- Reliable automatic pet feeding.
- Easy-to-use app controls for scheduling.
- Easy-to-clean stainless steel feeding bowl.
- Can record a custom 10-second voice recording to call your pet at mealtime.
- Not big enough for very large dogs.
- Smart cats may learn to feed themselves.
If you’re like most pet owners, your relationship with your pet is one of the most important relationships you have. People go to great lengths to care for their animals, up to and including expensive day cares and spa visits. And for many people, going on the road can be a source of trouble. If you’re travelling, there are a couple of ways you could care for your cat or dog while you’re away. One way is to have a friend or family member come by and feed them. This is often the best method, since you’re counting on someone you know and trust. Your pet probably already knows this person, and will be happy to see them when they visit.
But asking for help from friends and family isn’t always practical. For one thing, if you travel on a regular basis, there may be some times no one is able to help. For another thing, you may simply have no options. For example, if you’re a college student going on break, most of your friends will also be going on break. In that case, you might consider a kennel. But unless you can afford a very nice kennel, your pet is going to be kept in a cage most of the day. They’ll be fed and let out for exercise, but it’s basically the animal version of sitting in prison. Your pet will be stressed, and even at a nice kennel, they won’t be at home in a familiar environment.
An automatic pet feeder can give you the best of both worlds. Like a kennel, it’s 100% reliable, and you don’t have to keep asking people for favors. And like a good friend, an automatic feeder can feed your cat or dog in the comfort of their own home. In the past, we’ve reviewed a handful of pet products, such as the Pebby Smart Ball. Now, we’re going to review the PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder. This is an automatic kibble dispenser with a stainless steel feeding bowl and a 4-liter hopper. It’s app-controlled, so you can feed your pet from anywhere in the world. But how well does it work in the real world, and how easy is it to use? To find out, we’ll need to take a closer look. Let’s get started, and see what we learn!
The PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder consists of two parts: a large feeding unit, and a removable feeding bowl. The feeding unit has a square profile, and measures 7.5 inches to each side and 12 inches in height. The matte white plastic housing has rounded corners to prevent any hard edges. The lid is black, with small indents in the sides. This makes it easy to lift out when you need to fill the hopper. The total weight of the feeder is 4.74 pounds empty, light enough for anyone to move around easily.
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The hopper has a capacity of four liters, which is fairly generous. PETLIBRO rates it for 25 days of cat feeding and 10 days of dog feeding. However, this assumes a 10-pound cat or a 22-pound dog with a “typical” diet. Depending on the size of your pet, you could see significant variance here. Even so, you’ll be able to feed most animals for at least a week. The only time you’ll run into trouble with capacity is if you have a very large dog. In that case, you may want a different, larger feeder.
On the front of the hopper, you’ll find a few basic controls. There’s a voice record button, a reset button, and a large button to manually feed your pet. These buttons can be used easily for training, to get your cat or dog used to the automatic feeder. However, there’s no way to deactivate the manual feed button. If you have an inquisitive cat, they may figure out how to feed themselves.
At mealtime, your pet’s food will automatically dispense into the stainless steel bowl. This bowl has a 2-inch depth, so even smaller animals won’t have to strain to reach over the edge. They’ll instead be able to enjoy a more relaxed feeding position. We also appreciated that the bowl is stainless, rather than plastic. Plastic can scratch, and scratches can collect bacteria. Steel, on the other hand, is very easy to keep clean. You won’t have to worry about this bowl turning into a petri dish.
PETLIBRO offers a number of replacement parts for sale. Most of these are things like a drop-in replacement for the bowl. However, there’s one part in particular you may want to consider: the 2-pet splitter. This is a simple attachment nozzle that splits dispensed kibble between two different chutes. You’ll need to remove the bowl and use two separate pet dishes of your own. You’ll also be feeding both animals from the same hopper. So they’ll both need to eat the same type of kibble in the same quantity. But if you have two dogs or two cats, the splitter allows you to feed them both with one machine.
Battery Life and Connectivity
There are two ways of powering the PETLIBRO feeder. The first is to use the AC power adapter, which is included in the kit. This is a standard, block-style adapter with a six-foot cord and a barrel-style tip. In most cases, you shouldn’t have any issues keeping the feeder close enough to an outlet. However, if you need to put it somewhere without power, you can use three D-cell batteries instead. These are not included in the package, but they’ll last for at least two weeks.
That said, the best way to power the feeder is with both AC and battery power. It will run on wall power whenever it’s able to. In the event of a blackout, it will run on battery power until normal power has been restored. This gives you the confidence of knowing your fur baby will be fed, even during a power outage. Just make sure to change the D batteries every few months. Otherwise, they’ll eventually run dry, and they won’t be there when you need them.
The PETLIBRO automatic feeder connects to the internet via WiFi. However, you’ll need to use your phone for the initial setup. In the packaging, you’ll find a card with a QR code. Scan this code, and follow the prompts to install the PETLIBRO app and pair with your feeder. After that, you’ll be prompted to enter your WiFi password, and the feeder will be connected. From there, you’ll be able to manage everything from your phone. Keep in mind that the feeder requires a 2.4GHz wireless network in order to connect. This is both longer-range and lower-bandwidth than the 5.0GHz band. But more routers support 2.4GHz, so you shouldn’t have any issues.
App Features and Control Options
Once the app has been set up, you’ll be able to set your pet’s feeding schedule. You can configure up to 10 meals per day at 10 different times, which is more than you’ll ever need. For each meal, you’ll be able to determine the portion size. For PETLIBRO’s purposes, a “portion” is about 2.5 teaspoons. You can dispense anywhere from 1 to 12 portions per meal. This works out to anywhere between 2.5 teaspoons and a half cup. Once again, you’re looking at a feeder that’s well set up for small to medium-sized animals. If you’re trying to feed a Rottweiler, you’ll start running into capacity problems.
In addition to your scheduled feedings, you can also use the app to run a manual feeding cycle. This can be helpful when life throws a monkey wrench into your schedule. Normally feed your cat dinner, but your boss asked you to stay late tonight? You can use the manual feed button to make sure she gets fed on time. Within the app, you can also view your feeding history. If you’re not sure whether an automatic feeding worked as expected, the log will let you know.
To perform most functions, including schedule and portion adjustment, you’ll have to be on the same network as the feeder. If you’re on a different wireless network, you’ll only be able to perform a manual feeding. Don’t forget to set a feeding schedule before you go on vacation, or you’ll get stuck manually triggering every meal.
Using the voice recording function, you can record up to a 10 second personalized message for your pet. This can help with training, since it will teach them to associate the feeder with your voice. This is particularly useful with animals who get skittish around machines. Not only that, but it’s nice to know your pet gets to hear your voice when you’re out of town.
One last thing we should mention is that the PETLIBRO feeder uses a desiccant packet to keep your kibble dry. This packet is stored in a small bracket inside the hopper. If you only use the hopper when you’re on vacation, moisture isn’t really going to be a concern. However, if you leave kibble inside on an ongoing basis, you’ll want to change the desiccant packet periodically. Thankfully, replacement desiccant packs are cheap and readily available.
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The PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder is one of the more innovative products on the market. Yes, automatic pet feeders have been around for a while. But few offer this level of control and customization. With a wide range of portion sizes and up to 10 feedings per day, you can feed any small to medium-sized pet. With the 2-pet splitter, you can even feed two animals simultaneously. The stainless steel bowl is easy to keep clean, and won’t harbor bacteria like a plastic bowl. Finally, the ability to record a message for your cat or dog is a great feature. Unless you have a large dog, we can heartily recommend this feeder.