Generally speaking, feeding a dog or cat should be the easiest part of owning one. What happens though, when you need to place restrictions on when, what or how much your pet should eat? As if those conditions aren't tricky enough to deal with, what about when you have a multi-animal household and one member of your furry entourage requires special dietary restrictions?
Never fear, the DIY community has already undertaken the development of constructive solutions to your specialized animal feeding requirements.
Our friend Joshua Topolsky, over at Engadget turned up this interesting idea
for restricting a hungry dog from going into food bowls it should leave alone. The concept works by using radio frequency identification tags (RFID)
to trigger an "alarm" designed to scare his dog away from food bowls
he shouldn't be snacking in. When the dog comes into close proximity of the bowl, a sensor recognizes the RFID tag worn by the dog and triggers the alarm. The concept is simple and effective but I wonder if the dog had enough desire to eat that food, would the animal eventually become "immune" to the negative stimulus and approach the bowl anyway.
Another strategy which I've heard about is to restrict the bowl rather than the pet. Two good ways to do this are based on a similar concept to the bowl alarm system but both are a bit more animal friendly and I believe more effective for the long term. One way is to have a feeder unit set up containing the animal's specialized food and have it designed to release a pre-measured amount of food when the animal wearing RFID comes within range. The second, and possibly easier concept would be to have each animal's own food dish
available behind an individualized RFID actuated pet door.
The basics of this concept make for a large variation of applications and I challenge you to come up with your own unique solutions. Whether it's an RFID proximity sensor
or some other manner of individualized pet feeding
strategy used in a multi pet home, we would love to hear the interesting and effective solutions that you have come up with.