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Automatic dog feeders

Automatic Gravity-type Dog Feeders and Waterers

Another name for this type of dog feeder is a “self pet feeder.” These feeders all share the same basic design, which is:

– Some type of storage unit for the dog food.
– With an opening from which the food fills an attached bowl or other eating area. It is self-regulating in that more food will not come out of the opening until food is eaten from the bowl section.

Variations include:

– A style that has magnetic doors allowing your dog to eat, while keeping out vermin and other pests.
– A removable “flap” door.
– A removable door and secure snap-latch lid.
– A shut-off valve that will stop dispensing food after a predetermined amount has been consumed;
– A large capacity storage unit with an attached self-feeder, especially suited for kennels or homes with several large dogs.

This type of feeder generally allows free feeding, or “on-demand” feeding. Most dogs, after a period of adjustment lasting from one to several days, will be fine with free feeding and not overeat. However, if you’re unsure whether your dog will make the adjustment, or be one of the few who will continue to overeat when presented with a continuous food supply, you can try giving him all the food he can eat in his regular bowl as a test.

If you are concerned about overeating, there is one type of “automatic” dog feeder that does allow you to control the portion size. Yes, it makes your presence necessary at feeding time, so would not be suitable for feeding in your absence, but otherwise incorporates the convenience and other desirable features of any automatic feeder. This style has a knob or wheel or dial that will dispense a certain amount of food when turned. For instance, one model gives 1 cup of food for each quarter-turn of the knob.

Automatic dog feeders come in a range of sizes, from very small, holding two lbs. of food or even less, to large, kennel-sized feeders holding up to 50 lbs. You’ll want to keep in mind that these feeders dispense only dry, kibble-type dog food. The openings will accommodate kibbles of most commercial dog foods of varying sizes. If you have any concerns about this, be sure to check out the size of the opening before purchase.

Feeders are made of a variety of materials, all of which have some specific benefit. These include:

– Galvanized steel. By far the sturdiest material, these feeders are designed for use in a kennel or outdoor area where resistance to weather conditions, pests and heavy use is necessary. Locations could include inside a barn, enclosed yard, or garage.
– Stainless steel. This is also a sturdy long-wearing material, with the added advantage of ease of cleaning. Some of these have removable trays that can be put in the dishwasher. Stainless steel feeders are attractive enough to be used in the home, but sturdy enough to withstand outdoor use as well.
– Plastic feeders are either of the very large kennel style, or one of several smaller styles for use in the home.
– Combination styles include one that is made of plastic, but has a metal edge on the feeding surface to discourage chewing, as well as one that has a plastic food reservoir combined with a stainless steel detachable feeding bowl.

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