The Pros and Cons of Automatic Pet Feeders and Waterers

Veterinarians will tell you horror stories about automatic pet feeders. If your automatic pet feeder malfunctions, it could leave your pet starving. But these products are not all bad.

When used responsibly, pet feeders are convenient and safe. If you have a long workday ahead, providing snacks for your furry friend can give you peace of mind. Just don’t leave your pet alone with a feeder for more than a day without supervision.

Do you want to buy an automatic pet feeder? Keep reading to learn about some of the common types and their pros and cons. Knowledge is power when it comes to making the right choice for your dog or cat.

Types of Automatic Pet Feeders

There are various types of automatic pet feeders to choose from.

An electric feeder can be programmed to open and close on a schedule to give your pet access to food. Some models are pet-operated, so the lid automatically opens when your dog or cat approaches.

A gravity pet feeder has a large, upside-down container with an attached bowl. The food is replenished after your pet eats, so the bowl stays full. It’s not a good idea to use a gravity feeder for an overweight animal.

There are automatic pet feeders available that keep track of how much food is released. You can check in to see if your pet is overeating or needs to eat more.

Each feeder has different programming options. Some can be adjusted for different shapes and sizes of kibble.

The ability to add voice recordings is a perk that many pet parents enjoy. You can tell your pet how much you love them even when you’re not home. High-end feeders often pair with an app to provide you with full control from anywhere you have internet access.

The Pros of Automatic Pet Feeders

There are many good reasons to buy an automatic pet feeder. They are convenient for pet owners who work long hours or travel for business.

If your dog or cat has a medical condition that requires multiple small meals throughout the day, an automatic feeder is essential. It’s also an easy way to offer your pet treats while you’re away.

Being able to control the amount of food your pet has access to can prevent obesity. Overweight animals are prone to an array of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems.

Pet food can stay fresh for weeks in a sealed feeder. You don’t have to worry about attracting ants, cockroaches, or mice. As a pet parent, an infestation is the last thing you want to come home to after a long day.

Automatic pet feeders are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use. If your pet stays outside during the day, make sure she has plenty of water. Keep the feeder in a covered area so it doesn’t get wet if a storm comes.

The Cons of Automatic Pet Feeders

Although an automatic pet feeder can be a useful addition to your home, there are a few cons to be aware of.

As with any electrical appliance, it is possible for a feeder to malfunction. It could fail to release food, and your pet will go hungry.

Some models will dispense food even when the bowl is full. The food overflows and creates a mess on your floor that could attract pests.

If you have multiple pets, there’s no way to control the amount each dog or cat consumes. One animal might eat the entire serving, which isn’t fair to your other fur child.

Keep in mind that automatic feeders are designed for dry food. If your pet eats a wet diet, you will have to invest in a specialized model or find an alternative feeding solution.

Automatic pet feeders can be loud and frightening for sensitive animals. If your pet startles easily, look for a quiet feeder that won’t beep all day.

Finally, automatic feeders can be knocked over by large pets. If your dog or cat is playful or determined to access extra food, you could run into problems.

How to Use an Automatic Pet Feeder Safely

It’s important to consider your pet’s specific needs before you buy an automatic pet feeder. Does your dog have separation anxiety, or is he an independent creature? Does your cat have a habit of overeating?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Luckily, there are plenty of great feeding products on the market.

To ensure your pet’s safety, never use an automatic feeder as a substitute for human supervision. Pets should not be left alone for more than a day.

If you plan to be away overnight, or for multiple days, hire a pet sitter. A boarding facility can also be a good option.

The person watching your pet will let you know if there is a problem with the feeder. They can also tell you if your pet seems sick, and provide enrichment so your dog or cat doesn’t get bored.

Pets need attention and stimulation. Leaving a few toys along with your feeder is a smart idea. Without enrichment, animals can show signs of depression.

Setting up a camera might also help you relax while you’re away from your pet. Take a peek every few hours to make sure your furball is fine.

Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy With the Right Feeder

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of using an automatic pet feeder, you can explore the options with confidence. As a pet parent, you should be proud of the care and thought you put into making decisions for your dog or cat.

If you’re not sure which automatic feeder will work for your pet, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. She will be familiar with the various brands and models and can help you make a smart choice.

Did you find this article about automatic pet feeders helpful? If you answered yes, please check out some of the other great pet content on our website!