food that has a lot of artificial colors and preservatives in it. Go as natural as possible.
Speak to your veterinarian, do your research and consider your budget. Spending a little extra on a the best dog food you can afford will aid in your dog’s overall health and happiness. Not only that but you will be saving money in the long run on vet bills, supplements and the cost of keeping your dog well groomed.
Understanding the different types of dog foods that work best in an automatic dog feeder and making the best choice for your dog will make Rover much happier and healthier for a long time to come.
Helping Your Dog Be Healthier Using An Automatic Dog Feeder
We all love our dogs. There is a reason they are called man’s best friend. But many times what we think is best for our dog is not really the best.
Many people have asked me what is the amount of dog food to feed a dog and how many times per day should they be fed.
Although this may seem basic, there are actually some things you should keep in mind when setting up a feeding schedule with your automatic dog feeder.
Using an automatic dog feeder is not only convenient for you, but when used in the right way can have health benefits for your pooch. Many automatic dog feeders have timers that you can set to distribute the food at designated times and they have portion control so you can make sure your pet is getting the optimum amount of food they need for their size.
Some people use the “ad-lib” method of feeding dogs. They just let the dog eat whenever they like. This can lead to weight gain and house training problems. It can also lead to spoiled food, insects,
I highly recommend that you put your dog on a scheduled feeding regimen.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
The amount of times you should feed your dog depends on age of your dog. Here is a helpful chart that you can use to determine how often you should should feed your pet as they get older.
|0 – 8 Weeks||The puppy should still be feeding off of its mother’s milk. Do not ween your puppy early. This may cause health issues later when your puppy is fighting off disease.|
|6 – 8 Weeks||You need to feed your puppy 3 – 4 times per day. These young friends have different nutritional needs than older dogs so make sure you are feeding them dog food that is designed specifically for puppies.|
|8 Weeks To 3 Months||Continue feeding your puppy specialized food but reduce the schedule to twice per day.|
|3 – 6 Months||Your puppy will start teething at this time. He may become finicky about eating and have an upset stomach. Continue with the twice daily feeding schedule. If an upset stomach lasts for more than 2 days, take him to a vet for a check up.|
|6 Months To 1 Year||Your puppy may look like an adult dog but he still has the nutritional needs of a puppy. Continue to feed him on a twice daily feeding schedule and continue to use dog food designed for puppies.|
|Over 1 Year||At this time you can gradually change the dog food from puppy food to adult dog food. Make this change gradually by mixing the adult dog food in with the puppy food at a 20% ratio per day until you have switched completely over to adult dog food.|
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
The amount you should feed your dog is based on their weight. As you would guess, bigger dogs need more food than smaller dogs. Here is another chart to help you figure out how much to feed your dog.
|Typical Breed Of Dog||Adult Weight||Amount Of Dry/Semi-Moist Food||Dry Mixed With Canned Food|
|Yorkies and Toy Poodles||Up to 10 lbs.||.25 to .75 cup||Same Total Amount|
|Scottish Terriers and Shelties||10 – 25 lbs.||.75 – 1 cup||Same Total Amount|
|Cocker Spaniels and Beagles||25 – 50 lbs.||1 – 2 cups||Same Total Amount|
|Collies and Labs||50 – 75 lbs.||2 – 2.5 cups||Same Total Amount|
|Great Danes and St. Bernards||Over 75 lbs.||2 – 4 cups||Same Total Amount|
Make sure you check with your manufacturer of your automatic dog feeder before using canned food. Some automatic dog food dispensers do not work well with food that is too moist.
Best Practices For Feeding Dogs
- Dogs do best with a regular feeding schedule. It also helps them and you in house training them.
- Dog’s digestive systems do not take change well. Keep them on the same food if at all possible. Refrain from feeding them human food. This will prevent upset stomachs and diarrhea.
- Keep your dogs feeding dish or the dispenser to your automatic dog feeder clean.
- Don’t overfeed your dog and keep an eye on their weight. Adjust your portions accordingly.
- Don’t mix water with the dry food if you are using an automatic dog feeder. They are not waterproof and it may short circuit the electronics.
If you follow these guidelines, you will have a happy and healthy dog and your automatic dog feeder will not only be a convenience for you, but will be a tool to help you give your dog the proper care they need.