Which smart pet feeder is best?
Most pets are creatures of habit, which means consistency is key. This extends not only to things like walking schedules and training, but also mealtimes. Of course, for people, life doesn’t always allow for that. Whether you periodically get asked to stay late at work, go to the gym certain days of the week or are involved in any other activity, there are many things that can interfere with getting home to feed your pets at the exact same time every day. Thankfully, technology has given us the answer in smart pet feeders.
Smart pet feeders allow you to schedule mealtimes so your furry family member can eat at the same time every day. Not only will they appreciate this, but it can also help them keep their weight under control. They’re less likely to overeat if they get fed multiple smaller meals a day rather than one or two large ones.
Some models, such as the Arf Pets Smart Automatic Pet Feeder with Wi-Fi, are also equipped with a camera and live audio communication.
What to know before you buy a smart pet feeder
Before purchasing any smart pet feeder, check to make sure it’s compatible with the type of food you give to your pet. Many models are only intended for use with dry kibble. There are also restrictions on the size of the kibble they can accept.
Most smart pet feeders are designed to be easy to set up, even for those who describe themselves as technologically challenged. While every model has its own unique steps, they generally involve downloading an app to your mobile device and connecting the feeder to your home’s Wi-Fi network. After that, you go through the various options, selecting the portion size and feeding schedule, and then fill the storage container with your dog or cat food.
What to look for in a quality smart pet feeder
Smart pet feeders allow you to choose from several meal settings to customize the feeding to your pet’s needs. Depending on the model, you may be able to choose from anywhere from three to 15 meals per day. You can also adjust the portion size.
While it doesn’t make much difference in day-to-day operation, the storage capacity dictates how often you’ll need to refill the feeder. Models with larger storage capacities can go longer before needing to be refilled. However, you’ll also need to take your space constraints into consideration.
The last thing you want is to forget to refill the storage container and end up leaving your pet without food for the day. To reduce the chances of this happening, some models feature a low-food indicator. This may be a notification sent via the associated app or simply a small indicator light on the feeder itself.
Some smart pet feeders are equipped with a camera that lets you check in on your pet whenever you feel the need. It’s best to choose a model with a wide field of view so there’s a better chance your pet will be in the frame when you check in.
Voice communication can mean different things depending on the model. On some models, this simply means you can record a certain amount of messages that it plays at set times throughout the day, generally before or during meals. More advanced models support real-time voice communication so you can speak to them anytime you want.
Most smart pet feeders connect to wall power, either via a standard two- or three-prong plug or a USB charger. Ideally, any model you pick should also have a battery backup so your pet still gets fed, even if there’s a power outage.
How much you can expect to spend on a smart pet feeder
Smart pet feeders start at around $50. The most advanced models can cost up to $200.
Smart pet feeder FAQ
Can smart pet feeders be used for cats and dogs?
A. Smart pet feeders can technically be used for any kind of animal as long as the portion sizes and the size of the bowl are large enough for your pet.
Can I use a smart pet feeder if I have multiple pets?
A. You can use a smart pet feeder with multiple pets. However, unless you have a separate one for each pet and they’re trained not to eat out of the other’s bowls, there’s nothing to stop one pet from eating both pet’s meals.
What’s the best smart pet feeder to buy?
Top smart pet feeder
What you need to know: The Arf Pets smart feeder is an advanced option that offers live video and audio communication with your pet.
What you’ll love: You can prerecord messages that automatically get played back at mealtimes, so your pet never feels lonely. The bowl and food storage container are removable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
What you should consider: Rambunctious pets can knock it over.
Top smart pet feeder for the money
What you need to know: This affordable smart pet feeder allows anyone to feed their furry family member up to six times throughout the day.
What you’ll love: The food storage container is clear, so you can always tell at a glance how much is left. It supports up to 10 prerecorded messages, which lets your pet hear your voice several times throughout the day.
What you should consider: The maximum kibble size is just 10 millimeters.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The PetSafe Smart Feeder allows you to feed two animals at once — each in their own bowl — thanks to the inclusion of a split spout and small divider wall.
What you’ll love: You can connect it to Amazon Echo devices for voice control of manual feedings. It provides notifications on your phone when the food is running low.
What you should consider: The bowls aren’t attached to the feeder, which means unruly pets can knock them out of the way, resulting in food dispensing all over the floor.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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