Sensor to detect when food is put in dog bowl

Is anyone on here tracking when they feed their dog? I’d like to get this information to inform the family so we don’t make him a chub.

Any recommendations or possible hardware direction? I’m open to creating my own sensors.

Picking it up to clean (both it and the floor) would be a problem.
How many times a day do you feed ?
We feed twice but would also work for young dogs on 3 a day
Weigh out a whole days worth at the first meal
So if there is no food on the side then first meal hasn’t happened
If there is then first meal has happened, then they decide if its time for 2nd or third and divy up accordingly
Manual and old school :+1:

We also feed treats from same bowl, keeps calorie intake fixed (dogs can’t add up)

I’m not too worried about the logic, just need to know what hardware is out there

Infra-Red won’t work, even if focused (aimed straight at bowl) our dog checks that you didn’t put more food down about every 20 mins
conductivity would require wet food (we use kibble) and how long does dog saliva hang around ?
weigh scales would be all over the place from the impact of the food, steady weight and variances whilst eating and the subsequent “just checking my bowl out”
The best I can offer is have a sliding flap that you can train your dog to push back and monitor that
(it’d be more about when you close the flap that says food has been put down)

I use a Ecolink door/window switch on the lid of the bin where we keep his food. That way we know when we open it to refill his bowl.

It was easier to put it here versus something on the bowl.

If he’s not fed in the morning by 9am or evening by 7pm we get alerts. If the food bin is opened more then 2 times in a day I flash the pantry light (where the food bin is located).

Seems to work well

Hmm, this I can do. Not a bad idea!

I do almost the same as jwelter but use tilt sensor on a top opening lid. I have tried using vibration sensor glued to underside of bowl and it did detect when dry food was added but it was not 100% reliable.
The bin detection has been.
Next job is add an ultrasonic detector to measure when I need to order more food.

Interesting. I suppose a contact sensor could work.
I always buy 40 lb bags and they eat 3 cups, which is about 25 days, so I can easily set it up for a reminder every 20 triggers.


As Tom pointed out on an other thread, Ultrasonics are not good for dogs.
It will bug the hell out of them.
@Kayhold 's suggestion is better, or, as you could hide the thing under a small box/platform put scales under it, again as per @Kayhold (double tag :rofl: )

And Petro: what happened to KISS ???

The reminders aren’t for myself. It’s more for communication between my wife and I. We have wildly different schedules on some days and we always have to ask if the other has fed the dog. Would be nice to have an automated message. Sometimes her and I can’t reply because of meetings and such. And our dog is sneaky and will pretend like he hasn’t been fed.

This is my solution. What you can see from the code is that we have a dash button on the dog food that turns off the light. The dash button turns on the input Boolean.

I also have it exposed to voice control so it can be done that way too.

The dash button will be dead eventually and there are no more replacements. I have been thinking of putting a zwave tilt sensor on the lid as a replacement. A bit more automated.

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I’m thinking the tilt sensor is the way to go.

The Xiaomi one I use works fine. I detect tilt and vibration as well just incase the tilt is not detected.

I put a door sensor on the closet door where the dog food is stored. The same could be done by placing a door sensor directly on the lid one of those plastic dog food containers.

MQTT is required. The MQTT sensor will contain a timestamp of when the door/lid was last opened.

  - platform: mqtt
    name: "Dogs Fed"
    state_topic: "homeassistant/dogs_fed"

Now create an automation to publish a timestamp into the MQTT topic the sensor is listening.

- alias: Dogs Fed Timestamp
    - platform: state
      entity_id: binary_sensor.dog_food
      from: 'off'
      to: 'on'
        seconds: 15
    - service: mqtt.publish
        topic: "homeassistant/dogs_fed" 
        payload: "{{as_timestamp(now())|timestamp_custom('%H:%M %a')}}"
        retain: "yes"

I’ve recently replaced mine with a nodemcu in a small box in the lid of the dog food bin. It has a tilt sensor and an ultrasonic sensor. The tilt is for when it opens and the ultrasonic sensor measures how much food is in the bin.

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