Automatic Dog Feeders: Keeping UK Dogs Fed and Watered on Time

best-automatic-dog feeder-hero-image

​Best Automatic Dog Feeder for an Easier Life

​For the times you get stuck late at work then a timed automatic dog feeder is a simple answer to the niggly problem of your dog's rumbling tummy.

If your best buddy is ruled by his stomach, then he's not going to be happy if dinner is delayed. No one wants their best friend to fret while you're out earning their dog food, so an automatic dog feeder could be the answer.

But there are more serious reasons to consider an automated dog feeder. For example, a late meal is an inconvenience for a healthy dog, but for a diabetic the delay could cause complication. Not getting fed on time could result in a dangerous dip in blood sugar levels, in which case an automatic dog feeder may literally be a life saver.

For those times when you need to be sure your pet pal's hunger pangs are satisfied then check out our reviews of the best automatic dog feeder  for your pet.

So with a woof and wag, save yourself a whole load of research and let Doggy Dream Team take the eye strain as we seek out the best value, most reliable and robust products in this category.

Automatic Dog Feeder


Key Features

Customer Rating

Price

Suitable for two timed meals. Great for small dogs

9

Extra large reservoir. Feed on demand. Best for dogs who know when they're full.

9.2

Personalized 'call' so the dog knows it's mealtime. Up to 4 meals a day

7.8

Personalized 'call' Up to 4 meals a day. Programmable portion size

10

Up to 16 meals a day. Slow feed option to prevent gorging. Copes with semi-moist food

8.6

(DDT VALUE PICK)

Programmable to allow on certain pets to eat from it. Great for small dogs on prescription foods

9

Suitable for large dogs. Large reservoir and programmable

9.4

Food for Thought

Before you compare products, have a think about what you need the feeder to do. To get you started here are our suggestions to consider:

  • Feeder Robustness: A large dog may be able to chew his way into a small automatic dog feeder, whilst the latter is works well for a small or toy dog.
  • How Many Meals: From a single meal for when you’re late, through to frequent meals for the fussy eater, there are products to match these needs.
  • Portion Size: Will your dog wolf down a large meal in one gulp and get indigestion? Think about whether for his own good you need a feeder that can ration food in smaller servings over the course of the day
  • Special Diets: Is the dog on a special prescription diet, and you want him (and no other dog in the house to eat it). Yes, this is possible with one of our recommended products!
  • Wet or Dry Food: What type of food does the dog eat? Not all feeders can cope with wet or semi-moist food so keep this in mind.

Now you have an idea of your ideal product, let’s see how the following measure up. Our recommendation based on robustness and flexibility is the Petsafe Digital Feeder, but everyone’s needs are different so on with the reviews!

WOPET Automatic Dog Feeder with 48 hour timer

This feeder is an inexpensive problem solver for an owner in a fix with a small dog. It’s a basic two-bowl feeder where the food is protected by a plastic flap. You set the mechanical timer before leaving the house and it counts away the hours until the first flap is released.

With two bowls and two timers you can feed one pet twice or two dogs at the same time.

LIKES

Great for toy or small dogs who have good manners around food and won’t try to break into the feeder

Allows you to offer wet or dry foods

An inexpensive problem solver

“Never failed to open and a godsend when you live on your own and have a late shift.”

Soapy , Amazon

DISLIKES

The mechanical timer is a bit agricultural and opens anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes from the set time.

A large dog would pick the whole feeder up and shake it until the food fell out

This no-frills automatic dog feeder can cope with both wet or dry food. It also comes supplied with ice packs, so in hot weather this helps to keep food chilled for several hours. The food bowls are removable and dishwasher safe which makes cleaning super easy.

OVERALL VALUE

This could be the only automatic dog feeder you’ll ever need for a toy dog, as it does what it says on the label. Small dogs are often more fussy and prefer wet food, which this feeder can accommodate with no problems. Sometimes simple is best as there’s less to go wrong! However, sorry to owners of big dogs as this one isn’t suitable for you.

9.0 Rating out of 10

LalagoUK Automatic Dog Feeder

Picture an office drinking fountain and this is what the Lalagouk looks like. It has a 3.5litre container that acts as a hopper for the food. This sits in a docking station that also acts as a dog bowl for the food. The pet eats from the bowl and more kibble trickles down into the pan, fed by gravity. This means food is always available for the pet.

LIKES

This is a gravity feeder rather than working on a timer. As such there are no electrical components and it doesn’t need to be plugged in or require batteries

Excellent value for money

Easy to clean

Fantastic for fussy eaters

“This is life changing, it’s amazing.”

Karen , Amazon

DISLIKES

Not great for the greedy dog. When he eats what’s in the bowl, more food falls down to replace it. Fine for fussy eaters who are used to grazing but not good for a greedy guts who may eat himself silly.

Another straightforward product that does what it claims. User were consistently impressed by the quality of the product and how well made it is. What’s clever about this feeder is how simple it is, with a gravity feed replacing eaten biscuits.

OVERALL VALUE

However, it’s strength (making food available at all times) is also its weakness. A greedy dog is literally going to gorge himself and eat until the hopper is empty. This could lead to health problems from stomach upsets to obesity and so obviously isn’t recommended for these guys.

9.2 Rating out of 10

T D Design Automatic Pet Feeder

Taking a step up in design (and price) we’re impressed by this T D Design product. This one does have technology inside and so does need to be plugged in or powered by batteries. However, it cleverly stores away the last feeding program, even when not connected, so you don’t have to reprogram each time you bring the feeder out.

This T D Design product is an automatic dog feeder with a timer and has a number of neat features. For a start you can program in four meals in a 24 hour period, and also determine the size of the portion. It measure food out in 10g portions and you simply decide how many portions you want your canine to consume in each meal. Oh yes, another nice touch is it alerts you when the 4.3litre  hopper is empty, so that you are aware it needs refilling.

LIKES

Flexible programming for exact portion sizes

Dishwasher safe feeding tray and hopper liner

Personalized message to let your dog know it’s show time

“Very well designed and easy to use. So far it has proved reliable.”

Canterbury Tales , Amazon

DISLIKES

Not suitable for strong, large breed dogs

Only suitable for dry kibble foods

Some users found the food dispensing mechanism failed after a few weeks of use

This is an impressive feeder that is well-made and does the job admirably. Unfortunately, a few users report that the food release mechanism stopped working after a few days of use. This is by no means a widespread problem, but needs to be considered if your pet is being left for long periods of time.

OVERALL VALUE

This is a step up in price but also a whole new level of flexibility. If your feeling guilty about leaving your pet, then think how reassuring it is to record a message in your voice and have it play when it’s time for the pet to eat.

We particularly liked how you had close control of the portion size. This makes it great for the dog who you want to have smaller meals but spaced over the day, or for the dog who is watching his waistline.

7.8 Rating out of 10

DreamU

This automatic dog feeder with timer is a similar idea to the T D Design, but the DreamU model has more features and costs slightly less. What’s not to like!

This model features a large food hopper; at 6 liters its one of the largest available for this type of device. It only works with dry food, and each kibble piece should measure less than one cm square or it will get stuck in the dispensing nozzle. That proviso aside, the DreamU has a great digital program which allows you to select up to four meals a day of varying sizes.

To alter the meal size by selecting for the desired number of portions. It is capable of delivering up to 39, 10 gram portions (390g) at any one meal, which means your large hound isn’t going to go hungry.

LIKES

Great flexibility of meal-size and timing of the meals

Large food hopper

Competitive price point compared to similar products

Suitable for larger dogs

“A programmable device that’s straightforward and easy to use.”

Richard Jones , Amazon

DISLIKES

Dry kibble only

The voice function sounds slightly muffled. However, your dog will quickly tune into the sound of the motor and come running for his chow.

OVERALL VALUE

A super solution to feeding your pet when you can’t be there to fill the bowl. This produce has it all: Large capacity, flexibility of portion size, and frequency of feeding, all of which is suitable for a larger pet as well as those wanting lots of small sized meals.[only one review though]

10 Rating out of 10

PetSafe Digital Feeder

This bad boy looks like he means business, and there’s no messing when it comes to feeding your greedy Labrador. This automatic dog feeder with timer is not elegant to look at (much like an industrial sized paper shredder) but boy does it do the job. If you have an enthusiastic chow-hound likes big meals and might knock a more dainty feeder over then this is the device for you.

But the PetSafe Digital Feeder isn’t just for the big dudes, it’s suitable for little ones as well. Quite simply it has the last word in flexibility with the ability to deliver the largest meal size (up to 940 g) of any automatic delivery feeder, but it can also deliver the most number of meals (up to 12 per program). So whether you want to keep a Labrador with a rumbly tummy content or trickle-feed a fussy toy dog, the PetSafe can do that in your absence.

LIKES

Super sturdy with a rugged food delivery system

Did we mention flexibility yet? From large meals to lots of little snacks, you can program the PetSafe to your pet’s exact needs.

“Very, very good product. Haven’t had to change the batteries in over two years.”

Squizzar , Amazon

DISLIKES

The price makes this a considered purchase

Occasional glitches mean the odd machine may lose it’s programming and doesn’t retain the previous settings for use next time.

OVERALL VALUE

A good sturdy product that gives the ultimate in programming flexibility. This feeder comes into its own for a fussy eater who you want to tempt with food regularly over the course of the day. Simply program it to deliver lots of small meals and hey presto…you’re good to go, safe in the knowledge your pet is catered for.

8.6 Rating out of 10

SureFeed Microchip Feeder

This automated dog feeder is a little different to those featured so far. This feeder doesn’t work on a timer and allows for ad lib feeding, and what makes it unique is that it only opens for the pet it’s programmed to dispense to.

If you’re scratching your head wondering how they got pet biometrics into a dog feeder, ponder no longer. This works by recognizing your dog’s individual ID chip number, and activating the opening mechanism only in the presence of the particular number.

The ID microchip is the same one that’s required by law to identify your dog. Each chip is a passive transponder that has a unique number coded into it. Should your dog get lost, the finder scans the pet and references the number on a central database. The SureFeed feeder works on the same principle, in that is passively scans any chip presented to it when the dog puts his head near the bowl. You program in the number and the feeder let’s that dog have access.

LIKES

A real problem-solver if you have dogs on different prescription diets. Since the feeder only allows access to those dogs whose microchip numbers are entered (It can recognise more than one number) you can stop those on a different food from snacking on a diet not meant for them.

Tried and tested SureFlap technology, which has been used for years for signature-entry cat flaps.

Best suited to small  dogs.

The closed lid keeps flies off wet food at times when the pet isn’t actively eating.

“I have two dog and two cats, one on medication, and it make life so much easier when it comes to feeding times. And…in summer time they will pay for themselves. Without the SureFeed  I would be binnin on average 1-2 tins of food away during the summer seasons.”

Julie , Amazon

DISLIKES

A relatively small sized feeder so could be roughed up by a large dog determined to break his way in.

OVERALL VALUE

As a company SureFeed were one of the first to see the uses to which pet ID microchips could be put. For years and with great success, they have been making microchip activated cat flaps. They are now applying this technology to pet feeders.

The SureFeed feeder is great when you have a multi-pet household and want to allow one pet access to food but not others. Whether this is stopping an overweight dog accessing another pet’s food, or ensuring a pet on a prescription diet gets their chow, SureFeed is the answer!

9 Rating out of 10

UMEI

And finally, this UMEI product has earnt a place in our hall of fame because it’s suitable for larger dogs, such as Labradors. The large hopper and digital programming give you the flexibility to feed dogs of all sizes.

A great feature is that the feeder is clever enough to recognize when there’s still food in the bowl and not keep topping it up. Thus, if the dog doesn’t eat, you don’t end up with a mountain of spilt kibble over the floor.

LIKES

Programmable with the machine remembering the settings from one use to the next

Flexible meal sizes and frequencies

Suitable for larger dogs

Has minimum meal size of 5g which is super-small for those teeny-tiny toy dogs

Recognizes the bowl is still full and cancels the next food distribution.

“It’s great. This thing is brilliant. …easy to program, holds lots of food, exact portion sizes.”

Prid6 , Amazon

DISLIKES

The timer can default to Beijing time, so best to be aware of this if the machine loses it’s programming and needs a complete restart

Being really picky, the hopper isn’t airtight and so the food can go stale. However, to be fair, this is in common with all automatic dog feeders…but when a product is as good as the UMEI we have to be picky!

OVERALL VALUE

Another considered purchase but if you are serious about getting an accurate and reliable automatic dog feeder then the UMEI deserves serious consideration.

9.4 Rating out of 10

Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes the best automatic dog feeder to meet your needs. All the products listed have their pros and cons because they fulfill different needs. For example, if your priority is to ensure that one particular pet with a health problem gets food…and only he…then the SureFeed is a no-brainer.

If however you have a large dog and need a product that will withstand his attempts to liberate kibble ahead of meal time, then the UMEI or PetSafe digital feeder top the list. Whilst for the occasional meal for a delicate eater, you don’t need to spend big because the inexpensive, mechanical Wopet does what it says on the label.

From digital sophistication with voice recordings to call your pet for their supper, to simple mechanical timers, there are a wide selection of automatic dog feeders available. Which one will you choose?

Leave a comment: