You have to go away for a period of time and, unfortunately, you can’t take your beloved dog with you. Sure, you could hire a dog-sitter to look after your pooch while you are away, but you see how much they charge and you think twice. Ah, what about if you could have your dog look after itself? But, hmmm…then there is the food issue. Who is going to give your dog his or her meals while you are away? The last time you checked (aside from that issue when the dog chewed its way into the dog biscuit bag) your dog can’t feed herself. Yet, a dog feeder can provide your hound with his daily meals.
Here are some of the best tips that will help you choose a good dog feeder.
A dog feeder is a convenient way for you to ensure that your pet is taken care of, as far as meal times are concerned. It is recommended that your dog is fed at least twice a day. Once in the morning and again in the evening or night. When choosing a dog feeder, you need to think about the size, stability, strength and the capacity of the feeder.
When deciding which feeder you want to get for your dog, consider the size of your pet, how much it eats each time, whether it’s wet food or dry food that your canine prefers and how easy it is for the dog to eat the food. Additionally, on your side, you want to have a feeder that is easy to operate and clean. Here is what to look for when selecting the dog feeder for you.
Gravity-fed units vs mechanical feeders
When it comes to choosing a feeder for your dog you weep find that there are different totes available. Which one you get depends on if you want a unit that constantly feeds your dog or a feeder that provides your dog with a meal at a preset time.
Gravity-fed units have less moving parts than their more mechanical counterparts, which means fewer maintenance worries for you. They operate by dropping gravity forced food into your dog’s bowl so that there is a constant supply of food for your dog. But then, that is the main issue with this type of feeder. Because it’s free-choice, your pooch can eat and eat and eat non-stop until the food is gone. This can cause health issues such as bloating in your dog.
Mechanical vertical feeders control the food output through dispensing the food at preset times. They have more moveable parts than gravity-fed feeders, so, therefore, require higher maintenance and the possibility that something can break in the unit. Wet food isn’t suitable for these types of feeders as the food can’t be fed through the system. So, if you have particular dietary requirements for your dog (such as a wet food only diet) then this system won’t suit you.
Full circle or clamshell?
With the mechanical food dispensers, you have two design choices: clam-shell type or the circular, rotating style. Which one you go with is all a matter of personal preference.
Clam-shell dispensers operate by having the lid of the unit pop open and providing your dog with her meal. But be aware that if your dog is curious and waiting in anticipation with her head above the lid before the unit opens can mean that the lid can hit the dog as it opens.
The circular style of feeder allows you to program sweet meal times and the food is dropped into the bowl. It means you have better control over your dog’s feeding habits. Some models of circular feeders have a built-in chiller to keep the food cold.
Both the clamshell and circular styles of feeders can work with dry and wet food so makes them perfect if your dog loves variety. However, these feeders also have a lot of movable parts which increases the chance of a fault or breakage, which means throwing the unit away and getting a new one.
Hmmm…what features do I want for my dog feeder?
You have settled on the type of feeder you want and now you are contemplating the features. Here we will show you the different aspects of feeders that you need to consider before handing over your cash.
Like anything, not all dog feeders are created equal. Dogs bite and chew. anything…even automatic dog feeders. You want to make sure that the feeder you get of made of hardy material that your dog won’t be able to munch through to acres the goodies hidden inside. Nor do you want a unit that is easy for the dog to push the lid open and eat the food. Look at getting a unit that has a lockable lid to keep the food secure inside.
Imagine how uncomfortable it would be for you if you had a low table and a tall chair from which you constantly had to lean down far to have your breakfast or dinner. Not fun! It’s the same when it comes to your dog. With the food dispensers, you want to check to see if the bowl can be adjusted to a comfortable level for your pooch to have his meals.
Also, have a look at the dish that comes with the unit. Will it stand up to heavy usage as your dog chews through her food? What is it made from? Go for high-quality stainless steel or, if that isn’t feasible, at least a good hardy plastic that will withstand the feeding demands of your dog.
Imagine your dog standing with its front paws on your dog feeder. Will the feeder be able to remain standing if your dog was pawing it furiously trying to get to the food inside?
You want to have a feeder that is able to withstand your dog’s desperate attempts to knock it over.
How much food is in there?
If you are planning it be away for a few days, you need to think about how much food your feeder will contain. The last thing you want is to find that your dog is hungry when you return home.
Here is how you can work or hoes much food you need your feeder to contain:
Look at how much you currently feed your dog and then multiply that by the amount of time you will be away. The result is how much food you need your dispenser to hold. Also, you don’t want a feeder that drops out inconsistent portions. Another factor is how often per day you want your dog fed. Programmable models of automatic dog feeders will allow you to set how many times each day you want your dog fed as well as the portion levels. Circular type feeders are the most ideal for this.
Time for your kibble! Uh-oh…
If your dog is partial to kibble you have to check to see if the dispenser you want will be able to take your size if kibble. If you have a pooch that is a fan of large kibble, you have to check if the automatic feeder you have an eye on is able to take that size. The last thing we want is for you to get a feeder that can’t handle your kibble size!
Keep the food fresh
It will be a disaster if the food in your feeder goes off. You can get feeders that have airtight reservoirs which means that the food inside is going to stay fresh and delicious for your pet.
The master is calling us!
Some of the higher-priced automatic feeders allow you to record your voice. So, if you feel your dogs are lonely and will miss you or if they are used to be called for their mealtimes, you can record a message that will summon them to the bowl.
How easy is this to use?
We don’t want you to get frustrated when operating or cleaning your feeder. When looking at feeders see how simple it is to fill and maintain. You want a unit that is easy for you to fill, use and maintain.
Also, have a look at how the unit is powered. Batteries are convenient, but the more features your unit has means that the batteries are going to drain faster.
But I have different dogs to feed
If you have more than one dog that you want to feed and the dogs have been microchipped, you can get feeders that will detect which dog is coming to feed by reading the microchip data from your dog. How techie is that! It means no stealing of each other’s dog food which makes for harmonious living. In addition, if one of your dogs is on a set diet, this type of feeder will keep the diet under control.
Have fun shopping
You now know what you need to look for when deciding which dog feeder to get. It all depends on the size of your dog, how many times you want your dog fed and also if you want to provide both wet food and dry food.
Also, it comes down to if you want one that easy to operate or one that is more programmable. Have fun looking at the options and then take home a unit that is going to make you and your dog happy!