Do you have a furry friend at home who depends on you for food? If so, it’s important to know how to store dog food properly so that it stays fresh and doesn’t spoil. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your canine’s chow fresh, along with some common mistakes people make when storing dog food (plus how to avoid making those mistakes yourself)!
Dry Food Storage
Dry dog food is a popular option for millions of dog owners. Not only is it often the more affordable option, but it’s highly shelf-stable. Here are some tips for storing dry dog food.
Store Dry Dog Food In A Cool, Dry Place
The three enemies of dry dog food are: humidity, air, and heat.
With this in mind, the first step for storing dog food is to choose the right location. The best place is an area that’s free from moisture and heat sources like radiators, stoves or ovens (these all give off heat which will spoil your dog’s kibble). A cool, dry closet or pantry is perfect!
Do not store your dog’s food in the garage or basement. These areas tend to get very hot during summer months and they’re more susceptible to moisture from rainwater seeping through cracks in the walls or flooring (which can cause mold growth – no dog wants to eat that).
If you live in a hot climate, it may be necessary to store your dog’s food in the refrigerator or freezer. This will help keep it cool and fresh for longer periods of time.
Outside in a shed or storage unit is also not recommended. Outdoor storage units can get very hot in the summer and they’re also susceptible to moisture and pests like rats or raccoons.
If you know you’re not going to use dry dog food before the expiration date, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to preserve its shelf life!
An unopened bag of dog food should last about 18 months. An opened bag should be used within 2 months, so it’s important to choose an appropriately sized bag of food, depending on how much your dogs eats.
Choose the Right Storage Container
It’s important to keep your dog food in a sealed container. This will help prevent moisture from getting inside and causing mold growth on the kibble (which can make it unsafe for consumption). It also prevents pests like bugs or mice from eating through the packaging and contaminating everything else with their droppings.
Placing the bag of dog food directly into a container (like this Van Ness container) is the best method. Keeping the food in its original container (and then adding that extra layer of anti-moisture protection by putting the whole bag in a container) keeps the oils in the dog food from leeching into the plastic of the container.
The alternative method is to pour your dog food into the container. With this method, you should wash out the container every time it becomes empty. This will prevent oil build up, which can go rancid and cause your dog to get sick. For this method, we love the Gamma2 Vault, which is resistant to dog and child mischief!
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Store your container of dog food somewhere that both children and pets cannot get into it.
If you have small children, it’s important to store your dog’s food in a place where they can’t reach it. Kids love to explore and they’re curious by nature. You don’t want them eating any of your pet’s food because it could make them sick!
(It’s taking everything in Rhubarb’s power to not dive head first into this bucket of food!)
Wet Dog Food Storage
Due to the moisture content of wet dog food, more care needs to be taken to prevent spoilage.
Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food is usually shelf-stable for years, until opened. If you notice any large dents or bulges in the can of dog food, this could be a sign that it has spoiled.
Unfinished, opened cans of food should be refrigerated until your dog eats it, and not stored for more than 3 to 5 days.
Any wet food (such as raw dog food or opened cans of wet food) can be frozen after opening to preserve its shelf life. To store dog food in the freezer, simply:
- Transfer food to a freezer safe container
- Freeze until solid, keeping frozen until ready to eat
When you’re ready to feed your dog the frozen food, either let it thaw in the fridge for 8 hours, or give it to your dog frozen (giving your pup frozen food is a great enrichment activity)!