Just like our food, dog foods can go sour. And since we’re not the ones eating it, it’s easy to overlook. Here you can learn exactly how to store dog food.
Storing your dog food properly is an easy process. First, you must leave the dog food in its original bag to preserve it best, store the bag in a hard secondary container, and keep it in a cool and dark place to last longer. This will give you the most use possible.
The way you store your dog's food can significantly impact your dog's health. If you don't store it well, the food will spoil and cause your dog to get sick when he or she eats it. On the other hand, adequately stored food will keep your dog healthy and energetic. And you won't have to worry about future veterinary bills. This guide contains valuable information about dog food storage to help keep your dog healthy.
Dog foods carry similar properties to traditional, and our team of experts has spent time testing the various storage methods available. The methods discovered below provided the most long-lasting, healthy effects on dog food through a few tests. Our team spends endless hours researching and testing all data available to them.
How to Store Dog Food
The following tips will keep your dog's food fresh at all times!
Tip 1: Keep the Food Stored in Its Original Container
Dog food comes in bags specifically made to keep them fresh for a long time. So, it’s advisable to store them in those re-sealable bags in which they came.
Don’t put your dog’s food into the wrong bag or container. If you do, the bag might become soaked with fats, which exposes the food to air and causes it to spoil much quicker.
Always ensure that your dog food is tightly closed after each use. Some dog food bags may not be re-sealable. In that case, you can close the bag with a clip or clamp. Always fold the bag before clamping it shut and push any air out if possible.
Tip 2: Put the Container inside a Can
While it is not advisable to transfer your dog food from its original container, you can still store it in a secondary container.
Start by putting the dog food (still in its original container) into a stainless steel or glass container. Doing so allows you to enjoy the benefit of both the secondary container and the original bag. When you do this, your dog food will last longer while maintaining easy access for you to use.
Tip 3: Keep the Dog Food in a Cool, Dry, Dark Place
Bacteria tends to lurk in humid areas, and you don't want them getting to your dog food. So make sure to keep them in places where they can't get wet.
It would help if you also kept them off areas that are too hot. For example, if your dog food is exposed to temperatures of 120°F or higher for over 48 hours, the vitamins in it will degrade and become less nutritional.
Light also accelerates the rate at which food degrades. So keep your dog food away from sunlight. The best place to store your dog food is your kitchen closet, pantry, or basement. We recommend the basement because it typically is the place that remains coolest during the summer.
Tip 4: Use the Dog Food within 45 Days After Opening
Dog foods have expiration dates just like human foods and should be consumed before their expiration date arrives.
Any dog food preserved naturally with vitamin E has a shelf life of up to one year. However, after opening the bag, the expiration date on it will no longer matter. This is because the seal becomes broken, and the shelf life drops to 45 days after opening.
Without a vacuum seal style storage, this date cannot be extended.
Tip 5: Wash the Dog Food Container
We are not talking about the original dog food container here. It is the secondary container (stainless steel or glass) that you must wash. Before you put the dog food in it, be sure to disinfect the container thoroughly.
Try to do this every time you do replace your dog food with a new container.
If you don’t disinfect the secondary container, it will quickly breed bacteria if the dog food leaks out of the container in any way.
Tip 6: Check Your Dog’s Food for a Distinct Smell or Discoloration
Any dog food that has been open for over 50 days might have a distinct smell or discoloration. If you notice that your dog food smells funky, be sure to throw it out and avoid feeding it to your dog.
Always check the food you want to give your dog beforehand. It is a safety tip to make sure you can spot any spoiled food before it’s too late.
Tip 7: Never Mix Old and New Dog Food
When you only have a few bowls of dog food remaining, and you get a new one, you may be tempted to mix them. But we recommend always avoiding this.
The old food could contain germs or bacteria and can contaminate the new one. Make sure your dog finishes the old food before opening the one, or simply throw out the old bag.
How to Store Dry Food
Dry dog foods are affordable and require minimal space for storage. But it would help if you stored it properly to prevent spoilage. Also, you don't want your dog to fall sick because of bad food. To keep your dog food fresh, you should follow the steps below.
Seal Your Dog Food Bag
The best recommendation we can give for dry dog food is to seal the bag securely. This will minimize the food’s exposure to air, and the air is known to contaminate dog food with bacteria.
Start doing this by pressing the bag tightly to force the air out. Then you can roll the bag from the top down to ensure it tightly closes. Finally, close it securely with a bag clip or clamp that can hold tightly for an extended period.
You can even go as far as purchasing airtight containers. These are the best-recommended replacement option for storing dog food in its original packaging.
Make sure to keep the dry food in a cool, dry storage area.
Heat and moisture tend to create the growth of bacteria in foods. So you should keep your dry dog food away from moisture and at medium temperatures. Avoid too cold and avoid too hot.
Don't keep dry food in your garage or shed unless those places are air-conditioned and insulated. It is best to keep dry food inside your house in areas like closets or basements.
How to Store Wet Foods
Similar to dry food storage, there is a perfect method for wet food storage too. It can be slightly more complex, but it will be a seamless process for you with these tips.
Keep All Unopened Cans in a Cool, Dry Area.
Like dry food, the best place to keep your cans of dog food is in a cool, dry location. It is best to have them inside your home because you can control the temperature from there. Places like the garage can get hoist, humid, and moist without your control.
Moist or humid places can cause the canned food to spoil because of a degraded inner seal.
Opened Cans Should Be Stored in the Refrigerator
After opening a can of dog food, you should always store it in the fridge. It will keep it fresh for a short time if you want to use it again but remember, once opened, the shelf life significantly decreases.
The typical fridge shelf life is two days. You can use aluminum foil to tightly cover the food and make it last a bit longer. Once you open a can, write the date on its label to remember when it was opened and avoid using a can of spoiled food.
Freeze Food to Last Longer
If you don't intend to use wet dog food within the next few days, you should put it in the freezer. But first, you must pack them in storage containers or freezer bags. This is an excellent way to store canned food and homemade dog food.
It’s much more convenient to portion the dog food in a way that allows you to defrost only one container during meal times. The freezer will allow foods to last for a few months and make preparation easier in the future. You can simply put it in the fridge to thaw out and serve the next day.
Throw Away Food That Has Been Sitting Out
All dogs are different. Some dogs rush to their bowl to eat their entire serving right away, while others may take their time. Don’t allow the dog food to sit in the bowl for longer than 2-4 hours. Be sure to empty and clean their bowl thoroughly if this occurs.
The same theory applies to unserved food. If it has been opened and sitting out for over four hours, it is recommended to throw it away.
Following these tips will make your dog food storage more efficient while keeping your dog healthy along the way.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker