Automatic Pet Feeders
Unless you are a die-hard cat or dog lover, you usually don't take the family pet with you when you travel. The best way to care for your pet in your absence is to have a friend or neighbour stop in and check in on your pets, along with making sure they are fed.
But if you don't have anyone you trust nearby, you may have to rely on mechanical means to feed your pets when you are away.
Eight Day Auto Pet Feeder
A very sophisticated pet feeder, that can hold 96 oz of food (12oz per each of 8 compartments). Each compartment is filled beforehand, and the rotating lid opens the next compartment, as per the timer. The device is battery powered, so your pet won't go hungry if there is a power outage. You can even record a voice message to be played with each meal delivery. A handy addition if your pet is used to hearing you call before a feeding. Cost: $80
Furry Feeders have a number of models to choose from, with some able to feed a pet for 2 weeks or more. Unlike the rotating lid style, these feeders dole out pet food from a single canister, according to your timed schedule. The timers are battery operated, though the machine itself requires an electrical outlet. More than one feeding can be scheduled each day (up to 14 per day, actually). Costs range between $108 to over $200, depending on the size of the unit.
Two Meal Electronic Feeder
Being able to feed your pet a dozen times or more may not be necessary if you only go away for the occasional weekend. So a smaller, 2-meal unit may be perfect. These feeders have two compartments with lids that open on schedule (battery powered). Cost: $30
Le Bistro Automatic Pet Feeder
If you don't necessarily need to schedule each feeding, than a simple gravity-fed canister feeder could suit you. A large clear reservoir holds dry pet food, that flows into the bowl beneath as it empties. Cost: $24.99
If you want something a little more stylish than the typical plastic canister feeders, these machines from Perfect Petfeeder are sleek, and chrome accented to suit your kitchen décor. You can program the meal size as well as the schedule, and the hopper holds about 10lbs of dry food. Of course, you will pay for style, as the cost of these feeders is around $500 each.
Fish Mate F14
And if your pets have fins instead of fur, then you will need an aquarium fish food timer. The Fish Mate is a small, battery-powered feeder that will dole out a feeding up to 14 times. The servings are done slowly over 2 hours, to prevent food buildup in the water. You can attach an air hose to the unit, to help keep the food dry and prevent the flakes from clumping. Cost: $30