Although there are plenty of commercial dog feeders for sale in the market, a DIY dog feeder will still be the perfect solution if you want one that is fully customized for your dog. Your pet has his or her own unique needs which may not addressed accurately by most commercially available feeders and so it can be pretty difficult to scout the market for one that will perfectly address their needs.
Aside from that, it would also be a good idea to personalize your pet’s feeder by putting in it their name and creating a customized design for them.
A customized pet feeder provides a lot of benefits for your pet. It can address specific needs such as the ideal height for your dog especially since there are certain breeds which are much more prone to bloating if they have to stoop really low just to get their food. Aside from that, you can also create a DIY automatic dog feeder if you have to leave your dog at home for a few days or a week. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about your pet being regularly fed when they get hungry.
What types of materials can you use?
You can create your own pet feeder using either materials which are already available at your home or you can purchase these materials at your local hardware. Usually, you will need a frame to help elevate your dog’s feeding bowls to the desired height and a few pieces of stainless steel bowls with a lip that will fit inside them.
For the frame, you can go for old wooden boxes, crates, wooden table legs, plywood, and you can also use metal braces and pipes to create a sturdy frame.There are also different types of finishes for your pet feeder. You can use food-safe paint, tiles, glossed up wallpapers, or just let it as is. You may want to water-proof your feeder by applying several layers of urethane on the finishing. These are available from your local hardware and you have to study how to apply it if you want a good finish.
If you want a more dirt-proof finish then a tile finish would also be recommended although you may need some really good skills in tile-setting in order to accomplish this. The important thing to remember is that your pet’s food will be all over the place so you have to make it resistant to decaying food and water.
What tools will you need?
Some of the major tools that you will be needing are a jig saw, a drill, sanding paper or machine, some paint brushes, paint, and other decorative material that you would like to use. To create this type of project you will definitely need some skills in carpentry as well as in Mathematics.
You have to trace out patterns and create measurements in order to make the right fit for your dog. You need to determine the right height for your pet bowl which should be about six inches below their shoulder height.
This is the optimum height since it would not cause them to stoop to low or to crane their neck just to get their food. It helps eliminate the risks of bloating and provides for the efficient path of chewed food down the stomach. This also reduces the stress on their legs and backbone which provides an easier time for eating.
What are the steps in creating the pet feeder?
So when you have all the tools and materials that you would need, you will then be ready to create your own pet feeder.
The first step is to create the frame for your feeder and these are the steps to do it:
- Choose your desired materials for the feeder. So the first step is to decide which type of materials to use. If you want what is already available at home you can use an old wooden shelf, crate, a low stool or box that still is sturdy and reliable. If you want a metal frame, then you need to visit your local hardware and select pieces that would fit with the exact measurements for your pet feeder.
- Prepare the feeding platform. The first step is to find a surface that you would like to serve as the base or platform of the feeding bowl. You can choose a piece of plywood, an old piece of wood plank that is just sitting there in your workshop, an old crate or wooden box, or a stool with just the right height for your pet. What is important is that it should be wide and long enough to accommodate the size of the stainless steel pet food bowl that you have.
To prepare the base, simply trace out the outline of your bowl, turned upside down, on the surface that you choose to work on. After this, trace out a smaller circle inside by using the size of the actual diameter of the opening of your food bowl. Next, drill a hole inside the circle to serve as the initial hole with which you can start your jig saw. Then, using a jig saw, cut along the line of the smaller circle that you have made. Wipe off the saw dust from the platform and then sand the inner side of the hole to create a smooth finish.
- Create the frame. This will be the more difficult part of the job since it is the one that requires a lot of measuring, cutting, and nailing of pieces together. Now that you have your base, you need to create the frame either by attaching wooden legs on your base, by putting several pieces of metal pipes together, or by gluing and nailing the size of lumber that you would like to use as support for the platform.
Metal frames are often much trickier to assemble so you may want a professional’s assistance with that. If you choose to use a crate, then you don’t have to worry about creating the frame as it can stand on its own.
- Apply the finishing touches for your pet feeder. Now that you have created your frame, it would be time to do the finishing on the feeder. This can mean a lot of sanding, if you want a smoother surface, and painting in order to create a protective layer. After sanding, you can choose from staining, painting, or applying some decorative paper on the surface of the platform.
You can then apply the urethane finish to help keep it safe from moisture and other types of objects that can damage it. This would also be the time to apply any decorative touch to your feeder. You can paint in your pet’s name or put some decoupage but make sure that you do the latter right before painting the urethane finish.
- Put in your pet food bowls. This is the last step in creating your own dog feeder. The lip of the dog bowl will help to keep it in place and will also suspend the bowl from the hole that you have made. It is important that the entire body of the bowl can slide inside the whole except for the lip in order to keep it balanced and stable. An improperly fitted bowl can tend to slide out of balance from the hole and make it hard for your dog to eat.
You don’t want the lip of the bowl to be barely clinging on the platform as well. If this is the case, even a small amount of pressure from your dog’s mouth while eating can push the bowl to fall off the platform.
Here is a video which shows just how to create a raised pet feeder like this:
This is just one of the many ways in which you can create your own pet feeder. There are also other versions that you can create such as the automatic feeder made with a wooden box with a low siding and a large plastic container or small drum. Simply cut out two decent sized holes on the bottom part of the container preferably located on opposite sides.
Then take out a wooden box with siding or border where your dog can easily reach in and place the container inside it. Fill the drum or container with dry pet food and you now have your own automatic pet feeder. Here is a link to the tutorial for this pet feeder:
Creating your own pet feeder is an important way of taking care of your pet. Giving your pet a raised platform allows for better digestion and lesser risks of bloating which is one of the major causes of pet deaths. It also helps to create that bond with your dog as you do something that is made especially for him or her.
If you also happen to be leaving your dog for a few days, then it can be a good way to care for your pet by providing them with food while you are gone. As you can see this project is really easy and you can use materials that are already available at home.