Best automatic dog feeder with timer 2018

If you’re a busy person who is rushing around in the morning then feeding the dog at the right time is just another thing to add to the endless to do list isn’t it?  One way to get round that is to get an automatic feeder for your dog which will feed them at a certain time.  It’s also good if you have an unreliable schedule and want to give your dog a regular feeding time.  In this article I’m looking at the best automatic dog feeder with a timer so you can take that extra item off your to do list!

How to choose the best automatic dog feeder with timer

You have a few different options when it comes to automatic pet feeders.  You can get simple ones where the compartment with the dog food opens or is revealed at a set time or you can get some that dispense the food in to food bowls at a set time.  Either way, they’re simply a dog bowl with a timer!

The first kind needs more attention from you as you’ll need to make sure you’re on top of keeping it filled up – likely it won’t last longer than 2-3 days worth of food.  The latter can hold sometimes up to 90 days worth of food so just needs topping up when it gets low.

Price is a factor of course with the more simpler self feeders being cheaper than the dispensers.

Another thing to consider is the size of your dog.  Larger breeds may find that the small automatic feeders aren’t nice to eat out of or perhaps won’t even hold enough food.  Often these feeders are designed for both dogs and cats so are a size that fit smaller animals.

Most of these are designed to work indoors and are generally battery operated – if you want something for outside make sure that it is well covered from the elements and they should be good.

Finally you need to think about what food you’re likely to be feeding.  If you want to use wet food then a dispenser isn’t going to work at all and you’ll want something that just opens up at the right time.  Personally I think these items lend themselves better to dry food.

Our automatic dog feeder reviews

 

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Programmable Digital Pet Feeder

This digital pet feeder station from PetSafe is one of the top rated on Amazon and it’s really popular right now.  It is the most expensive item on the list though, but I think the options you get with this and the fact it’s suitable for bigger dogs too makes it a great item.

  • 2.4kg capacity
  • for dried or semi-moist foods
  • slow feed option to prevent dogs who like to gulp down food being sick
  • programmable to allow for any feeding schedule

perfect for… larger breeds

Check out this item on Amazon here

 

PetSafe 5 Meal Pet feeder

Another automatic pet feeder from PetSafe is this 5 meal feeder.  It’s a more traditional idea of a feeder where you fill up the tray with the portions and it will rotate so that when you want it to it will reveal the food.  I’d say this one is better suited for smaller dogs but perhaps if you have a larger dog who is fed more often during the day to prevent them gulping down too much it would be good too.

  • dishwasher safe feeder tray
  • 5 compartments
  • 230g of food can be fitted in each tray
  • good for any kind of food, dry or wet

Perfect for… wet or homemade dog food 

Check out reviews and the latest price here

 

Andrew James Automatic Pet Feeder

This pet feeder from Andrew James is another of the style of a rotating tray which reveals the food at set times.  One unique thing about this one is that you can record a message of up to 8 seconds long too.  So if you want to be able to tell your dog it’s dinner time it can do that!  It’s a good size feeder as well and can suit larger dogs so long as their portion sizes will fit in.

  • 6 portions – 175 ml capacity in each
  • can be programmed to open up to 6 times each day
  • voice recorder – leave a message for your dog!
  • Can be dismantled for easy cleaning

Perfect for… leaving your dog a message!

See the latest price on Amazon here

 

TD Design 4.3L Automatic Pet Feeder

This is a really smart looking automatic dog food dispenser which is welcome as some can really look pretty ugly.  I think this one would look great in any home and not look out of place.  Like the Andrew James feeder above this one can also record a message for you to play to your dog when their food is being dispensed.

This timed dog feeder can only feed up to 4 times per day so if you need more times than that you’d need to look elsewhere.

My favourite feature of this one is that if the tray ends up with more than 13 portions in it (each ‘portion’ is 10g and you can dispense up to 10 ‘portions’ in each feeding time), it will stop dispensing.  So, for example if your dog isn’t eating it won’t keep sending more food in to the tray and potentially making a mess.

  • 4.3L storage
  • can customise your portion sizes in 10g/24ml increments
  • programmable for up to 4 meals per day
  • battery or mains operated

Perfect for…  up to medium size dogs and dried food

See more reviews of this item on Amazon here

Our favourite gifts from dog to owner

Dogs are amazing at giving hugs, sloppy kisses and just generally bringing joy to every day.  Sometimes they want to let their owners know how much they love them by buying a gift for them on special occasions, like Christmas, birthdays and Mothers/Fathers day.  Now, they do need some human help in getting their perfect gifts so if a dog you know has enlisted your support in this quest I hope this guide to our favourite gifts from dog to owner is helpful!

A dog normally likes to give gifts which reinforces the bond between himself and his owner – this normally comes in the form of humorous items which show how much the owner REALLY loves dogs and in particular the gift giver!

Our favourite gifts from dog to owner

Mugs

Let’s start with mugs because every dog knows that once a long walk has been given the owner just loves to sit down with a cup of hot tea or coffee and relax for a while with the dog sitting contentedly at his feet.  Or lap.  Let’s be real!  There are so many different ideas and witty designs out there – here’s two of my favourite:

See this item on Amazon here See the latest price here

 

Clothes

Dogs like to get the word out to other people about how great it is to have a dog and be a dog owner so they like to adorn their owners in adverts to the lifestyle like with this T shirt:

See sizes, colour options and price on Amazon here

 

Books

Just for fun and to have along side the cup of tea when you’ve finished your big walk, a book about their favourite thing – dogs of course – is just the ticket!

Buy on Amazon here

See more about this book on Amazon here – there’s quite a few in this series!

 

Other dog inspired gifts

Of course the ideas are endless – here’s a few other items that I came across and liked and would be a perfect gift from dog to dad or mum.

A scrapbook to remember all the fun times you have together!  See more about this here.

 

A bag to use when carrying all those yummy dog treats and food!

Lots of colours to choose from – see more here

 

And lastly, a little bit of class with some sterling silver earrings.  Perfect for reminding owners of their wonderful pets every time they look in the mirror!

See more about this item on Amazon here

How to keep your carpet clean with dogs

If you live in a carpeted house with your pets then you’ll likely be wondering how to keep your carpet clean with dogs roaming around it all day.  Here’s some top tips to help you combat what could be a smelly situation.

Tips to keep your carpet clean with dogs

  1.  Prevention is the best cure.  Make sure that you have a good door mat at your front and back door to catch wet feet and mud.  Getting your dog in the habit of getting his paws wiped before entering the house is also a good idea.  Just keep an old towel by the door.
  2. Create a good cleaning schedule.  How often you need to vacuum or carpet wash might depend on what dogs you have, their hair and whether they shed or also your time, but having a schedule where you commit to cleaning daily, every other day or whatever suits you will help.
  3. Keep on top of accidents – always clean and deodorise straight away any area where dogs have either had a toilet accident or been sick.  If you don’t it will soak through to the base of the carpet and you’ll struggle to clean it well.  Have on hand an accident cleaning station with all you need to attack the accident spot – bicarbonate of soda is a good natural deodoriser.
  4. Get a good quality vacuum cleaner (you can see my top picks here) – it will really help to pick up the dog hair.
  5. Groom your dogs regularly to help with shedding hair.  A good brush will often pick up any loose hairs and you’ll catch them before they go on the floor.
  6. Shampoo the carpet regularly.  It’s a pain to do sometimes but it’s worthwhile to keep the carpet fresh smelling.  Either get yourself one that you can use from home, hire a professional cleaner to use yourself or get someone in to do it for you.

It’s really worth keeping on top of the carpet as it’s so easy for them to absorb the smells and making your house an unpleasant place.  Carpets are expensive to replace as well so the more you look after them the more you’ll save in the long run.

Running with your dog – how to get started

With the start of the new year looming perhaps you’re looking to get yourself fit and glancing over at your dog you’re thinking that running with him might be a good idea.  After all, they have all that energy – let’s put it to good use!  Here’s some tips on getting started running with your dog:

Tips for running with your dog

 

Don’t expect quick results

  • First of all – patience!  Unless your dog is used to going for really long runs, they’ll need time to get themselves used to it.  Even if they are full of energy at home, don’t mistake this for their ability to run 5km straight away – it doesn’t quite work like that.
  • try building up your runs.  Either start with a short run and build up each time you go out or try walk runs for a set period of time.
  • 10 minutes is a good amount to aim for the first time, but if you or your dog is out of shape, don’t be afraid to go less and work up.

What about a lead?

  • you can get running leads that attach to your waist and these are a good idea so that you can run better yourself, keep your balance and maintain good form, but they aren’t necessary especially when starting out.
  • A normal short lead will work fine – best to keep your dog close to you.
  • If your dog likes to pull then you might struggle so make sure they are well behaved on the lead or up your training in that sense.

Can puppies run with me?

  • I’d advise against running with really young dogs – yes they do have the enthusiasm but they are still growing.  Best to wait until they are probably about 18 months old or so and in the mean time make sure the are well behaved on the lead and not pulling when walking.  If in doubt – check with your vet.

Is my dog healthy enough for it?

  • Only you can answer that but if you go slowly and build up your training with your dog I think you’ll be able to spot if your dog is struggling and can’t do it.  Just be aware not to push too far, too fast.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful and that it helps both you and your dog to be getting yourselves more active.  It’s such a great activity – easy, cheap and your dog will love you for it! If you’d like some more ideas for getting fit with your dog then you might like this article I wrote here.

My dog ate a mince pie and other Christmas dangers for dogs

We all love Christmas don’t we?  A time for chilling out with the family, opening presents, music and fun.  Of course, excess happens too, especially in the food and drink area.  Sometimes this can pose dangers if your puppy manages to get their paws on a chocolate that fell on the floor or your dog ate a mince pie.  So what dangers should we be on the lookout for this Christmas?

After that lovely quiet walk early on Christmas morning and once you’ve all opened up your pressies (and even helped your furry friends open theirs perhaps?) the food inevitably comes out, and if you’re like me, stays out all day.  The following can all be dangerous for your dog:

  • chocolate – toxic to dogs.
  • grapes – raisins/currants etc – can cause kidney problems.  This means fruit cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding are definitely out.
  • onion family – this can also be toxic to dogs so be aware, especially if you’re giving them a bit of Christmas dinner to make sure there are no onions in there.
  • alcohol – it’s just not good for dogs, similar to how it is for us.  Keep out of reach.
  • Too much human food – sometimes it can just not suit your dog’s tummy, especially if they aren’t used to it.

Definitely keep all foods away from dogs and don’t feed them tidbits of course.  Keep any leftovers out of reach too, especially if they might have gone bad.

The best bet is to make sure you have plenty of dog friendly treats on hand, especially if you have over zealous guests who just want to make sure that your dog is enjoying the festivities!

 

So, what happens if your dog accidentally eats something they shouldn’t?  Depending on what it is of course, you should definitely monitor your dog for signs of illness.  If you know what they’ve eaten and you’re concerned it’s something that’s really bad for them then I’d definitely get in touch with your vet straight away.

 

Other potential dangers for dogs at Christmas are:

  • over excitement – yup, I think I’m with them there.  But seriously, they might need to find somewhere calm to be, especially if you have unfamiliar children around.  Being proactive is probably best to make sure everyone stays happy.
  • non food items that look good to chew – ornaments, wrapping paper, crackers, bows.  The list is endless!  If your dog is a chewer then make sure all ornaments stay out of reach and papers are cleared away.
  • Christmas trees – of course there are dangers with them falling over, chewing them up etc, but if you also have a real tree the pine needles might upset your dogs tummy if they eat them.

 

Although it can feel alarming to think about, you’ll probably be well aware of your dog’s ability to snaffle food when you’re not looking or chew up all that is around it.  Just be aware of the extra things that are around and take precautions as you would normally and you’ll most likely be fine.

Enjoy your Christmas!

The best dog Christmas presents around this year – 2016

Christmas is a time for all the family and that includes our fuzzy friends right?  There are so many ideas for dog Christmas presents around nowadays that they are really spoilt for choice.  Here’s some of my favourite things to make the festive period one that’s full of good treats and fun times for your dog.

Dog Christmas Presents

When it comes to choosing a good Christmas present for a dog there’s a few options that I think are winners.  Anything to do with food, playing or sleeping!  There’s also the dog outfit as well, but who are we kidding, that’s for our benefit!  Here’s some good ideas for presents and read on below for more ideas for food related gifts.

Christmas Turkey Large Plush Dog Toy

No Christmas is complete without a turkey!  This dog toy is quite large, about 40cm long, and so is good if you have a large breed of dog that finds the smaller toys to be a bit useless.  It has a squeaker inside it and is just a good bit of fun really for dogs who like fluffy toys!

See this item on Amazon here.

Outward Hound Plush Snake

My dogs love long toys like this one that they can throw around and chase after – it provides a LOT of fun for a good amount of time so I always like to get them new ones at Christmas.  This is a good make, stuffingless and it’s apparently invincible so good for crazy chewers.

Outward Hound Kyjen 32068 Invincibles Plush Snake Stuffingless Durable Dog Toys Squeaker Toy 6-Squeakers, Large, Orange Blue

 

Knitted Christmas Jumper

You can’t leave out your dog in the Christmas Jumper annual photo can you?  I like this one as it comes in a variety of sizes so good for big as well as small dogs.  It has the adorable Rudolph on the back and just looks ever so cute!

See this item on Amazon here.

 

Christmas Dog food and treats

We often overindulge, have too many sweets around and just way too much food at Christmas.  It’s easy to think that as a one off we can pass on a few tidbits to our dogs, but it’s especially important to make sure they don’t get hold of chocolate or other bad food.  If your dog has intolerances or isn’t used to rich food it’s even more of a good idea to keep an eye on their intake – you don’t want to be dealing with an upset tummy on Christmas day.

There are some good options if you want to give your dogs a special treat but don’t want to upset them.  The first I am going to suggest is this tinned food by Lily’s Kitchen, one of my favourite dog food makes.

Lily’s Kitchen Dog Food – Christmas Dinner

What I like most about this make is that they make real food which is high quality and I believe our dogs definitely deserve that on Christmas day, and every day!  This dog food is called Three Bird Feast and contains turkey, goose and duck as part of the ingredients as well as those other staples, parsnips and cranberries!  It would make a really nice special treat that they can have at any time of the year but especially Christmas!

You can see more about this dog food at Amazon by clicking here.

 

Lily’s Kitchen Dog Biscuits

Another from Lily’s Kitchen is these Fabulously Festive Biscuits for Dogs.  Having some treats on hand that are specifically for your dog when the chocolates and biscuits are being handed out is a good idea so that it’s not tempting to just give them something that is bad for them.  I love these biscuits as again they don’t have any additives or preservatives and are in a traditionally turkey and cranberry flavour.  They come in a pack of 3 and would also be a great gift for someone you know with dogs themselves.

You can see more about this product on Amazon here.

 

Good Boy Selection box

Good Boy make a lot of treats that you can get for your dog, from chocolate orange pieces, to mince pies, to this selection box.  It’s a slightly cheaper option than the Lily’s Kitchen treats so if price is a concern then these would be a good option.  In this selection box you get choc drops, turkey and cranberry bones, yuletide yummies, beef flavour biscuit bones, munchy sticks and a larger Hohoho boone.

To see some of the good boy christmas treats on Amazon click here.

How to create a dog friendly garden

Having a garden that is not only a nice have for yourself but is also safe, fun and interesting for your dog to enjoy is the best of both worlds.  Here’s some tips on creating a dog friendly garden for you and your mutt to adore spending time in!

  • keep it clean

Ok, the first one is an important, but boring one.  The best thing you can do to keep your garden being a nice pplace to be is to keep on top of the cleaning of it.  Most likely you’ll find that your dog uses your garden as a toilet and even if you manage to get them to relieve themselves on a walk, you’ll probably still find them marking their territory around the garden every so often.

Of course this can then smell and breed all sorts of nasties.  Depending on the surfaces you need to clean you’ll want something specific to the job.  If you have concrete or wooden decking a pressure washer is a good idea and can make light work of it.  (Check this post for the best pressure washers for patios)

Having some dog friendly cleaning solutions is also really important.  Check the label and go for less toxic varieties if you can.

  • be aware of poisonous dog plants and plant dog friendly varieties

There are a few plants that you’ll want to keep away from if you have dogs.  Even some common plants such as daffodil bulbs can be poisonous and shouldn’t be planted (especially if your dog is a digger)  For a more comprehensive list check this list from the Dogs Trust out.

  • .have plenty of shade or shelter

Having somewhere to escape the elements, whether that’s the sun or rain is important.  If you have a nice big tree casting shade that will not only keep the garden interesting, but it will provide some nice shade.  A dog house might be worth getting if your dog enjoys being outside in all weathers!  It at least gives them their own space to enjoy.

  • make it secure

A secure garden that they can run, play and explore without you needing to worry about them escaping is essential.  If you know it’s secure you can really let them explore at their own pace without needing to have an axis eye over them at all times.  Us being anxious isn’t good for them and they know when we are, so if you can eliminate that all the better.

  • make it interesting

Finally it wants to be an interesting place, perhaps with some different areas to sniff round, toys in the garden they can use and  plenty of space, if you have it, to run around in.  Perhaps you could use the space and teach your dogs some tricks or agility?

 

Tips for keeping a dog outside during the day

If either your home set up or your dog fits a life outside then there’s some things to consider before deciding to keep your dog outside during the day.

This is not intended to be a ‘should you or should you not’ keep your dog outside debate post – everyone’s set up is different and if you live in the countryside with no neighbours and have working dogs, your situation is going to be a little different to someone who lives in a built up town.  Again, it’s one thing to have your dog outside permanently to wanting them to be outside for a couple of hours a day while you work or pop to the shops.

Remember that your dog’s welfare is your responsibility so you must make sure their needs are being met.

  • dogs are social creatures.  It’s better if you have more than one dog together if you’re going to have them outside and if not then make sure to have plenty of interaction with them.
  • Hiring a dog walker or companion is a good idea if you’ll be out for a long time so that your dog can get some exercise and social time.
  • A secure space is one of the top considerations if you are keeping dogs outside, make sure that your garden is secure and that they can’t escape or be stolen.  A dog run might also be worthwhile considering too.
  • shelter is essential.  Being able to escape the wind, rain or even sun is a must.  A dog house that they can retreat to will mean their own comfy spot.  Insulated houses will help in the cold – check out my best dog house reviews.
  • As well as a dog house, some shade is a good idea especially in the summer when it might be too hot in the house as well.
  • Always have plenty of clean water available.
  • Consider bringing your dogs inside over the coldest months of the year.

The ultimate new puppy essentials list

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time and along side the excitement comes the job to get all the essentials ready for when you bring your new best friend home.  Here’s the ultimate puppy essentials list that you can refer to at any time:

What are the new puppy essentials?

  • collar and lead.

You may find that you’ll get a collar when you pick up your new puppy but if not you’ll need one and a lead to attach to it.  It’s a good idea to get your dog used to wearing one as soon as possible so that it’s not a huge battle in the future.  Soft webbing collars are good for puppies as they aren’t as heavy and stiff as leather ones.

  • identification

Your new puppy will need some form of identification like a dog tag.  You can get these really easily from local pet shops or even online.  In the UK you need to have the name and address of the owner inscribed and of course you could also add a phone number as well.

  • somewhere to sleep – bed/crate

new puppy checklistHaving his own little space to sleep is essential to make your puppy feel at home.  A small dog bed that they can curl up in and feel safe is a really nice idea, or you can just go with a cushion.  Make sure it’s washable as there are inevitably going to be some accidents!

A crate is also recommended to give your puppy his own space where he can go if things are too much and aren’t a cruel cage like some people think.  A crate will keep a puppy in his space overnight and contain any toilet mess that might happen and can also keep them from annoying other dogs you might have as well.

  • food

Special puppy food is recommended when you first bring them home.  Always check what food they are used to because any sudden changes might lead to upset tummies and diarrhoea.  If you can get the same as what they were eating before and if you need to change it to something else, do it gradually.

Treats are also a good idea for when you begin to train your new puppy.  Get something that is suitable for very young dogs.

  • food and water bowls

Self explanatory really!  You need something to put your new puppy’s food in and to have a drink on hand at all times.

  • toys

Something that they can chew on is recommended.  Don’t go for too many or anything too complicated, just something chewy and simple is best to start with so your dog will know which one is his.

  • Grooming equipment

you don’t need to go all in just yet with lots of stuff – just the simple equipment in the beginning is best to get your dog used to it all.  Perhaps some dog shampoo that is suitable for puppies and a small brush.

  • poop bags

I need say no more!

 

New puppy equipment that’s nice to have

The following bits of puppy accessories are good to have but aren’t quite essential!

  • puppy training pads

When you’re toilet training your new puppy you can go the old fashioned way and use newspaper, or you can try out these puppy training pads.  They work essentially the same way and if you have smooth flooring they can be fixed down so you don’t slip which is a great idea. These are a good buy.

  • playpen

If you want to keep your puppy contained but have a large area to play in, maybe because you have bigger dogs, cats who aren’t yet happy with them or young children you want to be more aware of, a playpen like this could work well.  It’s also good for when you want them to play in the garden but are worried they are small enough to get through the fence and run off!

  • A good vacuum cleaner!

This is especially important if you have a long haired breed that sheds a lot – get a specific pet hair vacuum and you’ll be good to go.  Take a look at my reviews of the best vacuums for pet hair.

How to workout with your dog to keep you both fit!

Getting a dog is an excellent way to keep yourself fit, but if all you ever do is a leisurely stroll to the nearby park with him it won’t be the fat burner that you were expecting!  Exercising with your dog and having them along side you as you do your sports is a great way to bond with your dog and get you both fit at the same time.  But how to workout with your dog?  Well, you need to think about what dogs like and incorporate that in to what you want to do!

Remember that although dogs love to be active, they are just like us and that they will need to work up to the longer activities.  Take your time to increase their stamina and don’t jump head first in to it.  Follow your dogs lead and if they enjoy it, keep it up!

Ideas for a workout with your dog

  • Hiking

If you love getting out for a walk with your dog and want to increase the variety and types of walking then hiking is a good next progression.  Expanding your horizon to more varied terrain, longer trails and hill walking will work different muscles, get a great amount of fresh air in to both of your systems and just get them exercised enough that they aren’t frustrated at home, leading to digging or scratching behaviours.

  • Running

Running is an excellent thing to do with your dog if they have the stamina to keep going with you.  It’s simple, you won’t need much extra equipment (although perhaps a running dog harness will be beneficial) and you can start from your own doorstep.  If you’re used to long runs then maybe go on some smaller runs with your dog first to see how they do and progress from there.

  • Cycling

Much the same as running, cycling allows your dog to run along side you as you ride and is a great way to add a different exercise to your repertoire!  If your dog isn’t a great runner and is small enough you could always get a dog basket for the bike and carry him while you ride!

  • Dog Yoga

Otherwise known as Doga, dog yoga might be a fun thing to try with your pup!  I will admit I haven’t tried it myself but some people find it’s a really good exercise to do together.  Have you tried it?

 

What’s your favourite way to workout with your dog?  Let me know in the comments!