Undoubtedly one of the biggest problems in America’s millions of multi-pet households is ensuring that each pet eats the right amount of food in order to remain in optimum good health. It is quite a challenge to keep pets out of each other’s food bowls. It seems that in every such household there is one pet that literally vacuums up all the food put out and this taps directly into trying to control obesity issues. And the problem of controlling the food bowls is only exacerbated if the pets are on different medically prescribed formulas.
I have been searching for an automatic feeder to control the food bowl situation in my own household for a number of years. For me, an automatic feeder needs to be much more than simply seeing that the food bowl is full if you are not home.
In my personal circumstances, I have two cats of different ages and different nutritional needs. Further, Fudge now 16-and–a-half, needs to be on a medical prescription kidney diet. Ziggy, on the other hand, cannot resist the temptation of emptying every food bowl he sees. Consequently, not only do I have to break this habit, but he also needs to lose weight. So currently he’s on a special weight loss formula and feeding program.
From a health standpoint, they are not supposed to eat each other’s foods. Talk about the two extremes and a very difficult situation to manage. As I’ve said, I’ve tried to solve this situation before and failed.
So I asked if I could test the Wireless Whiskers® AutoDiet™ Feeder. I put it through its paces for a month and there is no question that it is an indeed a game changer and the ultimate solution to a variety of food bowl issues in the average multi-pet household.
Some of the special features:
- One feeder holds 5 lbs of food and can be programmed to feed up to 8 same species pets eating the same diet. Each pet can be named so it very easy to see who has been at the food bowl.
- The feeder can be set to control the hours in which pets are allowed to eat. So for example if you don’t want anyone munching between midnight and 6.00am, the feeder can be programmed to lock each pet out accordingly.
- The feeder has a special AutoWizard feature which, when you originally set up the feeder, calibrates what each pet is eating over a three-day period and then sets a measured daily allowance. So there is no need to measure amounts in cups per pet.
- If a pet needs to lose weight, it is simply a matter of reducing that calibrated amount in 10 per cent increments (with the blessing of your veterinarian of course!)
- By setting the portion control feature, you can stop a pet from guzzling everything in one go and spread it out instead. The feeder’s doors will simply close on the pet and a notification will indicate that the pet has had its quota for the moment and needs to come back later for more. This doesn’t interfere with any other pets that are eating from this bowl.
- The feeder is low voltage – 7.5 volts to be exact. It also has provision for a battery back up. So in the event of a power failure, it will continue to work.
- If the feeder has backup batteries and there is a power outage, the feeder will switch to battery power and operate like nothing happened. If the outage is for a long time (more that 10 days for fresh batteries) the battery level will become low. When the low battery level is reach the feeder overrides the door control setting so that the doors are always open. So if the batteries completely die the pets are not locked out of the food. Brilliant!
- The feeder operates in conjunction with a very lightweight collar tag. Which only weighs 1/5 oz (6 gm). Further, it comes with specially measured collar rings to attach to the collar so that no other tags your pet may be wearing such as an ID tag and a microchip tag interferes with the operation of the feeder. And they are waterproof so should they end up in the water bowl when your pet drinks, there is no need to worry.
- N0 special training is needed as the tag is read as the pet walks up to the bowl and lowers its head to eat.
- There are numerous different door settings. For example, default open keeps the doors open until pet’s allowance or portion control exceeded. Default Shut means the doors will open if a pet with a tag has an available allowance or portion. It’s easy to change to suit your situation.
- The feeder also alerts if your pet has not reached its food quota for the day, which could be an indication that your pet is not feeling well.
Because of the two different food served, I have two feeders set up side by side to address these two very different diets. For them to work, it is simply a matter of locking Ziggy out of Fudge’s feeder and vice versa. It only took a couple of days for them to figure out which food bowl was theirs. Ziggy being a piggy still tries to access Fudge’s food, but the feeder swiftly locks him out!
The Wireless Whiskers® AutoDiet™ Feeder is indeed pet technology at its very best customizing each pet’s personal situation perfectly.
I must add that the feeder comes with a very comprehensive set-up guide. And it’s very well written and easy to follow which is a huge plus for someone who is technically challenged like myself. If you are simply looking to set up a feeder that gives each pet the correct portion control, once the AutoWizard has calibrated the correct amounts, there is nothing more to do done except decide on the door settings that best suit your particular needs. However, I thoroughly tested the various setting and can say that the feeder efficiently delivers on all the promises in the set-up handbook.
Another very typical situation in a multi pet household is a dog that insists on eating the cat food. Now, with this feeder and not giving the dog a collar tag, it will automatically be locked out. Another problem solved!
This feeder is for all cats and designed for dogs under 20 lbs in size.
For any pet parent who goes to a lot of trouble ensuring that their fur kid has the right diet for their nutritional needs, this feeder is without doubt a worthwhile investment to ensure they are actually eating their prescribed diet and exact amounts.
It has certainly changed mealtimes in my household. For the first time I have achieved what I thought was impossible – my cats eating the right diets and not eating each other’s food.
The Wireless Whiskers AutoDiet Feeder gets my Must Have Stamp Of Approval.
Product testers for this product was Fudge and Ziggy.