Pet Feeder Instructions
by Jelena Woehr
Automatic pet feeders with timers can be useful for overweight pets or for owners who must occasionally be absent at a pet's feeding time. They should not, however, replace an owner's involvement in feeding a pet. Additionally, owners should periodically test automatic pet feeders to ensure that they are functioning properly. Free-choice pet feeders are also available. These pet feeders are not recommended because having food available at all times increases a pet's risk of obesity.
Pet feeders can be used to give measured meals to overweight pets. Obesity is a serious health concern for dogs and cats. While many cats are allowed to graze on food available at all times, this practice should be ended if the cat becomes overweight. Replacing free feeding with a number of small meals is humane and healthful.
Ideal cat feeding for weight control involves as many as five small meals per day. For this purpose, automatic pet feeders are invaluable. An owner can give some of the cat's daily meals, but while the owner is at work, a timed pet feeder can be set to dispense small meals.
Dogs can also benefit from weight control using timed feeders.
If pet owners plan to travel and leave their pets in their home, a timed pet feeder can ensure that the pets receive scheduled meals at the same time they're accustomed to eating. A professional pet sitter should be hired to walk and play with dogs and to clean up after cats while the owner is away. However, it may be difficult to get the pet sitter to come at your pets' normal feeding times. That's where a timed pet feeder comes in handy. The pet sitter can fill and set it daily, then visit regularly for potty breaks or litterbox cleaning without worrying about arriving exactly at the pets' normal meal times.
Pet feeders aren't a replacement for human involvement in the feeding of your pet. Dogs and cats bond with people who feed them. If all their meals come from an automatic feeder, your pets will not bond as closely with you. In addition, it's important to observe your pet eating on a regular basis so that you can tell if he is experiencing tooth pain or other difficulty eating.
In addition, pet feeders shouldn't become an excuse to travel without engaging the services of a pet sitter. Even if your pet is self sufficient and uses a litterbox, a daily visit from a human being is a must. Pets need daily attention and exercise. In addition, a pet sitter can check for signs of illness or injury.
Test your automatic pet feeder regularly, including the timer function. Always test the feeder immediately before leaving for a trip.