Are You Storing Your Dog’s Food Properly? Tips On How To Keep Dog Food Fresh

Once you open a can of dog food, where you keep it can make a huge difference in its quality and freshness. Here are some tips on how you can store them and what you should avoid if you want to maintain the tastiness of your dog’s food.

Why is storing dog food properly important?

It's critical to appropriately store your dog food as this ensures it stays fresh, crisp, and flavourful. Pet food that isn't stored properly can quickly become rancid and lose its nutritional content, costing you money and making your pet refuse to eat it.

Moreover, proper dog food storage options also protect the food from mould, germs, and home pests such as insects and mice.

Tips on how to keep dog food fresh

As mentioned above, it is very important to learn how to store opened dog food properly. Here are a few tips on how to keep your dog’s food fresh:

Storing dry dog food

The proper way to keep dry dog food fresh is to keep it in the original packaging it came with. This is because those bags were created with the goal of keeping kibble fresh for as long as possible while also protecting it from moisture and air. Higher-quality kibbles are packaged in higher-quality bags.

However, most dog owners are aware that if they don't use additional caution when opening the bag, the food not only pours on the floor, but the bag also won't shut correctly. 

As a result, transferring it into appropriate containers as soon as possible is also a practical and clean option. It's also more difficult for your dog to help itself to the food by storing dog food in appropriate containers and crates.

When switching to storing dog food in plastic containers, make sure it is airtight and don’t just dump kibble into the container. Rather, keep the kibble in the original bag if possible.

This is to ensure the lipids from the kibble don't seep through the plastic container's walls, contaminating the kibble, as it turns rancid.

If you switch to a new batch of dry food, wash and dry the storage container carefully to ensure there is no residue on the walls. You don't want to contaminate a brand new bag of dog food.

A note of precaution to never leave a kibble bag open to the elements. Keep in mind that the objective of kibble storage is to keep air and moisture out. The optimum dry food storage temperature should be in a cool, dry area below 30°C. This is to avoid vitamin destruction and lipid oxidation, which can lead to rancidity.

Dry food should be eaten within six weeks of opening the bag. Thus, select the proper bag size. Kibble can be kept out in bowls for up to a day, but don't pour out more than what should be consumed in 24 hours.

dry dog food

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Storing and preserving raw dog food

To keep raw dog food fresh, store it in the freezer in the same manner as raw hamburger patties and chicken. Place it in safe packaging such as a covered plastic container, and freeze it. This will assist in preventing bacterial development and spoilage. 

Furthermore, storing raw food frozen at a constant temperature of 0°C significantly slows the formation of microorganisms such as mould and yeast, as well as slowing the natural action of enzymes found in meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables.

Raw dog food can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days but don’t feed it to your dog if it smells bad. 

On the other hand, don't leave uneaten food out for more than an hour. If any of it is leftover, you should dispose of it. 24 hours after defrosting, throw away any uneaten raw food.

You can try PetCubes’ Raw Dog Food that comes in many variations from you to choose from. Additionally, the frozen food for dogs and cats from PetCubes is carefully selected, produced, and kept in such a manner that feeding it to your pets in its natural, thawed condition is not only safe but also assures the delivery of high-quality nutrients.

Keeping homemade dog food fresh

Making homemade dog food is one of the healthiest diets available for your dog. However, there are many precautions in making homemade dog food, one of which is how you store it.

When you’re going to feed your dog the food influences how you’re gonna store it. Sealing the food in vacuum-sealed bags, for example, is a waste of effort if you'll be feeding your dog within 1-3 days. It's also a financial waste.

Most homemade dog food recipes allow you to store the food in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.  

Commercial dog food contains artificial preservatives, which are not present in homemade dog food. While this is better for your dog, it also means that the food will not last as long as commercial foods.

Storing canned wet dog food the right way

As long as canned food is stored correctly, it may last anywhere from two to five years. Food should be stored in a dry, cold environment.

Cans that haven't been opened don't need to be refrigerated. The airtight container and preservatives included in the package keep air and germs out, making it safe to eat at room temperature like any other canned food.

To keep canned dog food fresh, especially if it has been opened, it should be kept in the refrigerator firmly wrapped. Remember that food tins are made of metal, which, when exposed to oxygen undergoes a chemical reaction and therefore oxidises.

The hazardous chemicals that arise can contaminate food stored in an open tin for several days. As a result, transferring the food to a plastic food storage container makes sense.

The shelf life of canned dog food should be two to five years from the date of canning. Because canning is a sterilising process, undamaged canned food can survive much longer, but if the expiration date has passed, it's better to toss it out.

Cans that have been opened should be kept in the fridge for a maximum of 5-7 days. After that period, any leftover cat or dog food should be discarded.

What should you avoid when trying to keep dog food fresh?

Even the most careful pet parents are prone to making a few basic errors when it comes to dog food storage. Here’s a list of things you should avoid if you want to keep your dog’s food fresh:

  • Leaving your dog’s food unsealed: It's a major error to leave food open because oxygen causes the oil in the food to grow rancid, ruining the flavour and, in the worst-case situation, making dogs ill.

  • Don’t top up its food: If you currently store your dog food in an airtight container, re-filling it before it's completely empty is a typical error as leftover dog food fat and crumbs can accumulate within the container over time. This can cause the food to decay faster, and scratches on the container's surface can trap germs and cause the food to degrade.

  • Neglecting washing your dog’s bowl: If you only wash your dog’s bowl once a month, bacteria, mould, mildew, and other pollutants can grow in unclean dog food bowls.
  • Storing food in the garage: Where to store dog food in the house is a question a lot of pet parents ask. Avoid storing it in garages as excess heat or moisture can damage essential oils and cause nutrients in dog food to break down.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

    What containers are best for storing my dog’s food?

    Storage containers come in different shapes, sizes and there are even cute dog food storage containers available. Here’s a few examples of containers that can keep your dog’s food fresh.

    • Airtight containers
    • Plastic containers
    • Stainless steel containers
    • Wood containers

    Conclusion

    While it is great to feed your dog fresh food, it is equally important to store it well. Get your own containers today and start your journey in keeping your dog’s food fresh and ready for your buddy.

    Petcubes offers fresh dog food that is prepared in small batches. All of the whole foods are heated at a controlled temperature of 80 C to ensure high bioavailability of nutrients, which would otherwise be lost at higher temperatures. No further preparation is required; thaw and let your dog enjoy!

    Reviewed by: 

    Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.

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