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Is now the right time to buy an automatic pet feeder?

Did you get a pandemic puppy? Maybe you rescued a COVID cat for company? If you’re working out the best way to manage your pet’s day-to-day needs as your work situation changes, it might be time to consider an automatic pet feeder. You can also find plenty of other cool pet tech out there to help keep you in tune with your pet.

What is an automatic pet feeder?

Cat mate feeder with cat.

An automatic pet feeder allows you to automatically dispense dry kibble or even wet food to your dog or cat according to a set schedule. Many automatic feeders allow you to customize the amount and dial in the precise times of the day so your pet can maintain a schedule.

How does an automatic pet feeder work?

Most automatic pet feeders have a large food storage bin that houses several days’ worth of dry food. At the appropriate time, the feeder will measure out the food, and then drop it into a feeding tray at the base of the unit. Others may open separate compartments at a precise time. Many automatic cat feeders have security features that mean pets can’t break into them or get extra food from the tank.

Types of pet feeders

Depending on your interest in or proficiency with smart home tech, you can find automatic pet feeders that are simple and more analog, as well as ones that add a host of smart and connected features, including app control and live camera monitoring, plus two-way voice communication.

There are different types of automatic pet feeders that can accommodate either wet or dry food. Some options will merely spill an allotted scoop of kibble into a tray from a large vat, while other automatic feeders have lids that pop open over a couple of bowls or compartments. These options are great for dispensing canned or raw food.

Dog eating kibble from WOPET feeder.

Why get an automatic pet feeder?

Many of us enjoy the time spent with our pets and don’t mind feeding them, as this creates a bonding experience. However, if you are adapting to a new work schedule, work shift, or have a busy home, sometimes remembering to feed your furry friend might be overlooked. Additionally, pets are creatures of routine, so using an automatic pet feeder will help keep your dog or cat on a schedule. Also, some pets may suffer from an upset stomach if they don’t get food at the right times.

How to choose an automatic pet feeder

Aside from your budget, there are a few choices you’ll want to make when choosing an automatic pet feeder. First, determine how secure you need the feeder to be. Some pets are extremely clever and resourceful and will do whatever they can to break into, overturn, or otherwise MacGyver their way into a tub of kibble. If that’s your pet, look for thick-walled feeders to keep the scent from becoming alluring, and focus on ones marketed as “secure.” Some models are also flatter and lower to the ground, making them harder to overturn

The next question will be how much you want to be part of the remote feeding experience. Some feeding devices or treat dispensers have built-in HD cameras and microphones and speakers, so you can talk to your pet at feeding time — it’s almost like you’re there.

Another consideration is how many meals you may need your feeder to dispense. Does it just need to cover an evening’s supper while you are out? Or are you heading out for the weekend and want to make sure the kitty gets fed? Each feeder will have a differing amount of meals it’s able to dish out, so ensure the feeder covers future eventualities in addition to daily needs.

You can easily make sure your beloved pet is well-fed and cared for even if you can’t be there every minute of the day. An automatic feeder is like having a short-term pet sitter on call right at home.

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