There are all sorts of pet smart gadgets on the market to encourage owners to keep an eye on, entertain or feed titbits to your pooch or cat. TheArf Pets Automatic is designed to help feed your pet while you’re away, with a timer-based approach and a minimum of frills to keep the costs down.
Designed for smaller dogs or cats, the Arf Feeder will dispense a pre-set amount of food at specific points during the day, ideal to keep the critter fed until you arrive back in the evening. While the dry food ir can dispense won’t replace their favorite meaty chunks or raw diet, it can help keep a pet happy and fed while the owner is out, and saving the good stuff for their return.
Other types of products come with built-in web cameras so owners can watch their pets, speakers to talk to them, and even laser spot pointers to help them play. The Arf Feedercomes with none of these, so is less smart than many, but the job it does do, it performs well.
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The Arf Feeder comes in a stylish black and white ABS plastic, it can be mains or battery powered, so can be used anywhere. A magnetic latch keeps the lid closed, however, it is not recommended for outdoor use. Measuring 14 1/2 inches tall, 9 1/2 wide by 11 deep, it can store over a gallon of biscuits. These are dispensed in 24 ml sprays of biscuits, with up to 10 doses per meal, so you can feed a cat little or often, or feed multiple pets just enough up to four times each day.
The controls are a set of pressure sensitive buttons on the top, with an LCD display to show what you’re setting up. You can also record a voice call to the pets to get them to come to the food dispenser and if you use it conjunction with a smart litter tray then it is possible to keep a cat happy for a few days if you need to go away on business, and don’t want to put a pet through the stress of a cattery stay or having someone come round to look after them.
Inside the unit, a motor turns a paddle that can move biscuits into the feeder tray. The feeder tray is easy to remove and keep clean, with a quick wipe, while the 5 pound unit is easy enough to store in a cupboard when not in use. If you’re worried about a power cut, then it takes three D-cell batteries which can take over in the event of the mains going out.
Pros of the Arf Pets Automatic
Many people have a small pet at home, and feeding them automatically can help people stay out longer, work or travel, all without worry. That’s about as much of a pro as you are getting from the Arf Feeder, it does nothing else to help interact or reassure your pet.
The mechanisms seem fairly reliable, although if you can get a slight tilt forward on the tray, then the biscuits will flow out more freely and not stack up, potentially avoiding any blockages. A plastic shield comes down after biscuits have been dispensed, to prevent curious cat paws getting into the hopper, while the magnetic lid should stop most smaller dogs from trying to tear into the store.
Should the motor get stuck, it will stop working, which might mean a rather hungry pet on your return, but at least the machine will be ready to go after a quick clean out. Keeping biscuits dry is essential to them working well in the Arf Feeder, as moist biscuits can stick together and jam the unit.
Cons of the Arf Pets Automatic
Our first concern is that there’s no way to wall mount the unit, or secure it to some sturdy furniture. That means more curious dogs can probably kick it around trying to get more food out, preventing it from working, and if there’s a larger, particularly hungry or forceful dog, it probably won’t take them too long to break in.
The five-foot power lead might also be a problem if you pets like to play or challenge each other near the food, it could come loose during some play. So, installing the batteries is probably a good idea, that will also help weigh the base down more.
Buyers might also want to know that it only uses a 24-hour clock, something it fails to mention in the manual, which may prevent any set up issues. Some users also report that bone shaped or other non-round biscuits are more likely to stick.
The Arf Feeder provides a neat solution for those who are often away from their little pets. It can provide the right amount of food reliably and regularly. As long as it and the biscuits and kept clean and dry, there’s no reason for it to jam.
This might be useful for anyone whose pet or pets acts as their most significant other. They can go to work and keep them fed and happy. Tie that in with a web camera and you can see them being fed, happy and can talk to the bestie to reassure them. However, there are various pet products that combine these features so you can do it all in one.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!