Microchip pet feeders are a niche type of automatic feeder – there aren’t a whole lot of them on the market (yet). In fact, there’s currently only one product that we can class as a true microchip feeder for pets, and that’s the SureFeed from SureFlap. And that’s the feeder which will be the focus of this review.
People who use and want one of these types of secure feeders have a specific purpose for it. And if that’s you, then this guide and reviews of microchip feeders for dogs will hopefully help make your decision easier!
What on earth is a microchip dog feeder and why would you use one?
These take automatic feeders to a new level. For a lot of people, it’s all about stopping the theft of food when you have several dogs and/or cats in the home – more food aggressive pets won’t hesitate to take more than their fair share, leaving the more timid dogs or those that are slower eaters with only a fraction of their meal!
Most of these feeders are suitable for both dogs and cats, so multi-pet households can conveniently make use of them.
What are the main benefits and uses of a feeder that operates via microchip?
- To ensure each dog gets their share of food
- To stop multiple dogs and cats in the same home stealing each other’s food – ideally, you would have one feeder dedicated to each pet
- If you have a dog on a special or prescription diet, you can make sure that only that dog will be able to access that food
- Overweight dogs can have their food consumption managed easier
- The same benefits as any other automatic feeder: namely that your pet can be fed when you aren’t home
How does it work?
The basic operation is simple: the feeder will only open for the dog that is wearing the microchip that you’ve programmed the feeder to work with. If you have 1 dog or 10 dogs, it doesn’t matter: every microchip is unique so you can customize your feeders for each individual dog.
What to look for
You might feel overwhelmed looking at all the features of some of the feeders, but if you have a good idea of your basic criteria and needs then it’s going to make your choice less complicated and less daunting!
How much food can it hold? Some feeders are only suited to small dogs, given the size of the meals they can store. This isn’t make or break though if you mainly want to use the feeder for snacks in between main meal times.
Type of Food – Dry and Wet Food
Some feeders only accept dry food, while others let you use wet food with features to help it stay fresh
How many dogs can use it?
Check how many microchips or tags the feeder will accept – some let you program more than 30 animals (more than most of us will ever need), while others are limited to just one or two.
This is an alternative to microchip identification and involves using a small tag on your dog’s collar. If you think you might want this option, check if a tag or collar comes with the feeder – usually they will come with one so if you need more, you may have to buy them separately.
What features does it have to stop a dog breaking in and stealing food?
Accessing the feeder outside of your programmed times is one of the most common complaints that people have with automatic pet feeders in general. Those that make it easy for a dog or cat to get a paw into are virtually worthless, as nothing will stop them stealing food. The best feeders will be solidly built to reduce and ideally, completely eliminate any possibility of unauthorized food access by your dog or other pets!
Types of bowls
Does the feeder use plastic, ceramic or stainless steel bowls? If you have a preference for one material over another, or wish to avoid plastic, this is one of the first features to look at because keeping the system clean is going to be essential not only for your dogs’ health, but also to avoid attracting ants.
Does the feeder run on batteries or mains power – or does it give you both options?
- You can use the SureFeed either with your dog’s microchip, or with the supplied RFID tag
- Up to 32 dogs can be identified and stored in the system
- Food capacity of 13.5 ounces / 400ml
- Both wet and dry food can be used
- Plastic bowls are provided, with stainless steel bowls available for purchase separately