Keeping your dog’s food fresh and uncontaminated is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. While dry food does last a long time, it can still mold, grow bacteria and get infested with bugs. It can also go stale and even start to lose nutrients if it’s stored incorrectly or too old.
Here are some tips to make sure your dog’s food stays fresh and safe for him to eat.
It’s All About Storage
How you store your food is going to be the number one factor on whether it goes bad.
Dry Food should be kept in re-sealable, air- and water-tight containers. Place them somewhere so that they are not in direct sunlight or in a location that gets really warm. Water and warmth cause dry food to get moldy and rancid, which could get your dog sick. So, don’t keep your dog’s food in places like the kitchen laundry or bathroom where steam and water is always being used. For this reason, keeping the container in a cool dry room inside your house is best. This will also help keep pests from getting into the food, including rodents and bugs.
Canned Food should be kept at room temperature out of direct sunlight or heat. Once opened, seal the leftovers and refrigerate. Opened cans should be used within three days.
Dehydrated food should also be kept in re-sealable containers and it’s best kept refrigerated. Follow the directions on the package about how quickly to consume once opened.
For canned and dehydrated food, freezing can lengthen freshness if your dog doesn’t go through it that quickly.
Keep Track of Dates
The only drawback to using a storage container is that you no longer have the package with vital information including expiration date. Keep this information by cutting off the label and taping to the container or taking a picture of it on your handy smartphone.
The Expiry date is vital in case of recalls so you will know whether the product you are feeding is affected.
As we mentioned in our article on vitamin deficiencies, studies have shown that Thiamine depletes by as much as 57 percent in dry kibble after 18 months. So, keeping track of expiration dates even on dry food is important. If you suspect the food is old, call the manufacturer. If you provide the Expiration date and product numbers, they should be able to tell you approximately when it was made. If it’s older than 18 months, your dog may not be getting his full vitamin requirements.
Use your judgement. If it’s the same food you always buy and it suddenly smells different, is a different color (slight variations are common, but if it’s a drastic change it could be a sign that the food is bad), or you see evidence of pest infestation, don’t feed it to your dog. The price of the food is not worth a vet bill or, much worse, the potential loss of your pet.
If the food seems off, contact the place you bought it and/or the manufacturer. Chances are, they will exchange it for you. Following these tips will help keep your dog fed safely.