This Arduino Feeds The Dog

Part of the joy of owning a dog is feeding it. How often do you get to make another living being that happy? However, sometimes you can’t be there when your best friend is hungry. [El Taller De TD] built an auto dog feeder using an Arduino and stepper motor. The video and links are in Spanish, but if your Spanish is rusty, YouTube’s caption autotranslation isn’t bad and Google Translate can help you with the web site.

The electronics are reasonably simple: an Arduino, a Bluetooth module, and a stepper motor driver. Mechanically, the motor and some PVC pipe are all you need. There’s a small phone application to drive the Bluetooth using App Inventor.

This would be a pretty straightforward first project and — of course — could be useful for any kind of animal. For dog use, we might have hardened the external wires and circuit boards a bit though. In addition there are plenty of things you could do in software, for example you could feed every 8 hours. It seems like you could add a sensor to tell when you are out of food, or perhaps if the food was not feeding for some reason.

We’ve looked at using App Inventor with Bluetooth before and it is pretty easy. We might have been tempted to go with Blynk to have more options for communication, but either way is pretty easy.

6 thoughts on “This Arduino Feeds The Dog

  1. I’m making one for my cat that uses the guts of a plastic ice spreader as a rotating platform so I can fit three separate meals in it. Hardest part is just moving the kibble around, it likes to get jammed up in every available space and stop it.

  2. With the food in the pipe that close to the ground, my dog at some point will destroy the pipe to get the food. I would make the pipe higher and have the food drop into a chute to minimize scattering around when it falls. The App Inventor sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kind of sad actually. The poor (but well fed) dog doesn’t get to interact with the human who gives him the food. Its the highlight of the day for my dog when I bring him food and I get to be part of it when I bring it. I wouldn’t want to give up on what may be the most important aspect of our relationship. My dog knows “the hand that feeds him” well and I think his affection and obedience comes partially from that, along with lots of gentle scritching, walks, and games. Machines are great for some tasks, but when interacting with pets, best to do it yourself. ….now to find a convinient tennis ball shooter, that would be OK. :-) Both the dog and I would love a good design there. :-)

    1. I seriously doubt that automatic feeder is the only food source, just insurance the dog gets food regularly. My dog spoiled on canned food and treats, the dry is sort of a snack or last resort. I’ve got to leave him home, while I’m working, can’t always take him everywhere I need to go either. Last summer, I spent 7 days in the hospital, unplanned, emergency surgery. He didn’t get regular attention at all, not even daily. Wasn’t an ideal situation, but we got through it okay. A dog door, and automatic water/food would have been nice for him, but not really ideal either. He’s a big Lab (70-80 lbs), dog door, would be big enough for humans, and anything else. Water and food, would depend on no power outage, or problems with the feed mechanisms. Best to be there to make sure his needs are taken care of, since it also lets you know if his ill or injured.

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