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Automatic Food Dispenser - How to Select the Best Automatic Food Dispenser

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How many times have you wished you had an automatic food dispenser to feed your dog when you're away? Sure, you can leave a bowl of water out, but without an automatic food dispenser, leaving large amounts of dog food doesn't work. Most dogs simply gobble it all up. Until dogs learn some discipline at the dinner table, an automatic food dispenser could be your answer to hungry pets left alone.

Features to Consider in an Automatic Food Dispenser

  • Materials
  • Height
  • Depth
  • Automation
  • Size

    An automatic food dispenser will come in two basic forms. One features a large bin, or hopper, which is filled with dry food. The hopper feeds down a chute into a bowl. As the food level in the bowl drops, more food falls down from the hopper.

    A more advanced form of automatic food dispenser features a battery operated timer that operates on a specifically timed scheduled, dispensing a pre-set amount of food into a bowl, or, revolving to reveal a pre-set amount of food in a dish, on a schedule that you program. This kind of automatic food dispenser uses a battery, typically nine-volt, and will be the more expensive of these options.

    If your dog is a ‘free-feeder,' the ‘hopper' type automatic food dispenser may be your best choice. For dogs that'll eat anything you put in front of them, and in any amount, the ‘timed' automatic food dispenser is probably a better option.

    Desirable Features of an Automatic Food Dispenser

  • Easy to clean
  • Adjustable speeds
  • Dishwasher safe (not sure they are dishwasher safe?)
  • Tip or spill proof
  • Attractive/Fashionable
  • Durable
  • Safe
  • Replacement parts
  • Guarantee

    Automatic Food Dispenser... Easy to Clean, Easy to Use

    Most automatic food dispensers are made from high-impact plastic, that's resistant to rough handling and dishwasher safe. Look for automatic food dispensers with removable lids for easy cleaning. And pick a feeder that is large enough to dispense sufficient food to your dog, or dogs.

    Clearly, a ‘hopper' type automatic food dispenser will be the easiest to use, just fill it and go. But if you look carefully when shopping for an automatic food dispenser, you'll find most are simple to use and require only a few minutes of familiarization before filling.

    Don't be Gone Long...

    An automatic food dispenser is not a substitute for your watchful eye and loving presence. Don't use an automatic food dispenser as a babysitter for your pets while you take extended trips. Use common sense and good judgment when using your automatic food dispenser.
    As a further consideration, if you have more than one dog, be advised that the dominant dog may take all the food for himself, no matter how it's dispensed. In that case, consider two automatic food dispensers located in different parts of the home.

    The Ideal Automatic Food Dispenser

    The ideal automatic food dispenser is large enough to feed your pets for as long as you are going to be away. It's lightweight, and easy to move, store, set up, and take down. It's rugged, and resistant to breakage. It features removable parts that allow for easy and thorough cleaning.

    If battery-operated, your automatic food dispenser features selectable feeding intervals that you can program easily. And, whether it's battery-powered, or a hopper-type, it features a locking lid to keep pets from accessing the stored food.

    Users' comments about this Buyer Guide
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    We're very happy with our automatic pet feeder
    by Bates, Monday, November 26, 2007

    Comment: Good article! We were on a search two months ago and were looking at many of the very same things you outlined. After a lot of research (these are our "kids" we're talking about, after all!) we realized there was really only one choice - the Perf...

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