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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
Programmable meal times
Up to 12 meals per day
Customizable meal size
Most parts dishwasher safe
Expensive compared to other automatic feeders
Cannot feed multiple pets
Not completely cat-proof
Power adapter not included
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed is the most versatile automatic feeder on the market with programming options that allow it to be used for pets of every size.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed is an automatic pet feeder that has programming options to meet every pet owner’s needs. Its design is pet-proof and works with most types and sizes of pet food, and the batteries last approximately one year. The high price might not be worth it if you simply need to feed a small cat or dog on a schedule, but if you need the programming options to control your pet’s weight or how quickly they eat, this feeder offers more than any other.
With a 19-by-9-inch footprint, the PetSafe Healthy Pet takes up as much space as an average coffee maker. Whether you want to feed your pet on a countertop, in a corner or hidden underneath a table, the machine is small enough to stay out of the way. The sliding latch lid is made of dark, translucent plastic, so remaining food is visible without having to open the feeder. We had no problem disassembling the machine for cleaning. The conveyor belt should be cleaned with a toothbrush, but all of the removable parts such as the lid, the hopper, the bowl, and the plastic bowl holder are top-shelf dishwasher safe.
The feeder comes with a removable stainless steel bowl that fits into the plastic bowl holder to keep it in place. Plastic bowls can cause allergy-related acne in pets, so stainless steel is a thoughtful consideration.
For people who prefer to plug the machine in, a power adapter is available for under $15.
Most pet bowls we tested worked with the machine, but certain slow-feed bowls were too far away from the chute for food to land in them. The chute is also not capable of filling two separate bowls, something that people with multiple cats might find undesirable. Fortunately, this pet feeder is so popular that people have made aftermarket fitters allowing it to be used with two or three pets.
Four D-cell batteries will power the machine for approximately one year. A battery life indicator on the LCD screen offers peace of mind to users who might worry about batteries dying while they are away. For people who prefer to plug the machine in, a power adapter is available for under $15. We found the convenience of moving the machine without having to repeat the setup steps to be preferable. If you opt to purchase a power adapter, batteries should still be used as backup power during trips in case of an outage.
Inside the top of the box is a helpful chart explaining the five buttons and multiple modes of feeding. The first time the machine powered up it initiates a setup process that is unintuitive even with the help of the chart. After setting the clock to twelve or twenty-four hours and inputting the time, users can choose from two preset meal options.
The preset Dog option dispenses two 2-cup servings per day, an amount of food suitable to a dog larger than 80 pounds despite the company’s suggestion that the feeder is only suitable for medium-sized dogs or smaller. The Cat option is more reasonable, feeding 1/2 cup per day. Most users will probably need to create a custom setting. We had to refer to the manual several times and found it confusing to exit the menu. After the feeder is programmed, the button interface can be locked to prevent pets or children from accidentally changing the settings.
Food is dropped through a flipping door at the top of a conveyor. The conveyor goes to the very bottom of the hopper, ensuring that the feeder will use almost all of the food before needing to be refilled. We tested the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed for hundreds of meals and never experienced a jam with either dog food or cat food.
Anyone with an automatic pet feeder knows that their cat will take advantage of any design flaw that allows them to feed themselves. Persistent cats may be able to reach up inside the machine and move the conveyor to release food. Those who can’t reach the conveyor may still scrape their paws against the plastic ledge inside the machine. We didn’t experience this problem in testing, even with a cat who explored every inch of the machine. We recommend this feeder as pet-proof but suggest supervision until you know if your pet is going to try to break into it.
We tested the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed for hundreds of meals and never experienced a jam with either dog food or cat food.
There are some automatic feeders on the market that allow you to record a message to call your pets at meal time, but the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed is so loud that there is no way a pet wouldn’t hear it dispensing food. We timed each serving at 3.75 seconds. We had no complaints about the noise testing with a cat who only eats a single serving that size twice per day, but if the machine was used to dispense a full cup, it would make thirty seconds of continuous noise. This isn’t enough to keep us from recommending the feeder, but it might factor into the decision about where the machine is kept.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet has the largest food storage compartment of any automatic feeder on the market. We were able to feed a small cat for four months without refilling, and the airtight lid ensured that the food would remain fresh. A medium-sized dog should be able to eat for nearly two weeks from the full hopper.
Features are where the PetSafe Healthy Pet stands out from the competition. The Slow Feed mode allows meals to be dispensed in 1/8-cup portions every fifteen minutes, which helps prevent pets from eating too quickly and becoming sick. While this is useful for most pets, we found that it was not useful for small cats whose meals might not be much larger than a single portion.
Immediate Feed allows the user to dispense the next meal instantly, perfect for when you arrive home to hungry pets. Pause Feed stops food dispensing until the user unpauses the machine, but the scheduled settings are maintained. You can stop the feeding while your pet is kenneled, traveling with you, or fasting before surgery and then easily resume your routine afterward.
This automatic feeder is one of the more expensive ones on the market, ranging from $120 to $140 (MSRP). If you want a pet feeder that gives you a lot of control over feeding amounts, times, and speeds, the PetSafe Healthy Pet is worth the price. If you only need a pet feeder that dispenses food at the appropriate times, you can save a significant amount of money with other options.
With a year of battery life and optional power adapter, this feeder has everything you could want as long as you’re willing to pay for it.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed is a unique pet feeder at its price point so there are few direct comparisons. For around $190, the PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder is Wi-Fi-enabled with an app for iPhone and Android, which allows the user to monitor their pet’s eating. This level of connectivity brings peace of mind to some, but for most users is unlikely to be worth the substantial price increase over the base model.
Cheaper alternatives in the $70-90 range include the PetSafe Six Meal Automatic Feeder, which requires more frequent refilling and isn’t compatible with a power adapter. The Arf Pets Automatic Feeder has an included power adapter, an impressive 18-cup capacity, and has a more attractive and sleek design.
Good for pet weight control and vacations.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed is a pet feeder we highly recommend for anyone who needs to be careful about the amounts and times they feed their pets. This feeder boasts the largest capacity of any automatic feeder on the market, so for small or medium pets, a single fill can last weeks or even months. With a year of battery life and optional power adapter, it has everything you could want as long as you’re willing to pay for it.