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You can do your research and buy the most nutritious, high quality pet food for your beloved pet but it would not make much of a difference if it is poorly stored. In this article, we explore what it takes to provide optimal storage for the pet food that you purchase to maximise its freshness and longevity.
Before we dive into it, we have to understand that there is a difference between dry and canned pet food and hence their needs when it comes to storing them.
Dry Pet Food
Generally speaking, dry pet food should always be stored in a cool, dry environment that is below 38°C to prevent the vitamins within them from being destroyed or fats in the pet food from oxidising which will lead to rancidity. Rancidity is essentially the oxidation process of unsaturated fats found in food which will lead to unpleasant odours and flavours and even lead to debilitating diseases – yikes! That is something we definitely do not want in our pet food.
Canned or Wet Pet Food
As you may know by now, canned pet food has a shorter shelf life once opened. Prior to opening, canned pet food should be stored between 10°C to 38°C to prevent any sort of degradation in its quality. Pet food should never be stored at temperatures of 48°C for more than 48 hours which can speed up the degradation process1 (think twice of leaving your pet food in your car boots for too long!)
If you find yourself accidentally leaving canned / wet pet food exposed on the kitchen counter hours after you initially opened it to feed your pet, it is very tempting to just seal it and put it back into the fridge. However, it is important to note that wet pet food is the ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria especially when left out for a while. Flies may even decide that it is the perfect place to lay their eggs – that is definitely not the type of protein you want your pet to have! If you have left your pet food out for a few hours or more, it’s best to toss it out – it is simply not worth risking your pet’s health.
It is always advisable to keep your opened canned pet food in the fridge at temperatures between 4-8°C (not frozen) for a maximum of 5-7 days before tossing it out.
What Container Should I Use?
Material: Plastic containers may seem to be the go-to choice considering their durability and affordability but is it the wisest choice to store your pet food? If you do decide to use plastic storage containers, it is important to check that it is BPA (Bisphenol-A) free. BPA is an industrial chemical used in certain plastics to make dog food storage containers but research has shown BPA can seep into food from containers made with BPA – this can pose as a potential health hazard for your dog. That being said, BPA at very low levels is deemed to be safe by the US Food and Drug Administration.
One way to avoid this issue altogether is to use stainless stell containers – not only are they durable and easy to clean, they are definitely not made with BPA.
Air-tight seal: Regardless of whether you decide to use plastic or stainless steel, it is always important to find an air-tight seal to prolong your pet food longevity and freshness. Never in any circumstance leave dry pet food unsealed in your house. Not only does this expose the food to oxygen for a prolonged period of time which causes rancidity that is mentioned earlier in this article, it can even cause your pet to get sick.Consider keeping the pet food in its original bag: Another tip we have for you is to keep the food within its original packaging but place it within a sealed, air-tight container as opposed to pouring it directly into the container. This is because the pet food bag typically comes with an oil-resistant liner that helps to retain flavour.4 This also helps you to keep track of the expiration date of your pet food.
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