Modern realities are such that we are constantly busy with something, we spend a lot of time at work or on the road. Often it is physically impossible for a host to feed a four-legged pet in time. For such cases, automatic feeders were invented – devices for serving food in the absence of the owner.
Such feeders are of several types, some can be configured to issue feed at a specified time, in others you can set the serving size.
There are those that can provide a dog with food for several days without human intervention. It is very convenient if the owner has to leave for a long time, and there are no acquaintances or friends who can feed the animal. A dog feeder for dogs can be useful in cases where there is an urgent need to give your pet food or medicine strictly by the hour.
The automatic feeder, despite all its advantages, cannot completely replace the owner’s dog, and its use is designed for certain conditions:
- Use only industrial feed (not suitable for feeding "naturalkoy").
- Not all models are suitable for canned food, and it is impossible to leave a supply for a few days, they will simply deteriorate.
- The auto-feeder does not imply an “auto-toilet”, which means it will not solve all your problems in the long run.
- For large dogs of captive content, only the option with a large capacity for food is suitable, which increases the cost.
- Definitely not applicable such a feeder for dogs suffering from bulimia or kinorexia (which is often found among large breeds).
- If your pet has a tendency to overeating, then only those models that give out food are dosed, and these are technically complex and expensive models.
- It will take some time to accustom the dog to eat from such a trough, not to break it, trying to get the contents or, on the contrary, not to starve while waiting for the owner.
It is a structure that consists of a feed container, dispenser, control panel and a bowl. Such a model will be the most functional and convenient for the owner, but it will also be one of the most expensive. In such a feeder, you can program the portion volume, feed time, you can calculate the food supply and the feeding schedule for several days.
Setup does not take much time, all the necessary information is in the instructions. Capacity with food can hold from one to several kilograms, is selected based on the size of the dog. Involves the use of dry feed. Some models are equipped with a convenient display and an audible signal to alert the dog that it is time to eat. Suitable for use as an outdoor car feeder for captive dogs (provided that it is possible to protect the electrical components).
As a rule, such constructions are rather bulky and expensive.
With segments and integrated timer
Outwardly, such a trough resembles a large bowl with a lid, it is quite compact in size. The inner compartment is divided into several segments, each of which is a capacity for one portion of food. In this model, you can use both dry food and canned food. In the lid there is a cutout equal to one segment, after each time set by the owner, a period of time, the lid rotates, opening the next feed cell for the dog.
Segments usually from 4 to 6, in some models can be more. In such a feeder, wet food stays fresh longer, but this option is suitable only if you leave the house for no more than a day.
The capacity of the compartments is small, suitable for dogs of small and medium breeds, for use in an apartment. Not the most economical option, but less expensive than programmable models.
With hinged lid
It is a tank with feed, which has a lid, equipped with a built-in timer. When the timer is triggered, the lid simply leans back, giving the dog the entire contents of the container at once. Suitable for dry and wet food.
A great option for large breeds, which sectional feeder is not suitable because of the small volume of cells. In this trough, the container is quite roomy (about 0.5 kg), it keeps the food fresh, not leeward, but it is designed for one feeding. If you need to provide a dog with several portions, you can purchase 2-3 of these feeders and set each for a specific time.
Bowl with container
Roughly speaking, the system of continuous feeding. The design is a tank with food, located above the bowl, when the animal eats some part of it, a new portion is filled from the tank until the stock is empty. The size of the tank may be small, designed for a small dog, or a cat. And maybe containing up to several kilograms of food, which is suitable for large dogs, including aviary content.
This option is the easiest and most budget, it is not equipped with any automatic systems, which is safe for use on the street. This feeder is for dry food only. If your pet can not stop on time, there is a risk of overeating, in this case you should not use this model. As a result, you can get problems with the digestive system and obesity.
Additional functions of auto feeders
Manufacturers equip their products with many different useful functions. For example, in many models there is an electronic display on which all the parameters entered into the program are displayed. Another useful feature is the beep that accompanies each feeding. Such a system quickly teaches the dog to use the feeder, produces a conditioned reflex that associates sound with feeding.
In more advanced designs, instead of the standard sound signal, it is possible to record the voice of the owner.
This is a very useful feature for dogs that previously received food only from the owner, at his call. It is very difficult for such dogs to get used to the automatic feeding machine, and a familiar voice can save the situation. In some models of feeders there is another convenient function – a special tank for ice, this allows you to keep canned food fresh for the longest possible time.
The choice of feeders for different breeds
Choosing an automatic feeder for your dog, first of all you should consider its size. Hardly the same model will be able to feed, say, a mastiff and a chihuahua.
For dogs of small breeds
The most convenient for small dogs (as well as for cats) is considered to be sectional feeder with a timer. She can also become a puppy feeder. You can choose the version with 4 larger compartments or, on the contrary, with 6 smaller compartments based on the size of your pet. This model is very similar to the usual bowl, does not cause the dog the need for addiction and does not take much space in the apartment.
Suitable for feeding on canned food and can provide your pet with portion feeding during the day. The feeder with a hinged lid is also quite suitable for small and medium-sized breeds, but provides for a one-time feeding with a portion of up to 500g. The “bowl with container” model is only suitable when your pet is not prone to overeating (it’s definitely not eating the whole stock at one time).
For large dogs
For large breeds and portions of food will be large, and therefore, leaving for one or several days, you will need to leave your pet an impressive stock. For such breeds suitable feeders with a large container volume, from 2 to 10 kg. Troughs in the form of a bowl with a tank usually have smaller containers and are designed for a small time period.
And if you need to leave the dog for a few days, then a programmable feeder with a dispenser and a more capacious tank will help. In such models, tanks are made durable and well protected from falls and bumps, which can cause large quadrupeds. In addition, in these automatic feeders, the power cord is protected from possible damage. Automatic systems for large breeds can be used in street enclosures.
Can I do it myself
Of course, if you make enough ingenuity and effort, you can save money by making a self-feeder with your own hands. For example, a “bowl with container” design requires you only to connect any bowl with a container from which the feed will pour.
An ordinary plastic bottle, food canister, etc. will be suitable for the role of such a container. A notch is made in the bottom of the bottle through which the feed will be refilled. And the neckline joins the bowl.
The whole structure can be mounted on a wall or some kind of support so that the dog does not turn it over and does not pull it away. Now your pet will have the necessary supply of food, while you are not at home. But, as we remember, such a system is not suitable for all dogs due to the risk of overeating, and only dry food can be used in it.
We do an automatic feeder with the timer
If your pet needs a more complicated system, and you would like to save the family budget, you can try to make a sectional feeder with a timer from scrap materials. It is quite possible to make it yourself, and it takes not so much time as it may seem.
- The mechanism of the clock (suitable for any wall or table clock, battery operated);
- A round container of the desired size (for example, a tin box of cookies or candy);
- A thin sheet of plastic, or plywood;
- Hot glue (can be replaced by any other);
- Material for internal sections (for example, polymer clay).
The first step is to manufacture the hull of our feeder. Polymer clay need to mold sections for food, and in the center to make a recess where the clock mechanism will be located.
Then you need to make a cover. To do this, we cut a circle out of a sheet of plywood or plastic, equal in area to our already finished hull. Now we cut a hole in the lid that repeats the shape and size of the feed section.
Next, install inside the case mechanism from the clock, so that it is fixed. Glue the trough cover to the clockwise direction (we do not need the other hands, we simply remove them).
As the arrow moves, the cover will rotate with it, gradually opening section by section. To make it work, the cover material must be light and slide well over the surface of the feeder body.
By adding a little imagination or knowledge about the design, you can somehow customize the self-made automatic feeder for your dog.