They say that you should get three square meals a day. From time to time, we’ve got no choice but to grab a quick McDonalds burger, but we always make sure we eat. Unfortunately, we often forget how important this is for our pets. It’s not that they’re being neglected, it’s just that we spend a lot of time outside of the house.
We always make sure their bowl is full, but when we’re away from home it’s impossible to manage. Plus, many pets have a tendency to overeat. Leaving a heaping bowl is impossible with these pets. Instead, we’ll have to feed them measured portions while we’re around.
Smart pet feeders are the perfect solution for those of us who spend a lot of time outside of the house. These handy little devices will automatically deliver a portioned amount of food at set intervals. This allows you to control your pets diet while making sure that they’re regularly fed.
Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder
This smart pet feeder is one of the few products we’ve reviewed that came from Amazon’s Launchpad. Their concept was simple, but absolutely blew away all the competition. As you’ll quickly see, there are a couple unique features on this pet feeder that put it light-years ahead of any other product on the market.
The Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder is simple in design, but gives you an incredible level of control. It’s essentially a large plastic shell, with a small opening in the front. The motorized tray beneath is time controllable. You can determine what time the foot tray switches over, and how many portions they get at each feeding time. It’s unique feeding system makes it suitable for both wet and dry food, treats, and medication. It’s got a ton of great smart features that we haven’t seen before, making it much more than just a basic feeder. In fact, it’s a system that allows you to interact with your pet even when you aren’t home.
The Feed and Go connects to your home Wi-Fi network over 802.11ac. It doesn’t really need the bandwidth used by this standard, but keeping it up to date means that it’s fully compatible with all routers on the market. Even if you’re using an older 802.11G, B, or even A router, it will still connect. Getting the feeder connected takes less than a minute, making it incredibly easy to set up.
It’s got a built-in webcam, and can also transmit voice data. This means that you can see your pet over your smartphone from anywhere in the world, and speak into the microphone so your pet can hear your voice. All of the interaction and configuration takes place from your smartphone. Their free app is compatible with both iOS and Android, so it will run on virtually any mobile device on the market. Both cellphones and tablets work, and you can have multiple devices connected to the feeder.
Once you open up the app, you’ll be brought to the interaction screen. This is where you can activate the webcam, speak into the microphone, and set a one time feed. All it takes is one simple tap of a button and the food tray will rotate to the next portion. You can use a pre-recorded sound to call your pet over to dinner, or you can call them in real time. But you don’t have to fire up your phone every time you want to feed.
You can also set scheduled feeds so it will happen in the background. We recommend recording your voice, as that will be sure to capture your pet’s attention. But you can also have a chime play. The chime works especially well with dogs, as they respond quite well to sound. After one or two feedings, your dog will know to associate the sound with dinner time.
Food Type & Portion Size
Some feeders use a motor to pull food from a hopper into the tray. This allows for larger portion sizes, but only works with dry food. In fact, this one uses a rotating tray. There are several advantages, and a few disadvantages to this system. Because you portion all the food out in advance, you can add in medication if you like. If you tried that with a hopper system, you’d have no way to control getting the meds into each serving. This system can also be used with wet food, although the manufacturer recommends not leaving wet food in the tray for more than 24 hours. For one large dog or two small dogs, the feeder can hold enough food for 48 hours. For a single cat, you can get 3 days of food into the hopper.
Petamo is one of the newest brands to launch an automated pet feeder, and it truly couldn’t be simpler. It’s got a massive hopper allowing you to put plenty of dry food in, and advanced scheduling or automated feeding that lets your pets eat on demand.
At first, the Petamo SmartFeeder looks a bit like a garbage can. But it’s actually quite the opposite. The massive hopper on top holds a total of 4.3 liters of food, allowing you to keep a large supply on hand. The bowl is also quite large, making it suitable for multiple pets. Also, the tray is fully detachable, allowing you to replace it with an even larger one if necessary.
The Petamo SmartFeeder connects to your home WiFi network and establishes an account with their remote servers. You can access the service by entering a username and password on their site. If you install the free app on your iOS or Android phone, you won’t have to log in every time. But the fact that you can use their website means that you can connect to this feeder from any internet enabled device. Heck, you could even use a palm pilot if you were really committed. This makes it one of the most versatile feeders on the market.
This smart feeder has plenty of different options so you can feed your pet on your own schedule. The most unique of which is the automatic feeder. It’ll detect when your pet walks up to the food bowl, and dispense a set amount of food. You can set how often this takes place, so your pet can’t just keep coming back for an endless supply of food. Additionally, you can set it up to give you notifications of each time your pet is fed, both times and quantities. You can also set food to be delivered on a schedule, or remotely activate feedings on demand.
The feeder has a camera built in that will let you stream live video, or take a snapshot of each feeding. This is great if you have multiple pets, as you can track who is eating what. The feeder also supports offline feeding. If the power goes out the battery backup will take over, and if the network cuts out it will revert to manual scheduled feeding. If the battery is on the verge of death, it will fill the bowl as much as possible so that your pets will never be without food.
Food Type & Portions
The portion of food can be set by you, making it suitable for pets both big and small. Because it’s a hopper based feeder, it’s suitable for only dry food. However, the motor is perfectly sized so you can use both large dog kibble or small cat food.
Petnet is one of the biggest brand names in automated pet equipment, and this feeder is one of their core products. Although the requirements are a little higher, it’s got some unique features that make it a high-end product.
The Petnet SmartFeeder has a very modern look. It’s sleek black lines and high-gloss feeder are simply stunning, so you know right out of the box that it’s no ordinary pet feeder.
The Petnet SmartFeeder uses any WiFi connection operating on the 2.4Ghz frequency. It still works well with dual frequencies networks (such as 802.11ac) but it only uses one channel. The only type of WiFi that won’t work is 802.11a, although this is very uncommon these days.
In order to use this smart pet feeder, you need an IOS device running iOS 7.1 or higher, or an Android running KitKat. As long as you’ve got that, you’ll have access to a wide range of features. You can manually set feeding times and portion sizes, but the features don’t stop there. If you’re concerned for your pets health, you can have the app control your pet food delivery as well. You can choose the ingredients you want, and have appropriate pet food delivered right to your door. You can order this on demand, or have the app automatically order when you’re starting to run low.
Food Type & Portions
The hopper in this smart pet feeder can be used exclusively with dry kibble. It can carefully measure every portion, letting you choose a range of sizes from 1/16th of a cup all the way up to 1.5 cups. The measurement capacity is volume based, and it works best with round kibble. We found that with some of the larger, oddly shaped dog food the measurements might be a little light. In this case, just add an extra 10% to the portion and you’ll be fine. Small dry foods (like cat food) work very well regardless of shape.
Which Smart Pet Feeder is Right for You?
Each of these smart pet feeders have their own sets of pros and cons, and the one you choose will depend on your specific needs. If you’re feeding wet food, or if you have pets that require medication the Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder is your best option. You’ll have to fill it up every day, but no other feeder gives you the level of control as this model.
Are you feeding large animals? Would you like them to be fed on their own schedule? In this case, the Petamo SmartFeeder is a fantastic choice. It’s the only feeder on the market with motion activated feeding.
If you want something a little more stylish, the Petnet SmartFeeder is another great option. It’s a little on the small size, but it’s stylish design will fit right in with any modern home.
Looking to keep in touch with your pets while you’re out of the house? Take a look at our review of the best WiFi pet cameras on the market. These handy little devices will let you interact with your pet in real time. Some even give you additional options to interact with them, either by launching a laser pointer around the room or by shooting treats from the built-in launcher. In its own unique way, it’s another smart pet feeder, with a little extra fun on top.