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The age-long debate about which animal makes a better pet – cats or dogs – has been fought over religiously throughout history. And if you’re like me, choosing one furry friend when you can experience the joys of both seems silly. So, I got myself a cat and a dog, not thinking of any possible problems until I realized one thing: dogs are greedy.
Dogs love any food, and a bowl of cat food is hard to resist.
As an owner, it’s extremely frustrating catching my dog eating my cat’s dinner on a daily basis, and if it’s frustrating me, imagine how the cat feels! So, I set myself a mission to find a solution so that my cat and dog could live harmoniously.
If you are also experiencing this problem and you want to know how to keep your dog out of your cat food, keep reading! What you’ll need is a dog proof cat feeder, and I’ve reviewed some of the best products available on the market, so you can find a simple solution so that both your pets can stay happy and healthy.
My Top Pick
The solution which I found works best for my cat and dog is the Sure Petcare Microchip Pet Feeder. I love this feeder as it only opens when your cat’s microchip is nearby, meaning all food stealing is put to a stop! Plus, it works for wet and dry food, which is an issue with some other dog proof cat feeders.
You can read the full review further down this article. This is quite a techy option, so I have also listed a whole host of other options, including high cat feeding stations, automatic feeders, and cat food enclosures, so you’re bound to find something that suits you!
Best Dog Proof Cat Feeders
Before I go through all my solutions and ideas to keep cat food away from a dog, I want to let you know what features I was looking for in my dog proof cat feeder. Yes, stopping your dog from eating cat food is the most important! But there are also several other things I was looking for on my search.
- Dog Proof: It’s an obvious one, but the cat feeding station has to successfully keep my dog out of the cat food. I didn’t mind how it did this – whether that be a cat feeder with collar sensor, an elevated food bowl, or a cat food enclosure – as long as it kept my dog out successfully, I was happy.
- Material: Cats are going to be eating from whichever bowl you buy, so the material must be non-toxic and safe for cats. Plus, durable material is best as it will last longer without needing to be replaced.
- Type of Food: Whereas you can easily put wet and dry food into a regular cat bowl, some automatic cat feeders or more technical pieces of kit only take dry food. I feed my cat both kibble and wet food, so finding a feeder that was versatile and could take both was important to me.
- Easy to Clean: Both to make my life easier, and to ensure the bowl remains as safe and hygienic as can be for my cat, I also wanted a feeder that was easy to clean.
With all of these things taken into consideration, here are my favorite dog proof cat feeders to stop your dog from eating your cat’s dinner!
1. Sure Petcare Microchip Cat Feeder (Best All-Rounder)
As the name suggests, this is a collar activated cat feeder. The food is stored in bowls which are then enclosed by an airtight compartment, which will only open in response to your cat’s microchip. This means there’s no way your dog will be able to sneak any food not intended for them. Is your cat not microchipped? No worries – they also have an RFI collar tag included which works the same way.
The transition to this cat feeder is also straightforward as there is a training mode available that closes the lid in stages. This will help any timid cats get used to the movement of the closing doors, while still helping to keep your dog out.
I also rate this dog proof cat feeder as it can hold both wet and dry food, and one of the bowls is split into two half bowls so you can even serve wet and dry food simultaneously! Plus, as the design is airtight it helps to keep the food fresher for longer. If you have a cat that likes to graze rather than eat in one sitting, this is extremely useful.
If I had to find something to complain about with this bowl, it would be the price. It doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re looking for a successful solution, it’s well worth the money. Also, the feeder does require batteries to operate, which aren’t included and will be a small ongoing cost.
Also, although safe for cats, the dishes included are made from plastic. This is perfectly safe for cats, but I personally prefer using stainless steel or ceramic dishes as these don’t absorb odors and will not harbor as many bacteria. However, you can purchase stainless steel dishes that fit this feeder if this is a concern to you.
- Come with an RFI collar tag or can be microchip activated
- Only opens when your cat’s tag is nearby, keeping your dog out
- Can hold both wet and dry food
- Has airtight storage to help keep food fresher for longer
- Offers a training mode for an easy transition
- Recommended by veterinarians
- Comes with a three-year warranty
- More expensive than other products
- Required batteries that are not included
- Bowls provided are plastic, but stainless steel ones are available to purchase
2. Casfuy 5-Meal Automatic Cat Feeder (Best Automatic Cat Feeder)
While this is not 100% dog proof, the feeder works by dispensing up to five small meals per day. The small portion sizes are likely to deter your dog from trying to steal the food. Besides, if your dog is constantly munching on your cat’s leftovers, the smaller portions will likely mean there is none left over for them to gobble down.
Obviously, this does come with some limitations. Confident dogs can still bully your cat out the way and eat their food, or if your cat isn’t hungry or there to eat their food, your dog may get lucky. However, it still does a great job at reducing the amount of cat food your dog eats.
Automatic cat feeders are also great for other reasons. They help to control portion sizes to help ensure your cat maintains a healthy weight, are enclosed to keep your cat’s food fresh, and timers can be set for when the food becomes available, helping to establish a feeding routine.
You can also fill the compartments with wet or dry food to ensure your pet is diversely fed, and the tray is completely removable to make cleaning easy. I also rate that this automatic cat feeder plugs into the mains, as you won’t need to worry about replacing batteries. However, if you don’t want to have a cable across the floor, it also works on battery power – choose whichever you prefer!
- Releases small portions regularly to stop your dog from stealing leftovers
- Can store both wet and dry food
- Enclosed design help to keep food fresher for longer
- Convenient for when you’re out of the house
- Allows accurate potion control
- Tray removable for easy cleaning
- Dual powered and can run from batteries or the mains
- Confident dogs could still steal food
3. K&H Mount Up & Away Kitty Diner (Best Budget Option)
This bowl has a suction cup attached, meaning you can easily fix it onto a window to keep it up and away from your dog. However, your cats are comfortable up high and should soon adapt to their high cat feeding station. Of course, you need to ensure there is a shelf or window ledge positioned at an appropriate height below the bowl, but once you’ve figured this out, the rest is simple!
I also love that this bowl is made from stainless steel, as it is more durable than plastic and scratch-resistant. This makes it easy to clean too as even after you’ve had the bowl for a while, the surface will be smooth and easy to wipe clean. The bowl also removes from the holder, so you don’t have to stick and unstick the bowl before and after each use.
This is also a really innovative idea, providing such a simple solution to a common problem. Because you are just purchasing a bowl and a wall mount, it is also by far the cheapest way to stop your dog from eating your cat food.
If there is one complaint I have it is that the bowl is mounted using a suction cup. While this is useful in that it can easily be moved around and placed wherever is convenient, if the surface isn’t smooth or completely clean, the bowl could fall.
- Most affordable solution
- Dog proof by elevating higher than your dog can reach
- Mounts to the wall by a suction cup so can easily be moved
- Stainless steel bowl which is durable and hygienic
- Can hold wet and dry food
- Bowl is detachable and super easy to clean
- The suction cup could fall off if not applied properly
4. Sweet Barks Cat House Side Table (Best Enclosed Cat Feeding Station)
These cat houses are a great way to create a physical barrier between your cat food bowls and your greedy dog! This box has a small cat-shaped entrance hole that is small enough for your cat to climb in and out of but is too big for most dogs. That being said, smaller dogs could get through the hole, so this is only effective for larger breeds.
The front of the cabinet also completely opens just like a regular cupboard, so you can easily open the door to place, refill, or remove the cat bowls. You won’t need to worry about your pets working out how to open the door though, as there is a magnet in place to keep it closed.
I also love that these cat houses are super stylish and elegant, and you can use this as a coffee table or in the corner of a room for an extra surface. This product is also made from durable wood, so it’s long-lasting and easy to clean by simply wiping down the surface. What’s more, there are three colors to choose from to suit your home décor.
The only minor downside is that an enclosed cat feeder like this does take up more space in your home, as the enclosure measures 19 inches by 20 inches. This is because your cat needs to have enough space to eat comfortably and move around in. Also, for that reason, this enclosure isn’t great for large breeds such as Maine Coons, but is large enough for the majority of cats.
- Acts as a physical barrier to keep your dog away from cat food
- Looks stylish and elegant in your home
- Provides an extra surface to store items
- Magnetic door to keep it shut
- Cute cat-shaped entrance hole
- Made from durable and easy-to-clean wood
- Not suitable for large cats
- Does take up a fair bit of floor space
- Will not be dog proof for small dogs that can fit through the entrance
5. Pioneer Pet SmartCat Feeder (Best Puzzle Bowl for Cats)
This bowl has holes in the side that your cat has put their paws into and find the right spots to reach their food. Large dogs won’t be able to use their paws to reach the pieces of food, and most will also get frustrated with the puzzle and deterred from eating. However, your cats will love the mental stimulation, and it will encourage your cats to slow down and eat at a healthier pace.
That being said, this bowl may only be successful for a limited amount of time, as dogs could learn that they could get the food from picking it up and shaking it, and small dogs may be able to reach their snouts into the holes and steal some kibble.
On a more positive note, I love that this bowl is made from ceramic, a great option as it is durable, safe for cats, and more hygienic than plastic alternatives. The design is also clever as you can easily pour food into the top rather than trying to awkwardly insert it from the sides. That being said, this feeder only works for wet food, so it isn’t for everyone.
- Successfully deters dogs from eating your cat’s food
- Helps to reduce your cat’s feeding speed
- Provides your cat with mental stimulation
- Made from high-quality ceramic that is durable, safe, and hygienic
- Only suitable for dry cat food
- Small dogs may be able to reach the kibble
- Dogs may crack the puzzle over time
Dog Proof Cat Feeder Buying Guide
These products are all great at preventing your dog from eating your cat’s food. However, to decide which one is best for you, here is a handy buying guide to help you choose the right product.
Dog Proof Method
As you have seen, there is a range of different products you can purchase to dog proof your cat bowls, and which one works best for you is down to personal preference and your unique needs. Here are the different ways you can dog proof your cat bowls and what situations they work and don’t work in, to help you find the most appropriate one.
- Cat Feeders with Collar Sensors: A cat feeder with collar sensor will work for any situation, for any cat, and for all breeds of dog. However, they are expensive and also require an ongoing cost of batteries, so are not the best option if you’re on a budget.
- Automatic Cat Feeders: These can help to reduce how much cat food your dog eats by providing smaller portions at once, but they are not 100% dog proof cat feeders and confident dogs could still get all the food.
- High Cat Feeding Station: This will also work to keep any dog away from your cat’s food, but does require you to have a suitable shelf or ledge for your cat to climb up to eat. They’re also extremely affordable.
- Enclosed Cat Feeding Station: Placing your cat’s food bowls in a cat house or other enclosed space is great to keep large dogs out of your cat’s food. However, they won’t be successful in deterring small dogs from gobbling up your cat’s dinner and aren’t great if you’re short of space.
- Cat Puzzle Bowls: Some puzzle bowls, such as the one I recommended, can keep dogs away from the cat’s food while simultaneously slowing down your cat’s eating pace and offering them mental stimulation. However, this won’t be successful for small dogs, and your dogs may crack the puzzle over time.
The material of your dog proof cat feeding station is also essential, both for your cat’s health and to ensure the bowls last a long time.
Stainless steel bowls are great as they are extremely durable and designed to stand the test of time. They also won’t get scratched easily over time like plastic bowls can, which makes cleaning more difficult, and bad bacteria and germs can flourish in these narrow scratch marks. However, plastic bowls are still a good option as long as they are non-toxic and BPA-free. You may just have to replace them more regularly if you notice them become scratched or broken.
Ceramic bowls are another option, but there are no automatic cat feeders, wall-mounted elevated cat feeders, or collar activated cat feeders that come with ceramic bowls. However, if you want to use ceramic dishes, try creating an enclosed cat feeding station using the cat house as then you can choose any dishes you like! Or, the ceramic cat puzzle bowls are a great option.
Type of Food
All of the products I have recommended in this article, aside from the cat puzzle bowl, are suitable for both wet and dry food. This is important to me as I like to feed my cat a varied diet of wet food and kibble.
However, some automatic cat feeders on the market only take dry food. If you do only feed your cat dry food, then this isn’t an issue. However, if your feed your cat wet food at all, always check that the feeder can handle it and ensure you use an automatic wet cat food feeder.
Why Should You Stop Your Dog Eating Cat Food?
Whereas I find it extremely frustrating when my dog eats cat food, some pet owners find it funny! However, you do need to stop your dog from eating cat food or it could cause several issues, which I’ll run through now.
Although dog food and cat food may look similar, they are comprised of different nutrients and are designed to be the best option for the specific pet they are intended for. While your dog is unlikely to become seriously ill from eating cat food, it can cause them to have an upset stomach.
For example, cat food contains much more fat and protein than dog food, which has much higher levels of carbohydrates. This means their digestive system could struggle to cope with this change in nutrients they are eating, causing them sickness, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Because cat food is not intended to be consumed by dogs, there is also the chance that your dog could be allergic to something in the cat food. Allergies can be caused by a range of substances, so anything in the cat food – from colorings to corn – could trigger an allergy in your dog. Allergic reactions can be severe, so are best avoided at all costs.
If your dog is eating more than the food you’ve carefully portioned out for them, there is a chance of weight gain and obesity. However, as cat food is extremely nutrient-dense, especially wet cat food, it can very easily lead to obesity if they regularly gobble down your cat’s dinner.
Obesity can act as a risk factor for many serious health conditions, such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The onset of arthritis may also occur earlier as their joints will be bearing a heavier weight than they are designed to. You must feed your dog the right quantity of food to prevent them from becoming overweight and issues like this developing.
4. Cat’s Wellbeing
As much as your dog gaining weight is an issue, your cat’s health and wellbeing are also at risk. If your dog is munching down your cat’s dinner, your cat won’t be getting the nutrients that they need. This could lead to nutritional deficiencies, or your cat could become underweight and weak.
If your dog is constantly stealing your cat’s dinner, it can also easily lead to pet-on-pet conflict. Whereas some timid cats will just step to the side and go hungry, others will cause a fight and both animals could potentially be injured.
The conflict will also last much longer than simply at mealtimes, and tension can grow between your two furry friends and affect all areas of their life. They may not be comfortable being in the same room as each other, act aggressively towards each other consistently, and if things get really bad, you may have to choose to give one of your pets away.
How Else Can I Stop My Dog Eating Cat Food?
While buying any of the products reviewed in the article will effectively stop your dog from eating your cat food and allow your pets to live together harmoniously, you may not find an option you’re happy with. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! Here are a few other tips and tricks you could try instead.
1. Homemade Dog Proof Cat Feeder
If you can’t find a dog proof cat feeder that you’re happy with, why not trying to build a homemade dog proof cat feeder instead? There are a few different DIY dog proof cat feeders you can try, so there’s bound to be one to suit!
DIY Elevated Cat Feeder
If you like the idea of creating a high cat feeding station but aren’t a fan of any products available, you can easily make one by placing your cat’s food bowl on a high surface.
The kitchen counter is not ideal as this isn’t hygienic, but a high table or wall-mounted shelf can work well. Commercially manufactured cat shelves are available, but you can also just use regular shelves and place the bowls on top. Use your imagination – any raised platform that is too high for your dog to reach will work.
The only thing to bear in mind is that your cat could knock the bowls off the raised surface when they are eating from them. Therefore, it is wise to use non-slip bowls with a rubber base to help prevent this, and avoid ceramic bowls that could smash and break if dropped from a height.
DIY Enclosed Cat Feeding Station
You can also make a DIY dog proof cat feeder using a cage or container to place your cat’s bowl in, and ensuring the entrance to get in and out is only large enough for your cat to fit through. Of course, this will only work if your cat and dog are different sizes.
The container you choose could be anything! A plastic box is a great and cheap option. As long as it is larger enough for your cat to comfortably fit inside then it will work just like a cat house – simply cut a hole in the top or side, sand it down so there are no sharp edges, and start placing your cat’s food bowls in there.
These homemade exclusion feeders may not look as elegant and sophisticated as a shop-bought wooden cat house, but they do the job just as well.
2. Feed Your Pets in Separate Rooms
An obvious solution is also to simply feed your cat and dogs in separate rooms. It seems simple, but it is effective! If your dog does not have access to the cat’s food, then they cannot eat it! However, if your cat doesn’t eat their food in one sitting, it can be slightly harder to orchestrate, as it could mean shutting your cat in a separate room for an extended period while they finish their meal.
That being said, you can easily solve this issue by purchasing an adjustable door latch designed to hold your door closed so that dogs cannot get into a room, but that holds the door open wide enough for cats to squeeze through. This is great at keeping persistent dogs out and means your cat can come and go, eating their food as they wish.
There are also pet gates available on the market which are built like dog gates but have a smaller gate built into the main one which acts like a cat flap, allowing your cat to come and go as they wish. However, these are only effective if your dog is larger than your cat, ensuring they cannot fit through the flap.
3. Train Your Dog
It is also possible to train your dog to stop eating your cat’s food. To do this, you first need to make it obvious to your dog that there is a difference between their food, and your cat’s food – and to be fair to them, it probably is quite difficult to tell the difference!
Make sure the food bowl for your cat and the food bowl for your dog are distinguishable from each other. You could do this by using bowls of different sizes, different colors, and different materials. You could also try placing a feeding mat underneath one of the bowls. Placing the two different bowls on opposite sides of the room can also help your dog learn what is theirs and what is not.
Once you’ve got two bowls that look different and can be distinguished, teach your dog the command “Leave”.
To do this, follow these steps:
- Place a treat on the floor and hold your hand over it to hide it from your dog. Let your dog try to take it, ensuring that they don’t succeed. Once they give up, reward them with a fresh treat, ideally one of higher value than what you’ve got on the floor.
- Keep repeating step one until your dog ignores the covered treat. Once they’re happy with this, try going through the same process but don’t hold your hand over the treat. If your dog goes for the treat, hold your hand back over it quickly so that they cannot grab it. Once your dog sits back and ignores the treat, you can again reward them with another better treat.
- The next step is to repeat the process standing up, using your foot to cover the treat if needed. If your dog is not going for the treats on the floor then you’re nearly there!
- The final step is to add in the “Leave” command. Before you drop the food on the floor, say the command to your dog and, if the food is ignored, reward your dog with a treat. After repeating this several times, your dog will understand the meaning of the command.
Having taught your dog “Leave”, you can place cat food in your cat’s bowl as normal and wait for your dog to come and see what’s on offer. As soon as your dog is nearby, use the “Leave” command and reward with a treat if they don’t attempt to eat the cat food. You can do this daily and, after several successful attempts, can stop providing treats.
4. Don’t Leave Food Out
You can also stop your dog from eating cat food by not leaving any cat food out. If your cat has its head in its bowl, most dogs will leave the food be, only gobbling up the leftovers. Therefore, establishing a set routine for your cat and taking any remaining food away after your cat has finished eating could be all that is needed.
You may be worried if you have a cat that likes to graze throughout the day that they won’t be eating enough. However, if you feed your cat at set times each day and stick to taking any leftover food away, they will soon learn to eat when you first put the food down.
Q: How do I keep the dog from eating the cat’s food?
A: You can try feeding your cat and dog in separate rooms so that your dog doesn’t have access to the cat food. Pet gates or adjustable door latches are great to help with this. Alternatively, you can purchase a dog proof cat feeder that can be enclosed, elevated, automatic, or collar activated which all help to keep your dog away from your cat’s dinner.
Q: What is the best dog proof cat feeder?
A: In my opinion, the best dog proof cat feeder is the Sure Petcare Microchip Pet Feeder. This is a collar activated cat feeder that will only open when your cat’s microchip is nearby, meaning your dog won’t be able to access and eat food that isn’t theirs.
Q: What are the different types of dog proof cat feeders?
A: There are several types of dog proof cat feeders. Cat feeders with collar sensors are one option as they only open when your cat’s specific microchip or collar tag is nearby. You can also use an elevated feeding station which your cats can reach, but is too high up for your dog. Or by creating an enclosure around your cat’s food your dog won’t be able to reach it! There are plenty of options available.
Q: Can I make a DIY dog proof cat feeder?
A: Yes! Homemade dog proof cat feeders can easily be made by elevating your cat’s bowls to a surface that your dog cannot reach. Alternatively, try creating an enclosure to surround your cat’s food bowl, such as a plastic box with a hole cut in the side.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
If you have both a cat and a dog, it is so important that your dog doesn’t gobble down your cat’s food. You need to ensure both your cat and dog remain a healthy weight, get the right nutrients from their diet, and that no severe health problems arise. Plus, for your cat and dog to live happy and stress-free lives together, they can’t be arguing over dinner!
Regardless of which way you stop your dog from eating cat food – be that purchasing a dog proof cat feeder, feeding your pets in separate rooms, or training your dog – it is important you find a solution that works. This article has run through a range of possible ways to keep your dog out of the cat’s food, so choose one that best suits you, your pets, and your home, and everyone can live together harmoniously.