Your dog is your best friend. For that reason, you go out of your way to make sure that they have the best dog bed, they go for regular walks, they enjoy frequent grooming sessions, and they savor the most delicious food. However, you may not have given too much thought to how you actually store that delicious food.
Many dog owners are surprised to hear that there is a correct way to store dog food and that not all of them should be stored in the same way. In fact, putting your dog’s wet and dry food in the wrong places can make the food lose some of its nutrients and make it far less tasty for your four-legged friend.
You need to be aware of the temperature, moisture, and packaging of each food. Keep reading to learn more about how to store your dog’s food properly.
1. Understand what temperature different types of food need to be stored in.
The most critical aspect of food storage is the temperature it is kept in, and it is essential to pay attention to it to guarantee that your dog’s food will last in its correct form.
Generally, dry dog food needs to be kept at either room temperature or in the refrigerator, and it should never be left in direct sunlight. Inside a kitchen pantry or an inside closet are always good options for dog food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Here are more tips for specific kinds of dog food:
– Canned Food
Unopened canned dog food can last the longest. In fact, some of them have a shelf life of five years! These can be a healthy and cost-effective option for feeding your dog. Just make sure to always pay attention to the “Use by” dates that are on the can in the same way that you do for your own food.
Over time, as you purchase more canned dog food, bring the older cans to the front of your cupboard and place the newer ones in the back.
Your dog’s canned food needs to be out of direct sunlight or any heat source. Keep the canned food at room temperature, until it is opened, and then it should be sealed and placed in the refrigerator.
– Wet Food
Usually, wet dog foods need to be kept refrigerated from the beginning. Pay attention to how long they need to be stored in the fridge or freezer.
– Dry and Dehydrated Food
Dry and dehydrated foods need to be stored in resealable, airtight containers, also out of direct sunlight. Ideally, dry dog food should be kept in a temperature under 100 °F (38 °C). For this reason, the most obvious place to store the dry food is in the house. Don’t put your dry dog food in the garage or the shed as it is more challenging to monitor the temperature in that space.
– Raw Food
If you choose to feed your dog raw food, make sure it remains frozen until you are ready to use it.
– Freeze Dried Food
Freeze dried foods should always be stored in a cool, dry place as you don’t want any heat or humidity touching it — this will only allow mold and bugs to make it their home.
2. Keep moisture out of foods.
If you often feed your dog dehydrated foods, then you need to make sure that you keep moisture at bay, as mold will develop if the dehydrated food receives too much moisture. It is best to keep the dehydrated food in its original packaging and then tightly reclose it after feeding, or you can move it to a canister with a secure, airtight lid.
Just make sure that the container is constructed from opaque material to shield the dry food from light. Alternatively, you can opt for stainless steel containers.
You should also keep dry food in its original bag as the packaging is designed to ensure it remains fresh — always check the “Sell by” or “Use by” date on the bag. If you think it is going to take a while to get through the bag, you can also opt to place the dry food bags in the freezer.
3. Watch out for spoiled foods.
Why does dog food spoil? Well, the most common reason is that it gets touched by air, which means it also gets affected by bacteria. This is why you want to keep it in a closed, airtight container. Another reason is that it encounters a lot of moisture that then generates mold.
Also, if the temperature is too high, the dog food (even if the bag or can has been unopened) can spoil.
If you accidentally store your food incorrectly and it spoils, don’t feed it to your dog. Always smell the dog food before you give it to your pet. If it doesn’t smell “right,” then you probably don’t want to feed it to them.
Additionally, always look for bugs or other critters in the food (especially if it is raw) and if you spot any critters, don’t feed the food to your dog.
While dogs are known to eat some questionable items, you still shouldn’t be feeding them anything that has gone bad, rotten, or past its sell-by date. Just like humans!
4. Don’t refrain from throwing out old food.
As a general rule of thumb, if dog food has been left out for over four hours, you should throw it away. Whether you forgot to put the canned or homemade dog food back in the refrigerator, or it has been sitting in the dog bowl or on a counter, you want to discard it after four hours.
Unfortunately, if dog food has been sitting out for that long, it can potentially cause your dog to become ill, which won’t be pleasant for you or your pet. Save yourself the trauma of having a sick dog and an expensive bill from the vet, and be diligent about keeping the dog food fresh.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.