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Hi Guys,

I am new to the dogforums and I wanted to say hello and also get some feedback on an idea I'm working on.

I realize that dog owners should not be away from their dogs for long periods of time on a regular basis, but sometimes there are circumstances where it is necessary and an auto-feeder is a good tool.

I am designing an auto-feeder specifically for large breed dogs. All of the auto-feeders on the market currently seem very cheap and are not large-dog-proof. I have heard numerous sad stories of large dogs somehow getting into the food in their auto-feeder and passing away as a result.

The one I am designing is mechanically automated, durable, sturdy, safe, and most importantly, large dog-proof.

My questions are:

What would be your interest in an auto-feeder like this?

What do you think the FidoFeeder would sell for as described?

What features would be necessary to make it a success?

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

Eric
 

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A large breed dog would need a unit that was at least 2' off the ground, stainless steel and be able to hold a sufficient amount of food. For example my Great Dane as a younger dog ate 12C of food a day... so for it to have been worth my while it would have to hold several days worth. Large dogs slobber so the bowl would have to be removable for regular cleaning. It would really only be practical for a single dog household... esp. if you have a large breed "mosey on around and nibble throughout the day dog" and a "eat it all at once" dog... living together.

I personally wouldn't purchase a feeder... My dog needs to be let out way more than he needs to eat... so if someone is there to let him out, someone is there to feed him too. But that's just me :)
 

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Thanks so much for the feedback. I know what you mean about the two dogs, One of ours is a picky eater and the other will inhale anything put in front of her.

If your dogs were outside dogs would you be more interest?

Thanks again
 

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Well one of the quickest ways to notice health problems is that a dog does not eat food properly or amount dog eats. Not knocking your idea just no recommendation here.
 

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Thanks so much for the feedback. I know what you mean about the two dogs, One of ours is a picky eater and the other will inhale anything put in front of her.

If your dogs were outside dogs would you be more interest?

Thanks again
Even outside dogs need to be checked on regularly. Ideally they would have several hours of attention, exercise and training daily but lets assume the auto feeder was only needed on a very rare occasion when the owner is going to not be there for single meal. Well, it is likely cheaper to hire a dog walker for that one day or ask a friend to help.

Like Wvasko mentions, looking at how much the dog eats can be a first sign of health problems. Outside dogs should also be looked over well daily for cuts, scrapes, burrs, ticks etc. If you have more than one outside dog, one of them could eat all the food (being fed without supervision) or turn things into a dog fight over the resource of food.

Honestly, I hate the idea of auto feeders for dogs since they are simply encouraging people to leave the dogs unattended for too long and that creates both physical risk to the dog and emotional problems from lack of human contact and care.

Even animals that CAN be left alone longer, you still want to check on regularly. A friend of mine recently learned the hard way to check more often on her pastured horses (being boarded, where someone SHOULD have been checking on them daily) as one turned up with a very bad cut that was starting to get infected.
 

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Agree with everyone else. There is no reason for a dog to be left with no one to feed them as some arrangements should be made for letting them out, excerise, etc.

Plus there is no such thing as dog proof really. There is durable enough that some dogs can't or won't get into it but I'm 100% certain if my dog was left with something with food inside it unsupervised he'd make it his mission to get that food. He is strong enough and determined enough that he'd get it or really hurt himself trying.

So yeah, no interest from me.
 

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I am sure there is interest out... kennel breeders, outdoor hunting "houses" for large hound breeds...etc.

Now if you invented a multi level feeder... I'd be interested... LOL. So my Dane and Wheaten can have their own food and water dishes, at their height... next to eachother :)
 

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Well, we had an auto feeder for years for Lady and she did well on it, but the major problem is any time you store lots of food where dogs can get to it that we found was mold, we threw away lots of food so we couldn't really use it to store lots of food which was its purpose, we could only feed a few meals at a time through it.
2nd- its now stored in our garage and just two days ago a kitten got stuck inside it (I got her out though), and I know that if your dog is outside and the food is outside, mice and rats can get trapped too and die, a two way door is absolutely necessary so anything that goes in can go out too.
Just my two cents.
 

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Thanks so much for the feedback. I know what you mean about the two dogs, One of ours is a picky eater and the other will inhale anything put in front of her.

If your dogs were outside dogs would you be more interest?

Thanks again
Actually, I would highly advise against free-feeding outside. My dogs are all inside dogs, but one guards his bowl when eating (from other dogs, not me). I feed him outside. If he doesn't finish his meal by the time I leave for work, I pick up the dish and pour the contents back in my feed bin. This is because dirt and other contaminants can easily get into the bowl, and also because every ant in a 1-mile radius seems to flock to dog food when left outside for too long.
 

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I would think that an outdoor feeder would attract a lot of stray dogs, coyotes, raccoons, rodents, etc...

I think that the only situation where an automatic feeder is practical is with a single indoor dog. Multiple dogs will often fight over food, or the quicker dog will eat all the food leaving the other dog hungry while increasing his risk of health problems from over eating.

And also, it's really not that hard to feed a dog every day. Just scoop out some food into a bowl. It's probably the easiest dog related chore there is. I feed my dog a homemade raw diet and it's still pretty easy, so much so that I don't need any contraption or invention to help me out.

In situations like dog kennels, I'd honestly hope that the dogs get checked on individually at least once a day... and at least feeding the dogs every day give the kennel owner an excuse not to neglect his animals.
 

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In situations like dog kennels, I'd honestly hope that the dogs get checked on individually at least once a day... and at least feeding the dogs every day give the kennel owner an excuse not to neglect his animals.
Please do not call dog kennels that get checked on once a day dog kennels, those are concentration camps.
 

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As you found out on the forum you tried to get recommendations for on this product yesterday, GOOD dog owners are highly unlikely to have any use for an auto feeder. Do you really want to help make crappy owners lives easier and their dogs more miserable since they'd have even less contact? Crappy owners need to be educated so they can learn to provide their dog with the basic needs not have more gadgets invented so they can neglect their dogs even more.
 

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I know this is an older post, but I just wanted to throw this out there for your thought... I would consider myself a great dog owner and I have more use for an auto feeder that is really dog proof than anyone I know.

I have a diabetic JRT who also has Addison's disease. I have spent a year tweaking her schedule of insulin and feedings to get it down to an exact science. What finally worked for us, and has for the past 4 months, is a schedule where I feed her a wet/dry food combo and give her insulin at 6:00 pm and 6:00 am, which sounds easy. However, I have to follow her 6:00 pm food/injection with another wet/dry combo feeding between 1 - 1.5 hours later, and she gets another feeding of dry food at 9 am/pm. Considering the fact that I work full time and have a 3 year old, this can get difficult.

My dog is NEVER alone for long periods of time, no more than 8-9 hours while we are at work M-F, and I actually have a camera on where I can monitor her from my computer at work and my phone.

Days that make our schedule difficult are days like today. It is Saturday, so we will be here all day, but my entire family has plans to meet at the state fair later, at 5:30 pm actually. Now being a little late because of the feeding wouldn't be so bad, but I have to be here at feeding time, then wait no less than an hour to feed her again. We won't be gone more than a couple hours, but it just wont work. Considering my husband and I have been missing family dinners, birthday parties, gymnastics with my daughter, and much more for the past 4 months to accommodate this schedule for my dog, I wouldn't consider us bad owners. In fact I have friends that probably think we're bad parents.

So, the point of all that is, if you can find more people like me, then there probably would be some legitimate interest in something like you have mentioned. I don't know how many other people like me there are out there though. Most of the people that hear about our situation tell me they would have put her to sleep 3 years ago when she first got sick, but we didn't do that. She is 10 years old, so her time is probably limited anyway, but it would be a little easier on all of us if we could find a way to auto feed those 2 daily meals at their specific times.

I have tried some of the auto feeders out there that can hold wet food, but she manages to break into them all. Even though she is fairly small (20 lbs), there's not much limit to what a determined JRT can manage to open up. Which is part of the reason my searching led me to your post and the large dog proof part. We found an auto dry feeder that has helped a lot and she hasn't broken into yet, but her second morning and evening feeding has to be a mix of dry/wet. Also, I know many other diabetic pet owners (from forums) that use auto feeders for just dry food, and many of them with larger dogs have spent a lot of time finding something that could hold up to their dogs. In fact the one I have for my JRT has been destroyed by a few labs and larger dogs.

I'm not sure if what you were planning would work with canned food, but if you ever come up with something like that, I know I would love to hear about it. And even if it's just a dry feeder, there are at least a few VERY responsible owners who would love to have an auto feeder that can take some abuse form large dogs. These are not people that are bad pet parents or neglect their dogs at all, they could just use a little help meeting some pretty strict demands.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw this in here, because if someone has never been in that situation, they probably would never think about it. In fact, I saw auto-feeders in petsmart quite a few years ago and thought it had to be the dumbest thing ever - designed for someone like my neighbors whose dogs live outside 24/7-365 and have hardly any human contact. And many times I have wondered why the bad stuff that happened to my doggy couldn't have just happened to someone like them who wouldn't even have cared.
 
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