Dog Food Dispenser Buying Guide: 9 Essential Things to Consider

by | May 3, 2022 | Pet Health & Care | 0 comments

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Does your pet wake you up at the crack of dawn eager to eat breakfast? Do you work late or travel a lot? Does your pet eat too fast? Are they overweight or obese? Would it be nice if you do not have to worry about whether your pet has been fed when you’re away? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, consider buying an automatic cat & dog food dispenser to simplify the feeding task.

What is a Dog Food Dispenser?

A dog food dispenser is a feeding device designed to help pet parents ensure their fur babies are fed at the right time every day. You program the device and pre-load it with food, then it will automatically dispense your pet’s meals on the set schedule. An automatic cat or dog feeder will release an exact portion of food into the bowl whether you’re at home or at work.

Smart pet feeders connect to Wi-Fi, allowing you to control the unit remotely through an app on your phone. Gravity pet feeders automatically refill your pet’s bowl as it runs out. And if your pet eats too quickly or is overweight, choosing a slow pet feeder is a great option. Bloating and overweight issues can lead to dangerous outcomes in cats and dogs.

While an automatic pet feeder is not a substitute for human interaction, owning one will give you peace of mind when you’re away from home most of the day.

What to Look For in a Dog Food Dispenser

Feeder Capacity

The size of your feeder determines how much food it can hold at a time, which determines how many meals you can feed in a day and how often you have to refill it. The larger the unit, the more meals you can schedule.

If you plan to be away for long periods or just want to set the meals for several days, you’ll want a cat or dog food dispenser that can hold larger quantities of food. How large your feeder should be will depend on how many pets you need to feed and how much they eat per meal and per day.

Number of Meals Per Day

Once you’ve settled on the food storage capacity, you’ll need to determine how many meals you’ll want the automatic dog food dispenser to dispense throughout the day.  Do you feed your pet in the morning and the evening? Do they eat small meals all day long? Do you have a set schedule? You get the point. Cat and dog food dispensers can serve between 2 meals and 12 meals a day. Gravity feeders provide access to food all day long.

Assess your pet’s feeding schedule and pay close attention to the number of meals per day a feeder allows you to program.


Automatic cat & dog food dispensers range from basic models that use digital timers to high-tech models equipped with smart features. A digital timer allows you to program customized mealtimes ahead of time. Pet feeders with digital timers have buttons and an LCD screen for easy programming.

Smart pet feeders connect to Wi-Fi so you can feed your furry friend at your convenience within an app on your phone. These feeders are also equipped with touch screen controls and a voice recorder for added customization and convenience. It’s important to decide how much technology you want before your purchase.

Wet Food vs. Dry Food

Some feeders will handle both dry and semi-moist food while others will exclusively work with dry food.  So you’ll want to check the product you’re considering buying to make sure it is compatible with the food your pet eats.

While you’re at it, check if the pet food dispenser is guaranteed to work with the size and shape of your pet’s food. Some feeders will jam and struggle to dispense oddly-shaped dry food pieces or certain size kibble.

Portion Control

Some automatic cat & dog food dispensers allow you to control the amount of food served at each meal. You can program the feeder to dispense as little as one teaspoon at a time and you can program this portion as many times as you want. The portion control feature is a great factor to consider if your pet is overweight or tends to eat too fast.

Quality of Material and Ease of Maintenance

Stick to cat and dog food dispensers made from durable, non-toxic materials. You can’t go wrong with high-quality, BPA-free plastic and a stainless steel bowl. Many pet feeders have a lot of nooks and crannies that can be hard to clean. For hassle-free cleaning, select an automatic cat & dog food dispenser with a dishwasher-safe food bowl and other removable components. Make sure the other parts can easily be washed down.

Pet Proof Design

If you got a curious and creative pet at home, they’ll most likely try to figure out how to get extra food in between meals. Some pets can move the unit around and shake it to release a few kibbles. When shopping for an automatic pet feeder, look for one designed to keep prying paws from sneaking food ahead of scheduled mealtimes.

Power Source

This is an important factor to consider when buying an automatic dog food dispenser, especially if you plan to be away for a few days. Some food dispensers come equipped with dual power sources: an AC adapter and a battery backup. These work in conjunction and ensure the feeder will keep dispensing as scheduled in case of a power outage. Some feeders only use batteries. The best automatic cat & dog food dispensers have dual power sources, but the ultimate choice will depend on your needs and lifestyle.

Check out our automatic dog food dispenser here.

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