How to Make an Automatic Animal Feed System

Written by erin ringwald
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How to Make an Automatic Animal Feed System
Automatic animal feeders use gravity to keep a constant supply of food available for your pet. (Close up of dogfood and rewards. image by Saskia Massink from

Automatic animal food dispensers are used to feed your animal a continuous stream of food even when you are not around. Many pet owners use them when they will be gone overnight to prevent their dog or cat from becoming hungry, or having to use a friend or family member to feed them. Automatic feeders use gravity to force food into the awaiting bowl. You can finder feeders at your local pet store, but they can be expensive. The other option is to make your own at home and save some money.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 5 gallon water cooler bottle
  • Small plastic box, minimum measurements 6 inches by 8-1/2 inches
  • Marker
  • Dremel tool with spiral cutting attachment
  • Sandpaper
  • Dry animal food

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  1. 1

    Place the mouth of your 5-gallon water cooler bottle on the bottom centre of a small plastic box. Use a marker to trace the opening of the bottle. Use a dremel tool to cut the circle out and discard the cut-out piece. Use the spiral cutting attachment when cutting the hole. Smooth the hole out using sandpaper.

  2. 2

    Cut a hole in the side of the small plastic box. The cut should be on the top edge of one of the short sides. It should be a minimum of 3 inches long and 2 inches high. Use the dremel tool with the same attachment you used in step one. Use sandpaper to smooth the edges. This will be where the food passes from the bottle, to the small plastic box and finally into the feeding bowl where your animal can reach it.

  3. 3

    Turn the small box over so that the bottom is up. Place it inside a large plastic dishpan. Make sure the side with the hole cut out of the side is not pressed against the edge of the dishpan.

  4. 4

    Fill the 5-gallon jug with dry animal food. Insert the mouth of the water cooler bottle into the cut-out hole on the bottom of the small plastic box. Gravity will force the food out of the water cooler bottle and into the dishpan. As your animal eats, more food will fill the dishpan.

Tips and warnings

  • A 5-gallon water cooler bottle is the type of bottle you see on water coolers in offices. You can often purchase them at a grocery store or any other location that has spring water for sale.
  • Clean the inside of the water bottle, plastic box and dishpan periodically to prevent bacteria. To clean it, empty the entire device and then use soap and water. Allow the device to dry before reassembling and filling with food.

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