The Best Automatic Dog Feeder Australia - A Review
Our #1 Pick
The Best Value for Money
SKYMEE 12L WiFi Automatic Dog Feeder
Automatic dog feeders are such a great adaptation to the traditional dog bowl. They enable busy working people to have more freedom in our days without worrying that our dogs will starve. It’s a set and forget system that is simple to use and helps maintain your dog’s diet whether you are available or not.
Having an automatic dog feeder has helped me to feel more at ease leaving my dogs in the house when I go to my workspace every day. It’s certainly an investment, but one worth having!
Consider this article your ultimate guide to timed dog feeders. We’ll talk about how they work, how they will make your life easier, what size you’ll need, and we’ll give you our reviews of the best options available in Australia.
Auto Dog Feeders vs Food Bowls
So you may be thinking, why would you spend all that extra money for a food dispenser when you can spend peanuts on a dog bowl?
And, to be clear, I agree with you to a point! Auto dog feeders are definitely more of an investment. However, they are worth the extra money because dog bowls and auto feeders do two completely different things.
Say you want to take your kids on a day trip to a museum in a neighbouring town. You can’t take your dog with you, but you expect you’ll be away from home for quite a few hours if not all day. Your dogs may need 1-3 meals per day depending on their age and breed. (1)
“Most adult dogs should eat two meals a day, and puppies often require three or more feedings, so you’ll need to divide the amount in the table by the number of meals you are offering.” - Dr Jennifer Coates, PetMD (2)
Realistically, are you going to leave them with one meal for the day until you get back? Or worse, stop your activities and drive home to fit their mealtimes and then drive back to the museum?
Imagine a little robot helper that periodically feeds your pup so you don’t have to worry about them. That’s the beauty of the auto feeder. It is great for those who work away from home all day or just for small day trips when you’ll know that you’ll miss their typical schedule.
Even if you work from home or are retired, they are still incredibly convenient and easy to use.
How Do Timed Dog Feeders Work?
There are two main mechanisms that you’ll see in the timed dog feeder world. Digital and mechanical.
Mechanical Dog Feeders
Mechanical feeders usually work off of a dial timer. No tech involved but still relatively trustworthy. It’s like winding up an old-time clock to set off an alarm.
The pro is that these are much cheaper than most of the fancy, high tech options.
The con is that there is very little flexibility with mechanical feeders. Let’s say you are on your way home from work early and don’t need the self-feeder to dispense food after all. You will have to remember to switch it off when you get home, or the food will be released when set.
This is very different to digital feeders…
Digital dog feeders
Digital dog feeders usually have an app that allows you to set the timing of your automatic feeder at any time of the day, whether you are near or far from the feeder itself. This is super handy if you need to make a change for any reason.
The con here, of course, is the expense. Digital products are much more expensive, but on the whole, they are far more convenient.
How Large Do You Need Your Dog Food Dispenser To Be?
The first thing to think about when you are shopping for an automatic food dispenser for your dog is the capacity of food. Depending on the age and breed of your dog, they need different portion sizes.
Your veterinarian can help you to determine how much food your dog needs and how many meals per day, but generally they consider:
- Your dog’s age
- Your dog’s breed
- If your dog is underweight or overweight
- If your dog has any health issues
- How active your dog is
Therefore, you need a food dispenser that can hold a decent amount of food for your dog.
If you intend to use your food dispenser during the daytimes, throughout the day while you are at work, then it needs to hold a larger amount of food than if you are just using it for a one-off occasion.
Technically the capacity only needs to be enough for one day’s feed, but do you really want to be filling up the tank every day? The point of this is to be as convenient and mindless as possible. The larger the capacity the better.
You also need to take into account your dog’s ideal portion size when calculating the ideal capacity, you need. (3)
This is the part that is the most challenging to solve. We all know that the pet world is quite tailored for the little ones, making it much easier to find products for small dogs.
In the case of auto feeders, most of them are marketed for both cats and dogs. Therefore, the feeding tray or bowl that the machine comes with is usually pretty dinky. Not suitable for dogs with large or flat faces.
Automatic Dog Feeder Reviews
So that’s a lot of information! Ready to shop for an automatic feeder for dogs? Below, you’ll find our top options available in this category on the Australian market (and beyond!).
The SKYMEE Automatic Dog Feeder is freakishly smart. It is the perfect all-rounder in this category and the excellent reviews attest to its quality.
This is a digital feeder that comes in two sizes - 8litre capacity and 12 litre capacity.
The container has a window to show how much food you have left. It is an airtight container that keeps dry food fresh for up to one month.
To set the timings, simply use the app to set and forget the schedule for your dog’s feedings at any time.
There is a dual power supply to make sure that the feeder stays alive for as long as you need it to. It uses both a USB and battery supply for double security. (Please note the batteries are not included)
The second cool feature of this is the camera and microphone system. This is mostly to be able to see your dog at home whilst you are away. The two-way microphone enables you to hear your dog and speak to your dog via the app.
The most interesting function is the motion sensing. Motion sensing is meant to help dogs with anxiety. If your dog is pacing, the feeder will send you an app notification to your phone letting you know that your dog may be a bit stressed out. You can then connect your microphone through your phone and soothe your dog with your voice. You may never use this feature but it’s neat to have in any case.
I only have two cons to note. One is that it is a little expensive, but given the level of tech involved, it makes complete sense. The second con is the size. This is best for small to medium dogs, but not at all suited for large dogs.
Overall, the SKYMEE is quite wonderful. It may be a little pricey but it does everything you need it to!
Our runner up is Australia’s own Oz Pets Automatic Dog Feeder. This one is a smart digital feeder too with not as many bells and whistles as the SKYMEE. It’s still great.
You program it using a smartphone app and the same notification alerts apply. We love that the Oz Pets notifies your app when food is running low. It helps you stay on top of the food supply the dispenser holds.
Speaking of capacity, this is why we put the Oz Pets as the runner up. It only holds 6 litres, which is still a large amount, but not quite as large as our top choice. You can program this one to supply up to 15meals, with accurately controlled portion sizes.
The feeder also has a dual power supply with a power adapter and batteries. (Please note the batteries are not included)
There isn’t a live camera feed or microphone function, but you can record your voice to play certain sounds when food is ready. This can be helpful for your dog to know what to do when the strange white box in the corner randomly starts pouring kibble, seemingly from nowhere. That recorded voice message can set your dog’s mind at ease.
The Oz Pets model comes at a great price point. Best of all it has a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty for peace of mind.
It’s annoying that the feeding tray is small again and that capacity is a little light, but if you have a young or small dog, this is a fantastic option that you don’t want to miss!
If you want a simpler machine that provides two meals, this is the choice for you. PetSafe has a great range of dog products. This one is no different!
This automatic dog feeder is a mechanical one. No apps. No microphones. No cameras. Just a simple analog dials up alarm that you twist to set the time you want.
It is a very simple contraption, but sometimes that’s all you need! Who wants more app alerts?
The PetSafe product is made of non-toxic, BPA-free plastic that is dishwasher safe. That is more than you can say about the digital options!
The two removable trays hold up to 1.5 cups of food each. The food can be dry or semi-moist so you have more flexibility here.
It’s worth noting that the PetSafe won’t keep food fresh longer than 48hours. The timer settings only go as far as 48hours too.
This product is best for small to medium dogs. If the size is right and the price is right, this may be the choice for you!
I feel bad that so far, the options have only been suitable for small dogs. What about an
automatic dog feeder for large breeds?
The Wikidea is the closest we could find that would work for large dogs, though it is not without its pitfall.
This is a digital food dispenser but without an app! You program it using the LCD screen on the machine itself. Using the screen, you can set the feeder to nourish your dog up to 3 times a day with up to three cups of food.
The feeding tray is one of the largest we’ve seen. A decent size for large faces - at last!
You can also set a prerecorded message to play when the food is released. Always helpful as your dog gets accustomed to the world of auto feeders.
Because of the LCD screen, this is a very easy machine to use. It’s as easy as the PetSafe but with more flexibility in the scheduling. It’s the perfect product in between the complexity of the super smart feeders and the simple dial timer feeder.
The capacity isn’t great, with just 5.5litres, but this will last a couple of days to a week at least.
To clean, simply take the feeder apart and wipe with soapy water and a cloth. Unfortunately, it is not dishwasher safe.
The SKYMEE and Oz Pets models are pretty good looking, but the Dogness takes the cake. This pastel-coloured automatic feeder is truly a beauty. But with beauty comes compromise.
The Dogness comes in three colours: green, pink and white - all with silver trim, all beautiful in every way.
This strange space-age 1950’s style feeder is controlled via an app like most of the digital feeders on the market. You can use the app to set feeding schedules and portion sizes fro anywhere you are.
A unique feature of the Dogness, other than the design, is the “Anti-Sticking Technology”. Essentially, the interior mechanisms adapt to the size and shape of the food inside to keep it loose and moving.
As for the sizing, the bowl size is not too! It should be okay for small dogs and puppies. Flat faced dogs may struggle however as the bowl is quite deep.
The major con os this beauty is the capacity. It only holds 2 litres of dry food, making it the smallest option on this list. I suppose beauty assumes petiteness.
If you want a truly good-looking auto feeder with smart app features, this is the perfect option for you.
The Final Verdict: Best Dog Food Dispenser
For the perfect dog self feeder that has almost dog-sitter capabilities, the SKYMEE is a marvel. The camera, microphone and reliable app make it a step above the rest. It may be a little pricey, but the smart features, huge capacity and intuitive features make it worth the money.
If you have a large dog or want a slightly simpler feeder, the Wikidea product will do the trick. It’s not quite as “smart” but the bowl size is great for large dogs. It’s simple to use and easy to maintain. A top choice all around.
Looking for more dog bowl choices? Check out our below guides:
As Erika Mansourian from American Kennel Club says “There’s a saying in canine feeding: Watch the dog, not the dish. Body condition, not the amount eaten or left in the bowl, should determine portion sizes. Portion sizes depend on individual metabolism and body type, and nutritional requirements vary from dog to dog.” (4)
Generally, puppies need to be fed three to four times per day. After 6-12months, a puppy is old enough to be fed two times per day. Portion sizes depend on the type of dog food you purchase and the size of your dog. Wet food, dry food or raw food. It all depends.
It is best to refer to your veterinarian for a guideline.
Australia has a largely unregulated pet food industry which is a big problem. The main issue are the sulphites that can lead to thymine poisoning. (5) With this in mind, it is important to shop for the right dog food for your pup. We have written a whole guide on shopping for the right dog food here.
You can only use dry food when it comes to automatic food dispensers. This is because wet food can’t be kept fresh in an airlocked container for long the same way that kibble can/
That said, kibble/dry food is quite good for your dog’s teeth and provides the same amount of nutritional content for your pup as wet food. (6)
Regular food bowls need to be cleansed daily to prevent bacteria build up. (7)
Food dispensers are a bit more forgiving, since they are meant to be “set and forget” machines.
The main container should keep food fresh for a few weeks to one month.
You should clean the feeding tray as often as possible.
Not really. In theory they could work, but most automatic feeders will portion out a large amount of dry food. Giving your dog too many treats is a fast track to obesity. (8) However, there are automatic treat dispensers that work wonders for dogs left at home whilst you are at work. It may help dogs who suffer from separation anxiety to cope better. (9)
- Llera, R & Downing, R. “Feeding Times and Frequency for Your Dog”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/feeding-times-and-frequency-for-your-dog
- Coates, J. May 5, 2020. “Are You Feeding Your Dog the Right Amount?”. PetMD Editorial. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/july/are-you-feeding-your-dog-right-amount-32905
- “Dog and Cat Daily Caloric Needs”. Pet Obesity Prevention. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs
- Mansourian, E. July 15, 2019. “Puppy Feeding Fundamentals”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-feeding-fundamentals/
- “How is the pet food industry regulated in Australia?”. RSPCA Australia. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-is-the-pet-food-industry-regulated-in-australia/
- Parker, N. July 30, 2020. “What Is the Best Dog Food?”. PetMD Editorial. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_dry_versus_wet_food
- Wooten, S. April 12, 2017. “How Often Should I Wash My Pet's Food Bowls?”. Vet Street. Retrieved March 15, 2021. http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-often-should-i-wash-my-pets-food-bowls
- Williams, K. “Obesity in Dogs”. VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/obesity-in-dogs
- Horwitz, D & Landsberg, G. “Separation Anxiety in Dogs”. VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved March 15, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/separation-anxiety-in-dogs