Technology has made it easier for pet owners to care for and interact with their furry friends more intimately. One of the inventions in the pet industry that pet parents are more than grateful for is the automatic dog feeders. The best automatic dog feeder for large dogs dispenses dog’s food automatically using gravity or electronic pre-programming solutions. It usually comprises of a plastic/glass air-tight hopper that acts as storage for the food and a bowl where the dog feeds from.
Who Needs the Best Automatic Dog Feeder?
Any dog parent with a busy schedule needs an automatic dog feeder. More often, your tight schedules may likely collide with the feeding program of your pooch. With an automatic feeder, your dog will conveniently have food, including wet dog foods, and water available even if you’re away.
But does it mean your dog will feed nonstop? No, the automatic feeder can be timed to dispense only a specific portion of food at specific intervals. This means the food will be fresh all the time and your dog will stay healthy and well-fed. So, how then do you decide which is the best automatic feeder for your large dog?
Top 10 Best Automatic Dog Feeders for large dogs
With so many product options available on the market, it is difficult to decide which product to settle for. Fortunately for you, we have put together this review to assist you in making the right decision. We have given some recommendations based on considerations such as quality, reliability, and efficiency. Although the features of the product are very important, you must consider your dog’s age, breed, weight, size, and level of activity. All these factors will determine your dog’s eating habits and needs.
As a dog parent, you still have to pay attention to your pooch’s diet. This technology is only intended to assist you when you are not available and not to replace you. Your dog would still appreciate a little bit of hands-on whenever possible. So, here is our roundup of the best automatic dog feeders for large breeds:
|Brand||Product Name||Editor's Pick||Price||Rating|
|PetSafe Simply Feed Automatic Feeder||Best For Smart Feeding||$$||4.2|
|WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser||Best For Large Breeds||$$||4.6|
|Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder (Galvanized Steel)||Best Gravity Feeder||$$||4.5|
|PortionPro Rx Automatic Pet Feeder||Best For Multiple Pets||$$$||4.1|
|AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Feeder And Waterer||Best Budget||$||4.5|
#1: Best for Smart Feeding: PetSafe Simply Feed Automatic Feeder
Topping our recommendation list is the Petsafe automatic feeder with unbeatable features. It comes with a 1028*790p HD camera whose lens angle is 130 degrees which allows you to watch your dog from wherever you are. How amazing is that? And it doesn’t stop there. You can connect it to your Wi-Fi and schedule feeding portions and time from a free application accessible on your smartphone. To make things even better, the feeder comes with 2-way audio for you to speak to your dog and hear its voice during a live chat. That’s right, and you can also use the 2-way audio to record your voice for use as an alarm call during mealtimes.
The application allows manual feeding, stores all the feeding statistics, and gives pop-up notifications on feeding times. Back to our product, it features a digital automatic timer that allows programming of up to twelve meals a day. To cater to the eating needs of different sizes of dogs, this feeder has a large reservoir that can store 1.5 gallons of food. The hobbler is also pet-proof and well-locked to prevent pets from accessing the reserved food. Unlike other feeders on the market, this feeding system has an anti-jam belt to dispense different sizes of moist and dry kibble.
Featuring three modes, the Pet Safe Feeder is the most reliable feeding assistant to dog parents. There is a slow mode to dispense meals over a period of 15 minutes to stop dogs from gobbling too fast, the immediate mode that dispenses the nest meal instantly, and pause mode to stop the feeding program temporarily. And since hygiene is vital for your dog’s health, the manufacturer opted for a stainless steel feeding bowl that can be cleaned using a dishwasher.
Something important to note is that during the initial set up, you must put food on the bowl too otherwise it will take up to 6 scheduled feedings to dispense food. Moreover, the feeder uses electricity but has a battery backup that boasts an average battery life of one year. Therefore, the feeder can keep working on the pre-scheduled program for up to 10 days without electric power or Wi-Fi.
#2: Best for Large Breeds: WOpet 7L Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser
Are you fond of larger breeds of dogs? The WOpet 7L Automatic feeder is the perfect choice for you. Its storage compartment is large enough to hold up to 20 cups of kibble and also dispense large particles. You can schedule a maximum of 4 feedings per day each with portion sizes ranging from 2 teaspoons to 4.5 cups. Cleaning the reservoir and food tray is very easy since the parts are removable and dishwasher safe. An LED screen is available at the top of the feeder for easy and guided programming.
For personalized mealtime alarms, this feeder allows you to record messages for your dog. And since jamming is always a concern with most automatic feeders, this feeder has an infrared detection sensor that prevents jamming or overfilling of food. Remember to load the correct size of kibble (diameter of 0.2-0.6 inches) to prevent clogging. Moreover, the feeder has a power adapter and batteries for backup.
#3: Best Gravity Feeder: Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder (Galvanized Steel)
If you want a gravity feeder that is reliable, effective, and sturdy, go for the Little Giant Chow Hound Dog Feeder. Are you afraid that your pooch will spill out the food? This feeder cannot be knocked down even by the most determined and mischievous pets. You can use it outdoors and indoors since it has a 24-gauge galvanized steel body, making it durable and rust-resistant. Pets cannot access the food in the hopper, and the food won’t go stale quickly because the hopper has a magnetic door to keep food fresh and dry.
The magnetic door has an angled chute to allow easy flow of food once a dog pushes it. Dogs only need to push the door open with their snouts and food start dropping into a chew-proof container. This steel automatic feeder can hold 25 pounds of food. An extra-large model is also available with a capacity of 50 pounds.
#4: Best for multiple Pets: PortionPro Rx Automatic Pet Feeder
For people with multiple pets, the PortionPro Rx Automatic Pet Feeder is designed to offer the best accessed control feeding. This means that every pet eats the food intended for them, therefore, preventing food stealing, food guarding, and aggressive behaviors during meals. Each pet whose diet is programmed in the feeder has a special Radio-frequency identification (RFID) which is detected by the patented active DFID system from within 2 feet and the door over the bowl either closes or opens.
Therefore, the door only opens for pets that are supposed to be eating, which controls pesky food bullies. This intelligent and innovative feeder offers several easily programmable options for multiple pets. You can schedule 2 to 6 meals in a day, consisting of ½ to 6 cups of food each. With a reservoir capacity of 30 cups, this feeder is fit for any dog size. To maintain good hygiene, the food bowl is made from ceramic coated steel. The system also includes a sensor that detects when there is food in the bowl to prevent overflowing.
If you have several dogs, you should note that you must get extra RFID tags so that each of them has one. You do not have to worry about the dogs breaking into the reservoir since it is sturdy and locks itself firmly. Although it can be difficult to set up the feeder, there is an LCD screen to guide you. Your programs are safe even when the power goes out so you don’t need to reset them. However, with all these amazing features, you can be sure that the PortionPro Rx feeder is quite pricey.
#5: Best for Budget: AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Feeder and Waterer
The AmazonBasics Self-Dispensing Gravity Feeder and Waterer is an amazing 2in1 feeder. At only a budget-friendly cost, the product comes with both a feeder and a waterer without sacrificing quality for the price. You will definitely love the simple design used in both items making it easy to clean them.
The gravity-supported feature is to allow constant access to food whenever your dog wants to. You don’t need to schedule or program anything. You only have to fill the storage bottles with kibble or water then screw into the base to allow continuous supply throughout the day. The reservoir has a capacity of 12 pounds of dry food and it can dispense food in any shape and size. It is made from PET plastic that is transparent to allow you to see when refilling is needed.
There are side handles on the feeder to make it easy to lift or grab it whenever you want to. Hand washing the device with soap and water is safe. Afterward, you have to allow them to fully air-dry before refilling them to prevent mold or mildew from growing. However, this feeder is only fit for dogs who can control their eating habits. Some dogs might become obese if they eat constantly.
#6: Best for Safety: WESTLINK 6L Automatic Feeder
The WESTLINK 6L Automatic Feeder is the best option if you don’t want to control your dog’s meals from a smartphone. Your dog still gets to hear your voice since the product has a built-in speaker and a recorder that enables you to record yourself for up to 10 seconds. With this feeder model, you can program 4 meals a day. One meal dispenses 1-39 portions and each portion weighs about 10-12 grams.
The feeder also has an infrared sensor that stops more food from being dispensed if some are left in the bowl to prevent the system from overflowing, jamming, or overfeeding. To operate the WESTLINK 6L automatic feeder, you have to press two buttons at a go, and this prevents pets from changing the settings. Operating power is sourced from D batteries or electricity using a USB cable. Your electricity bills will not shoot up because it uses little power to operate.
If you are worried about your dog getting into the hopper, this device has a recessed spring latch on the hopper to prevent pets from opening it. The reservoir has a capacity of 6 liters and is air-tight to preserve your dog’s food. Unfortunately, food fed into the reservoir cannot exceed 0.39 inches otherwise it will be clogged. This makes it unsuitable for dogs that eat large pieces of kibble. On the positive side, this feeder is budget-friendly and its square shape makes it fit to be placed in corners.
#7: Best for Wet Dog Foods: Cat Mate C20 2 Bowl Pet Feeder with Ice Pack
For dogs who like wet food, we highly recommend the Cat Mate C20 2 Bowl feeder. Wet food needs to stay cold so that it does not go bad, which could make your dog ill. To serve this exact purpose, the feeder comes with an ice pack at the bottom part. This keeps the food fresh throughout the day while you are away. The feeding bowls can be washed in a dishwasher. Each bowl can hold a maximum of 1 pound or 450 grams of kibble. However, this feeder is not suitable for aggressive pets since the flaps have been said to open when forced.
#8: Best Microchip Feeder: SureFeed – Microchip Pet Feeder
SureFeed-Microchip Pet Feeder is another great choice for multiple pets. It is designed for a household with multiple pets and one pet needs to be fed on a special diet, prescription foods, or hypoallergenic dog foods. The feeder uses RFID technology which detects a microchip or RFID tag on a pet then opens or dispenses food accordingly to prevent food stealing.
Note that with this technology, it means that only microchipped pets and those with an RFID collar tag can access the food. The feeder flap only opens when the correct dog comes to eat then closes when it leaves. It comes with a simple design and is easy to operate.
#9: Best for Tech: PetNet Smart Automatic Pet Feeder
PetNet’s Smart automatic feeder is a 21st-century feeder that is controlled using a smartphone. Offering unmatched customization and level of control, you can program and track everything using an application on your smartphone, whether Android or iPhone. It has a capacity of 5 to 7 pounds of kibble and dispenses 1/16 to 1 1/2 cups of food (dry kibble).
Features offered by the PetNet Smart Feeder include portion control, allowing you to set the amount of food your dog is to take depending on its weight, activity level, and age. Secondly, it allows for feed-time scheduling whereby you can set the exact time you wish your dog to feed. There is also a feeding verification feature that informs you if the dog has eaten. Lastly, it comes with a food delivery service feature that allows you to order dog food and have it brought to your home. You can access all these features on your smartphone from anywhere.
The application also allows you to track the process and verifies when the dog has eaten, making this feeder among the most user-friendly models in the market. Older versions of this feeder were reported to be of poor quality and having poor feeder mechanism. However, new units have upgraded to be safe and fully functional.
The system uses batteries that act as a backup during power outages, and you can recharge the batteries when they run out of energy. The hopper’s lid is secure, making it hard for your dog to open.
#10: Best for Simplicity: Bergan Gourmet
Bergan Gourmet is a plastic automatic dog feeder that also comes as a combo with a 6lb feeder and a 1.5-gallon waterer. It comes in two parts; the base and the tower, which are detachable for easy cleaning and refilling. The opening on the hopper is wide to allow for easy cleaning. To enable the slow release of water and dog food, the hopper is flipped on the bowl. You can easily notice when food or water is running out from the tower since it is transparent.
How to Choose the Best Automatic Dog Feeder for large breeds
In this section, we shall discuss what to consider when looking for the best automatic dog feeder. In general, automatic feeders allow you to decide the number of times food will be dispensed for your dog and in what specific portions. In general, the main factors to consider evolve around the dispensing mechanism, portion control system, and food capacity. The following are some of the factors that you need to pay attention to when choosing the best automatic dog feeder:
Which is the best capacity for a dog feeder? Well, that depends on the size of your dog, how much he eats, how many pets you wish to feed, and when you want to be refilling the reservoir. A very huge reservoir can hold a lot of food, which might go stale if it stays for too long. A reservoir with a very small capacity means you have to refill it more often, otherwise, the food might run out. We advise you to choose a feeder whose hopper can hold enough food for your dog throughout the day or the period you will be unavailable.
If you have a large dog breed like Rottweilers, Great Danes, or German Shepherds, you sure need to feed them a lot of food. This means the bowl has to big enough and comfortable. The dispensing capacity should also be large enough. If not, here is a smart hack for you; just schedule two meals at almost the same time, i.e. at 1 pm and 1:15 pm.
Type of Food Supported
Checking the type of food supported by the reservoir is very important unless you want to purchase a product you will not use. Most dog feeders are exclusively designed for dry kibble only. If your pup feeds on wet dog food, you have to choose a feeder that is wet-food compatible. Some models even have an ice pack to make the wet food stay fresh for long. You must also ensure that the device can handle the size of the dry kibble you feed to your dog. Machines made for small-size kibble cannot dispense large kibbles fed to large breeds of dogs. Check the dimensions of the supported kibble in the feeder’s technical specification to ensure you get the right one.
Other than automated food dispensing, an automatic feeder should also allow you to ration your dog’s food. The best automatic dog feeders support different levels of ration. Normally, you can program up to 4 takes of a maximum of 10 levels of food. However, the more versatile the product, the more expensive it is. Portion control protects your dog from obesity without underfeeding him.
Some models even have a setting for slow feeding-whereby the predetermined amount of food is dispensed slowly over time rather than all at once. Slow feeding ensures greedy dogs don’t rush their food. It is also great for dogs prone to bloating and those with digestive sensitivities.
Pet-proof and Pet-friendly
Always check the materials and design used to make the automatic feeder. As a dog owner, you can attest that dogs are mischievous and intelligent. Get a feeder that they cannot knock down and break into, spilling the food and overfeeding. The control system should be designed in a way that the dogs cannot interfere with it. As much as we are concerned about the feeder being pet-proof, it should also be pet-friendly and non-toxic. We recommend products made from BPA-free plastic material. If you want a feeder for outdoor use, ensure the material used protects the food from rain and pests.
Ease of Cleaning
For easy cleaning, the device should be detachable and the pieces dishwasher safe or can be hand-washed with soap and water. This applies to the feeding bowls and reservoirs since they need to be kept clean. The reservoir should also be airtight to keep pests away. Since dogs like chewing, the bowls should be chew-proof.
Battery Life and USB Power Port
Most automatic feeders use batteries to source their operating power. They consume very little power, so it’s not surprising to find products with a battery life of up to one year. Dual power supply automatic feeders are the best option. These usually have a USB port and cable to connect them to an external power source such as electricity. In this case, the battery is used as a backup during power outages. Watch out for ultra-fancy feeders with many cool features that consume a lot of power, reducing battery life and increasing electricity bills.
Some automatic feeders are programmed from an LCD screen while others are high-tech enough to allow you to program using an application on your phone. No matter the option you choose, you should be able to operate it easily and fast. A feeder with internal memory is ideal so that the scheduled program is not lost when power is turned off. Apart from ease of programming, select a feeder that is set just once and you do not have to worry every day. Avoid feeders that are set every day since you can refill the reservoir but forget to set it up, resulting in starvation. If you own one dog, it is advisable to get a simple device and not one with a complex scheduler.
Number of Dogs Supported
Most of the feeders on the market support just one pet. Therefore, you have to pay attention not to get a feeder designed for a single pet if you intend to feed multiple pets simultaneously. In the case of multiple dogs, remember different dogs have different needs, you might not set a common food ration. Ensure each dog accesses only what is intended for them. We advise you to opt for feeders that support RFID tags.
Food Dispensing Sensors
Dogs have changing appetites just like us. You need to get a feeder that has sensors that detect when there are leftovers on the bowl. That way, the next portion will not be full to prevent spillage, overfeeding, or food wastage.
Voice Recording Option
Dogs are not always standing by for food. They might fall asleep or be busy somewhere during mealtimes. Feeders that allow you to not only set a call alarm for them but also use your voice are perfect. Most automatic feeders have this feature, allowing up to 10-seconds message recording. With personalized alarm calls from recorded audio, your dog can hear your voice even when you are away and run to the feeder.
Advantages of an Automatic Dog Feeder
Dog food is controlled according to the eating needs of your dog, his weight, age, size, and breed. Some of the advantages of automatic dog feeders include:
- Helps control conditions like diabetes, weight issues, and obesity in dogs
- Ensures dogs have food while you are away
- Introduces your dog to a constant routine
- Some allow slow feeding to keep dogs busy throughout the day
- Keeps dog food fresh
- No waking up early or late in the night to feed your dog
- Some models allow multiple-dog feeding, which makes it easy for people with multiple pets
Best Automatic Dog Feeder FAQ
Are automatic dog feeders good?
Yes. Since automatic dog feeders operate on timers, they help feed your dog when you cannot. Moreover, it is easier to maintain a regular feeding routine for your dog using an automatic feeder.
How much does an automatic dog feeder cost?
Typically, the cost of an automatic feeder ranges from $10 to $180 depending on the make and size. Gravity-based feeders are much cheaper than electricity-powered ones and cost around $11 to $92.
How does an automatic dog feeder work?
Electronic automatic feeders use electric power to dispense food using timers and motorized features. On the other hand, gravity-based automatic feeders use the law of gravity to fill the dog’s bowl. Whenever the door flap is opened, food automatically drops into the bowl and stops once the door is closed.
How much food should I feed my dog?
Different dogs eat different amounts of food. For instance, adult dogs mostly have two meals in a day while puppies require three or more feedings.
How do I calculate portions?
Regarding food portioning, you need to consult your veterinarian. To get the exact amount advised by the vet, you should use a measuring cup or scale so that you do not make any errors. This is very crucial since any errors could have a significant impact on your dog’s health.
Can auto feeders be used with raw food?
It is not advisable to use raw food in auto feeders. If you have to, consider using a feeder with compartments and keep it in a cool place or load just enough food for one day only. If you follow this, raw food will not go bad quickly and make your dog sick.
How do I train my dog to use an automatic feeder?
Dogs are intelligent, therefore, most of them learn the art after being taught once. Some might take longer, especially if they are scared of the device and its operating mechanism. You can use clicker training if you feel the need to until they learn.
Is it possible to use these for water too?
Not necessarily. Most automatic feeders are strictly for dry foods while some come with a separate waterer. Anyway, why ration water? It should be made available freely without limitations. Just fill a large bowl with water and let your dog enjoy freely.
Do I have to buy different ones for my differently-sized dogs?
That totally depends on the feeder’s settings. There are feeders designed for small and medium-sized dogs and others for big dogs. A feeder meant for big dogs can be used by small ones too but big dogs cannot use feeders meant for small dogs due to the capacity and kibble size compatibility. Make sure you read carefully the description on each product just to be sure.
Would this work for my cat?
Yes, most feeders are meant for most pets, including cats. However, you should keep your cat feeder far from your dog feeder to prevent theft of food between the two pets.
My dog is destructive – can’t he break into the feeder?
Although many automatic feeders are sturdy and lockable, a very strong and ambitious dog can destroy them. This is unless they are made of steel. The most reasonable option is to train your dog before buying these handy devices.
How does gravity pet feeder work?
As long as the dog is eating, more food will keep dropping since the door flap is indefinitely open. It uses the force of gravity to dispense food into the bowl, making it difficult to control the quantity being eaten.
When choosing the best automatic dog feeder, not one size fits all. You must consider the age, weight, size, breed, and activity level of your pup. Hopefully, you’ve found an ideal automatic dog feeder that suits your furry friend’s eating needs and habits. With the right product, you can seamlessly provide your dog with the right quantity of food and control his diet from wherever you are.
Dr. Belinda Hawks earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 2006 and has been practicing veterinary medicine since then. Dr. Belinda currently works as a passionate rancher and mixed animal veterinarian in a rural town in South Carolina. When not practicing veterinary medicine or writing, she spends her free time with her lovely husband and three kids (2 boys and a lovely girl) in South Carolina.