Calibrate Your Pet’s Automatic Feeder

Does your pet eat from an automatic feeder?

Our Martha does, and I’d previously discussed a problem with it getting out of adjustment and “shorting” her twice-daily meals.

Frankly, I misinterpreted the initial signs: licking Pearl’s Prescription Diet t/d, sitting by the feeder for long periods before each scheduled feeding, and, eventually, weight loss.

Fearing the worst, I violated the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and feared diabetes and kidney disease as the cause of her weight loss.

Fortunately, laboratory tests showed that she had minimal kidney disease for a 15-year-old, no diabetes and no other metabolic disease.

It was then that I cast a critical eye at the actual volume of food in the “bowl” portion of the feeder. The pile of food  seemed a little small.

Amazingly, within a few weeks of making an adjustment to the feeder Martha quit “living” next to it, quit trying to eat dog food and began to fill out.

Just this week I noticed her hanging out at the feeder more, and for the first time in months she was in Pearl’s food bowl again. A quick test cycle confirmed that the feeder was, indeed, again out of adjustment.

I doubt that this problem is peculiar to our brand of feeder, and it would not surprise me that some feeders might err in the opposite direction when becoming discalibrated, overfeeding your pet.

So, I have set up a reminder in my computer, and recommend that you do the same, to routinely check the output volume of the feeder every six months.

Obesity and starvation are preventible problems for pets, and a little vigilance can prevent both.

See you Monday, Dr. Randolph.

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