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7 best automatic dog feeders for 2023, approved by vets

Updated November 15, 2023

The best automatic dog feeders simplify meal times for busy pet owners and families with unpredictable schedules.

The essentials

  • Automatic feeders are a great tool for many pet parents — Whether it’s guaranteeing your pup gets fed at the same time each day or helping manage their weight, automatic feeders can come in handy.
  • There are some great high-tech options — Some automatic dog feeders boast smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity, cameras, or mobile apps that let you manage your pet’s feeding schedule in the palm of your hand.
  • Dog owners have options for every need — Looking for the latest and greatest in pet feeding technology? Or just need a simple automatic feeder? There’s an option out there for every pet parent.

One of the most popular pet products these days is an automatic dog food dispenser. With many pet parents returning to the office, these feeders help households keep their pup’s feeding time consistent regardless of whether they’re at home or out of the house.

We here at betterpet have researched to determine the best automatic pet feeders out there so you don’t have to! We scoured pet parent reviews and looked at ease of use for both pups and people, including how easy it is to get food and how easy the feeders are to clean. We also researched how hardy the feeders were, specifically noting how they stood up to clever pets that may try to topple them for an extra treat. Let’s get started.

Why trust betterpet?

The writers, editors, and staff of betterpet are pet parents, and we know the value of accurate, trustworthy information. Because of this, the content we create is reviewed and approved by our vets. We’re experts in pet ownership and care, so when we say an automatic feeder is best, it comes from firsthand experience.

Best automatic dog feeders, reviewed

Best overall: PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder

pros cons
✓ Easy to program in our tests ✗ Not designed for soft or canned food
✓ Flat, low design makes it more difficult to knock over ✗ Batteries not included
✗ Limited to 5 meals at a time

Features of the PetSafe 5-Meal Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder

  • Size: 5.4″ x 1.2″ x 4″
  • Color/pattern: The exterior is beige, the interior is white
  • Material: Plastic

At about $50, not only is the PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder one of the least expensive models we looked at, but it’s one of the simplest, most accurate, and pet-proof for those dogs and cats that learn to tip over or break into other feeders. It has a clamshell lid that reveals a tray with five spaces, each able to hold up to one cup of food.

Overfilling the spaces risks jamming the feeder, so veterinarian Dr. Erica Irish recommends daily maintenance, especially if you opt for semi-moist food. If mildew and mold accumulate, it can make your pet sick.

Best tech alternative: Surefeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder

pros cons
✓ Setup instructions are easy to follow ✗ Setup can be time-consuming
✓ Modern design ✗ Batteries not included
✓ Perfect for someone with multiple pets

Features of the Surefeed Microchip Small Dog & Cat Feeder

  • Size: 13.75″ x 10.25″ x 11″
  • Color/pattern: White and gray (bowls are removable)
  • Material: Plastic

This SureFeed microchip pet feeder is a top-notch option for multi-pet households. Each pet can access its food without competition from other pets. If your dog tends to graze, saving some food for later, this feeder ensures the food stays fresh with its automatic open-and-close capability.

It’s not a good fit for large breeds — larger dogs can have trouble getting their head to the food because of their size.

Best for fast eaters: PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed

pros cons
✓ Schedule up to 12 meals ✗ Hard to clean
✓ Dispenses 1/8 cup to 4 cups per meal ✗ Doesn’t come with a power cord (batteries not included)

Features of the PetSafe Programmable Dog and Cat Feeder

  • Size: 8″ x 2.25″ X 12.5″
  • Color/pattern: Dark gray
  • Materials: Stainless steel, metal

The Healthy Pet Simply Feed programmable dog and cat feeder has an advantage over its sister feeder, the PetSafe Eatwell, since it holds up to 24 cups of dry food, meaning you can set it and forget it for longer. It also has a slow-feed option for fast eaters, which can help prevent stomach issues like bloat.

Pet owners can dispense meals larger than ⅛ cup over 15-minute increments. Scheduling smaller meals throughout the day helps manage pet obesity — you also might be able to replace or supplement your puzzle feeder, especially if your dog has already sniffed out the solution.

Best for training: WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser for Dogs

pros cons
✓ Talk to your dog while you’re away ✗ Only works with dry food
✓ Dispenses up to 4.5 cups ✗ Programming can be tricky — you’ll need to translate grams to cups
✓ Dishwasher safe and easy to clean

Features of the WOPET Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser

  • Size: 9.8″ x 15.3″ x 13.7″
  • Color/pattern: White
  • Material: Plastic

One of our favorite things about this WOPET feeder is its simple design. Even though it holds nearly 30 cups of food, it’s capable of dispensing as little as 2 teaspoons (or as much as 4.5 cups) at a time.

Customers like the ability to leave a custom voice recording they can set to play at specific times, though many say that the sound is faint. This version runs off wall power with a battery backup (you’ll need to supply the D batteries), but a newer version comes with a Wi-Fi connection.

Best Wi-Fi option: DOGNESS Automatic Feeder with HD Camera

pros cons
✓ Camera capable of night vision ✗ Camera isn’t motion activated
✓ Pairs with a free app ✗ Wi-Fi needs to be stable
✓ Compatible with wet food ✗ Made for small breeds

Features of the DOGNESS Automatic Feeder with HD Camera

  • Size: 16.5″ x 16″ x 8″
  • Color/pattern: White
  • Material: Plastic

Smart feeders like this DOGNESS model give you more control over your pet’s feeding when you’re away from home. However, Dr. Irish warns that the peace of mind may only be as good as your connectivity (or power outages, stating that, “as long as the feeder can still automatically feed when the Wi-Fi is down,  a good feeder!”

The feeder will still dispense food even if it’s offline thanks to a battery backup, but the built-in camera won’t work without Wi-Fi. Pet parents who use the camera and microphone to see and talk to their pets while away love this model.

Best for multi-pet households: Petmate Replendish Gravity Feeder

pros cons
✓ Great for dogs that can self-regulate ✗ Not a good fit for obese pups and cats that need measured amounts of kibble or wet food
✓ Helpful for multiple-pet households

Features of the Petmate Replendish Gravity Feeder

  • Size: 6.9″ x 11.4″ x 11.8″
  • Colors/patterns: Blue, gray and green
  • Material: Plastic

Gravity feeders aren’t a good fit for every pet. They technically aren’t automatic feeders because they can’t be programmed. Instead, gravity sends food into the bowl until it fills. Dog owners who “free feed” their dogs might find it convenient, but dogs generally aren’t good at self-regulating their diets. Free feeding might be right for kittens, but it’s not the best option for adult cats.

We included the Petmate Replendish because it’s an affordable way to keep pets fed in a pinch. It’s easy to clean and comes in various sizes, up to 18 pounds. “Make sure not to store too much food in there because food open to the air for a while can become spoiled,” Dr. Irish advises.

Best design: HoneyGuaridan Automatic Pet Feeder Splitter

pros cons
✓ Feed two pets at once ✗ No slow-feed options
✓ Stainless steel bowls ✗ Backup batteries not included
✓ Low-food alerts

Features of the HoneyGuaridan Automatic Pet Feeder Splitter

  • Size: 8.3″ x 10.4″ x 13.6″
  • Color/pattern: Stainless steel

While most automatic pet feeders advertise the ability to feed more than one pet, this is one of the few that allows you to do so simultaneously. That won’t be useful if your pets eat different foods or amounts or if you have one cat and one dog.

Dr. Irish discourages feeding a dog and cat simultaneously — one might eat the other’s food, or they could fight over it. Like other feeders on this list, the HoneyGuaridan allows you to record a voice memo for your pets.

What to look for in the best automatic dog feeders

Automatic dog feeders can bring needed organization to mealtime even when you are not at home to feed your pet. They are not, however, a replacement for human interaction and oversight.

We here at betterpet developed a set of criteria to use in our research when looking for the best feeders. Those factors included:

  • Features. What matters most is that your dog eats their meal out of the feeder at the right time in the right amount. Is the feeder simply for storage or can it be programmed? Is it best for one pet or multiple pets? We’ve looked at how well the auto-feeders performed with those features in mind.
  • Durability. For automatic dog feeders, we also paid attention to how well it stood up to clever pets able to break into a feeder or determined pets that could knock it over. After all, you don’t purchase a feeder with the expectation that you’ll have to replace it quickly!
  • Cleanliness. We also considered how easy it was to clean the automatic feeder. Is it a simple matter of wiping it down and putting it in the dishwasher, or will cleaning the auto-feeder mean you’ll have to take it apart completely?
  • Vet-recommended portions. Your veterinarian can provide an ideal body weight to use as an approximate target. From there, they can recommend daily portions based on your pet and the type of food you’re using. Dogs and cats need scheduled meals and portion control.
  • Type of feeder. The type of automatic dog feeder — i.e. gravity feeder, smart feeder, or programmable feeder — will depend on your dog’s feeding schedule and diet. The best automatic dog feeder for you will be the one you can program most easily and match up with the amount and type of food recommended by your vet and food label instructions.

Is getting an automatic dog feeder worth it? 

Whether you and your dog need an automatic feeder depends on several factors. Pet parents don’t have to worry about making sure they’re home at the right time every day so that their furry friend gets fed. Automatic dog feeders are also a great option for dogs on a strict diet. For pups on a weight management program, feeders portion food exactly to your pet’s needs.

Of course, dog owners shouldn’t rely on an automatic feeder to always work perfectly. They’re no replacement for one-on-one time with your best friend. More practically, automatic feeders can also malfunction. Never leave your dog for long periods and assume their feeders will take care of them.

Frequently asked questions

Are automatic feeders good to use when traveling?

Absolutely. These feeders allow pet owners to leave for the day and program when they want their pets to eat meals.

What is the best auto feeder to buy?

This really depends on your preference and needs, but you want to look for an auto feeder that can serve up pre-measured cups of food.

How often do auto feeders need to be cleaned?

The auto-feeders need to be cleaned at least once a week and sometimes every other day to ensure food isn’t getting jammed and stuck in the container.

Is there an automatic dog feeder with an app?

Yes! The PetSafe Smart Feed dog feeder has a smartphone app feature that allows you to monitor your pup’s mealtimes 24/7. You can even adjust feeding schedules and portions right from your phone.

What types of food can be used with an automatic feeder?

Dry food and semi-wet dog food can be used with automatic dog feeders. At this time, there’s no automatic feeder on the market for wet dog food.

What if my dog doesn’t adjust to the automatic feeder?

The best way to get your pup used to their new automatic feeder is with small steps. Slowly transition to using the feeder over time and allow your pup to get familiar with it.