If you’re a pet owner, your daily schedule revolves, to some degree, around your four-legged’s demands. Maybe it’s your cat waking you up when she decides it’s breakfast time or your plane landing too late for you to give the dog dinner. Automatic feeders, which dispense pre-portioned meals at designated times, can help lighten the load.
Best for cats and small dogs (most feeders don’t have the capacity for the bigger portions and larger kibble size required for large dogs), automatic feeders are also useful for spacing meals out during the day if you have a pet with poor impulse control, or even maintaining individual pets’ diets in a multi-pet home. Like feeders, water fountains keep a stream of running water flowing all day and encourage pets to stay hydrated.
They’re no replacement for your love and care. Even with an automatic feeder and water fountain, you should never leave cats alone for more than 24 hours or dogs — that don’t need to be walked outside — for more than 12 hours. These devices make life a little easier when you’re stuck at work late. Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best ones out there, recommended by vets and other animal experts.