The Dog Has Been Fed


Active Member
Our do sometimes get fed twice in the morning because the person who fed her the second time does not know that she has already been fed. I would like to remedy this problem. I have the idea that I could put some type of weight sensor or something, underneath the food bowl, and it would trip when the food was put it. When it trips, it would essentially complete the circuit, and an Ocelot, or PowerFlash would send the signal to my computer, letting it know that food has been placed in the bowl.

Now, do you guys have any suggestions on how to detect if food has been placed in the bowl? I'd perfer fairly cheap solutions. :)
Here's an idea.

Plug a small nightlite into an appliance module say coded D1.

This is your "dog needs food" light.

Place the appliance module (D1) near the dog dish and place a credit card remote or big red button (KR15) also coded D1 near the bag of dog food.

Have your automation program switch on D1 1/2 hr before anyone gets up.

Whoever feeds the dog is responsible to turn off the "dog needs food".

If the light is on feed the dog ...if it's off don't feed the dog

ps....don't show the dog where this button is !!!
I know I'm the new guy here and not yet so addicted to HA, but determining if dog has been fed isn't necessarily a technology problem. How about 2 pieces of construction paper, one green, one red, taped to each other with a magnet between them.

Put it on the fridge/somewhere nearby the dog food. When you feed the dog, flip it.

I know this isn't foolproof, but then you'd have a dual systems failure:
1) Person forgets to flip the card
2) Person forgets they fed the dog.

Now if you decided you needed to send an SMS message to your cellphone
1) after (x) hours alerting you that the dog has not yet been fed,
2) or when the RFID indicates that you've moved the dogfood if the dog has already been fed,

then THAT would be a cool HA solution.
we put our dog's food in a big plastic rubbermaid bin. it's dark inside the bin when it's closed so we could put a hawkeye motion sensor in there. when it's opened, it detects light and sends a signal and it could also send a signal when it detects motion (the person opening the bin).
I like the idea of a "big red button" or maybe even a small keychain remote, but I would somehow try to attach it to the dog's bowl itself so it is sure to be pressed (don't have to remember to go and press the switch as it is right there on the side of the bowl).

Of course I am not rating the dog's intelligence as highly as Neil! :)
Thanks for the great ideas! I ended up using some adhesive strips and sticking a motion detector in the lid of the food bin.
Here's how I have it working: At two times during the day, HAL turns on the nite light by my dog's food bowls. When the food bin is open, it trips the motion sensor, and the light turns off. Also, if the bin is opened when the light is not on, the next feeding will be skipped (The light doesn't turn on). Now I have to see how well it works. ;)
How about tracking how much your dog is eating every day, mornings noon and night??

Phidgets has a USB scale, it is not sensitive enough for this job, but maybe the same thing can be done with some of their force sensors... Anyway. Weight of the food bowl is measured in the morning. When the weight goes down, consumption is logged, when weight goes up, baseline is reset and consumption measurements continue to feed to the logger...

Now you can say, "Oh the food bowl is empty, but he has eaten 2 pounds already..." or "Oh the food bowl is empty and he has eaten nothing all day and only 1/2lb yesterday, I'm gonna give him some extra."

Perhaps the USB portion of the Phidget scale can be adapted to a postage type scale that will give accurate sensitivy in the weight ranges of a dog bowl...