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Just like the food that we eat, dog food also has a shelf life, so for health and safety it’s important to make sure your dog’s food is stored correctly and used within the expiry date to prevent them getting sick from food that’s been damaged or gone bad.
However, it’s still important to understand that dogs are able to get sick for various other reasons, so having good pet insurance is wise since vet bills can be expensive and it’s good to know that you can get them taken care of if needed, so if you don’t have pet insurance, then you can find an Insurance Broker online where you can get good deals.
Again, there are a lot of similarities between dog food and human food – the type of food and how it’s packaged will make a difference when it comes to how long it’s able to stay fresh, and not all foods are alike or require to be stored the same way.
Below are some guidelines on how long different types of dog food will last before you need to throw them away, along with some tips for maintaining freshness.
Canned Dog Food
Due to canned dog food containing more fresh ingredients than the dried variety, it spoils a lot quicker once opened.
Before opening: If canned dog food hasn’t yet been opened, then it actually has a very long shelf life that’s comparable to things like tinned soup and vegetables, and although it will last upto 2 years, some of the nutritional value will start to slightly decrease over time, so, of course it’s always going to be at its best the sooner it gets used.
After opening: Like any kind of meats, cheeses, and even tinned produce, dog food has a short shelf life after it’s been opened and will only keep for up to 7 days.
Safety & Freshness Tips
Oftentimes it’s more economical to buy dog food in bulk, and typically the tins contain more than an average sized dog is going to eat in one sitting – like humans, they can only eat so much, so it’s important not to overfeed them.
However, by the same token, you won’t want that additional food going to waste, so the best way to store it for when your dog is hungry later is by using a non-BPA plastic container – even better if you can use a glass container that’s sealable and that you can store in the fridge.
Keeping the food in a separate container locks in the freshness, but also prevents the smell of the food from going onto other things in the fridge, and the food also won’t react with the metal which can affect the taste of tinned foods stored in the fridge after opening.
Once the canned food has been put into the dog’s food bowl it will only keep for 4 hours at room temperature, so to ensure your dog doesn’t get sick, then make sure this is replaced with fresh food every 4 hours.
To avoid waste, only give the dog what they’ll eat, and if they still appear hungry, then give a little more or a treat to tide them over until the next meal time.
All dog food, whether canned or boxed should be kept away from direct sunlight, adverse temperatures, and stored away from chemicals, such as cleaning products. It should also be kept away from overly strong smelling foods and drinks.
If you notice any strong, unpleasant odors or mold on the food, then it’s crucial that you dispose of it right away.
Dry Dog Food
Of course, dry dog food will last slightly longer than canned food once opened, but actually doesn’t have as long a shelf life before opening.
Before opening: If dry dog food is completely unopened and the seal remains in place, then it can last anywhere between 2-6 months.
After opening: Unlike canned dog food, dry food will definitely last a good bit longer up to 6 weeks as long as it’s stored correctly away from direct sunlight, dampness and adverse temperatures with the top sealed off to prevent the food from getting too much air or moisture.
Once the food has been put in the bowl, then it will last up to 24 hours, but ideally shouldn’t be left this long, both for the taste losing its strength, but also it’s best to always give your dog only what they’re going to eat during meal times to prevent overeating and food waste.