Trusting An Auto-Feeder For Your Pet's Meals Could Be A Huge Mistake

Photo: Courtesy of PetNet.
Over half of our pets were overweight last year, says a 2016 study from the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine. As pet owners, that’s all on us. That's why automated feeders can be a lifesaver for both your pet’s weight and your schedule. Having a feeder that will dispense a specific amount of food at a certain time helps control portions and keeps everyone on a schedule. In this moment of peak smart-home technology, there has to be an app for that, right? After all, you can use an app to schedule your DVR to record Game of Thrones — so yes, you can indeed use an app to schedule feedings for your furry best friend. Which is great...until the system crashes.

Did your cat seem a little #hangry when you got home, despite the fact that you have a tricked-out automated feeder? You're not alone.

PetNet, the maker of just such a feeder, experienced a problem with its third-party servers last week, as reported by The Guardian. The system failure left some hungry pets in the lurch when it came to mealtime. The fact that this is prime vacation time makes the problem even worse. During the glitch, PetNet recommended users make sure that pets were fed "manually" until the issue was resolved. That's all well and good, but the point of an automated feeder is that owners can rely on it while pets are home alone.

This is the kind of problem that can happen to any auto-feeder when there is an interruption in service — and it's a nightmare for pet owners. You may find yourself in the lurch if the company doesn't notify you quickly enough or if you don't have a neighbor or nearby friend with a house key who can come over and feed your pet. It's also a worst-case scenario for pet owners who leave their animals at home while they're on a trip, expecting an auto-feeder to reliably dispense food in their absence.

The company says, via the PetNet support Twitter account, that all systems are back online and scheduled remote feedings are back to normal.

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