Dog feeding station

Why I made this

Beginner-intermediate / 4 Hours / Hand tools (one powered)

Free PDF plan

The completed feeding station The completed feeding station

We adopted a new dog, Isla, who is a large cross-breed. Probably German Shepherd and Rottweiler but with others thrown in as well. As such I wasn’t happy with her having to eat her food out of a bowl on the floor so I decided to use some scrap/repurposed wood to build her a raised feeding station.

What you need The idea Design & build Lessons learned Conclusion

What you need

Tools used

  • Hand Saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Electric jigsaw
  • Hand Plane
  • Drill
  • Varnishes, finishes etc.

Difficulty

Intermediate - mostly due to cutting the circular holes for the bowls but it’s not that hard if you take your time and go carefully.

Disclaimer: This is a description of a build I did. You are welcome to use it and adapt it but you do so at your own risk. I am not responsible for any accidents or injury you receive trying to build this. My estimate for difficulty is an estimate and if you find it too difficult or risky, ask someone better qualified to assist you.

Time taken

4 hours

Cost

Zero. I used repurposed wood and all fixings, screws and finishes were ones I already owned.

The idea

Tall dogs can sometimes find it harder to eat or drink out of a bowl on the floor. There are no proven digestive advantages for using a raised dog feeder but if, like ours, your pooch is a little gung-ho when eating, a raised feeding station can reduce mess. It also promotes better eating habits.

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. In this case Isla, seems to find it much easier to eat from the raised feeder and it reduces the mess caused when she drinks as well. That, for us, is a win-win. Of course, your mileage (and pooch) may vary.

Design and build

An isometric drawing of the feeder To work out how high the feeder should be, I stood Isla upright with her legs straight and measured from the floor to pretty much where her legs meet her tors. That turned out to be approximately 300mm (12 inches in old money).

From there the rest of the dimensions are guided by the size of the bowls. The holes for the bowls need to be obviously small enough so the bowls don’t slip through. For me, that mean 190mm diameter so the lip of the bowl would sit on the wooden top.

Creating the top

I made the top from 4 lengths of pine rescued from an old shoe rack. I used a fifth one of these for the cross-brace. The legs frames were made from some 38 x 25 battens I had in my wood store.

I cut the pine strips to length and planed the edges ready to glue into pairs. I didn’t use dowels, biscuits or dominoes as the strips were only 10mm thick and cutting the holes for the dowels/biscuits/dominoes was going to be too tricky. I wasn’t happy that this pine would have a fine enough grain to keep such a hole well formed. In the end I planed the edges of all four strips and ensured they were all square and would sit well to form a board. Then I glued and taped (rather than clamping) the long sides of two planks together to forma wider plank of 140mm. I repeated this for the other two strips so I had two identical 140mm wide planks.

Cutting the two holes

An isometric drawing of the cutting plan Once these two wider planks were fully cured I aligned them on top of each other and used more tape to keep them in place. This is important: you must ensure the two halves of the top are perfectly and very securely aligned. Then mark the centres of the two circular holes on one edge. Make sure these are equidistant along the edge. What I mean by that is that when you take the two planks apart you will flip the bottom one by 180 degrees in the horizontal plane so the two halves of the circles should be exactly the same distance from each end of the plank or they won’t meet up.

Carefully, I cut the two semi-circles for the bowl rests. YOU must make sure the two planks don’t slip and stay perfectly aligned. I used a jigsaw for these cuts. My jigsaw has a guide which allows you to fix one point down and then the saw will move in an arc around it. You could use a coping saw, hand jigsaw or even a bandsaw (if you have one) but go carefully and measure twice before you cut. The two circular holes probably won’t hav eto be perfect geometric circles but they should look like circles and allow the bowls ot sit in them without slipping through.

Once cut, I removed the tape and glued the two planks together to form the 280 x 500 board with two perfect (enough) circular holes). If you marked and cut the circles properly you should be able to flip the lower plank horizontally by 180 degrees and the two semi-circle halves will meet up.

The last thing I did was to fix a small batten under the top between the two holes. This is because the board is quite slender there and over time I was worried the strips would come apart over time at the weak-point.

Building the frame

The frame, by comparison, was much simpler. I cut, glued and screwed the battens to form the end frames. I pre-drilled some holes in the top of the frames for the screws to fix the board with.

The cross-beam/stretcher was te fifth piece of pine at 70mm wide. I cut it to length and screwed (not glued though) it into the middle of the two frames, making sure the entire frame was square and level of course.

Final assembly was then gluing and screwing the frame to the underside of the top board.

I finished it with two coats of interior hard-wearing clear varnish. I then used two coats of food-safe varnish on top of that once it had dried.

Lessons learned

Screwing the cross-brace without gluing it was a wise decision. As time went on the pine expanded and contracted. Having that piece ever-so-slightly loosely screwed helped as it allowed the frame to breathe. Had I glued it I think the frame would have twisted as it expanded and contracted.

I was glad I used an excess of tape when prepping the two planks for cutting hte semi-circle holes. Without it I feel they would have shifted with the vibration of the jigsaw. As it happened all I needed to do was some light sanding when assembling the two halves together afterwards.

Conclusion

This was a fun project to build and a good way to use up some spare wood. Isla loves the feeding station. Not as much as the food but that’s dogs for you!