An automatic dog feeder can be a handy tool to have around if you work long hours or travel a lot, leaving your dog in the care of family, friends or pet sitters. You won't have to worry that your dog is getting fed too much or too little, or is getting fed too early or too late. The automatic feeder will take care of it for you. Choosing the right model for you and your dog can seem like a challenge, given the variety available on the market.
Choosing the Right Model
Consider which materials you would like the feeder to be made of. Many are made of plastic, which may be acceptable, but some dogs can be allergic, so you might choose to go with a stainless steel or other metal model instead. Some materials are also sturdier than others.2
Choose an automatic dog feeder with an appearance you find appealing, if this matters to you. You may want the feeder to fit in with the decor of your home, or you may not care at all. There are a wide variety of colors, styles, shapes and materials that give each feeder its own individual look and style.3
Consider the size feeder that your dog will require. Some feeders allow for a week's worth of small portioned meals for someone with a smaller dog who might just be away for a few days. Others allow for constant feeding, so you only have to maintain the feeder when it is empty. Your dog's size, appetite and particular feeding needs will also help you make this decision. For example, a larger dog has a larger appetite and will need more food; therefore a larger feeder is probably the right fit.4
Think about which options you will need the feeder to have, and which you can do without. Some of them are not electronic but simply dispense food as food is eaten. This will work for a dog that only eats when its hungry, but not all dogs do. So you may choose to use an electronic model that dispenses only a certain amount of food at a certain time of day. This will help keep dogs from overeating.5
Figure out what your budget will be for purchasing an automatic dog feeder. The price can vary a lot, depending on what features it has and what it is made out of. When trying to find the right model for your needs, sticking to a firm budget can help keep you from overspending.