When it comes to feeding our dogs, we want to make sure that the food we feed them is still fresh. And that means knowing that dog food can in fact go bad.
Whether you choose dry dog food, wet food, or a combination of both, it is important to know just how fresh the food is that you are feeding your pet. And while we sometimes forget that even dog food can have a best by date, it can be important for the health of our dogs.
Although both wet and dry foods are made to last for a while, that does not mean it will stay fresh forever. And that is important for us to remember, because it certainly isn’t fair to our pups to feed them stale food, just like we don’t want to feed them bad food.
As the Dog People by Rover explained, it is possible for dog food to go rancid or spoil, even if there are some things we can do to keep our pet’s food fresher for longer. Depending on the type of food you feed your dog, you may have a longer shelf life on a product than you thought. It is all about paying attention to everything from the expiration dates to the proper storage techniques.
One of the first things you should do when determining how fresh your dog’s food is, is to check the best by date on the packaging. Typically, dry dog food that has not been opened is good for up to 18 months, while wet canned food is good for two years from that date. Of course, once you open any food, its shelf dwindles down from months to weeks or even days (depending on whether it is wet or dry).
When we unseal the dog food for the first time, we are exposing it to the elements, from moisture in the air to heat or cold, and that can degrade the integrity of the food. This means that in the case of dry food, you will want to use the opened bag within a few weeks. And although using a plastic storage container can help with shelf life, it is not going to give you back all the time you had before you opened the bag, because the food has already been exposed to the air and moisture.
Another tip for using plastic storage containers in order to keep food fresher for longer, is the recommendation that you not pour the food directly into the container. Instead, leave it in the bag it came in, because otherwise the oils from the food can seep into the plastic, and leaving behind a residue that can ruin future food that is stored in the container. (We all have that one piece of plastic Tupperware that is stained from tomato sauce or something oily that we stored in it, and the same thing happens with dog food, especially if you are just pouring dry food on top of dry food.)
And what about canned dog food? Well much like many of our own groceries, you will want to store unopened cans in a place that is cool and dry. If you open a can and don’t use all of it, you can then refrigerate what is unused for a few days, just like with our own foods, but of course make sure it is sealed tightly with either a reusable lid or cling wrap.
Of course, if you are a dog owner who chooses to go with a more natural approach and use fresh food or even frozen, make sure you follow the instructions on the package and freeze or refrigerate as directed.
And of course, we can’t forget dog treats. Just like with any other product that we feed our pets, treats can and do go bad. Storing them properly is important to them lasting, although if your pup is anything like ours, treats going bad may not even be an issue.
Paying attention to your dog’s food is important, not only for their health and well-being, but also to make sure they are eating properly. If you notice your dog turning their nose up at food they usually would eat, it could be that it has gone bad or spoiled.
To check for yourself to see if the dog food is no longer good, check for a rancid odor, signs of bugs or moisture where it shouldn’t be, the expiration date, and if your dog is experiencing any signs of illness after eating.
Just like with our own food, we never want to risk our dog’s health if we don’t think the food is any good. We are better off throwing the food away and getting something fresh, than worrying about getting our pup sick. And honestly, your pup will thank you for being so attentive.
Do you pay attention to the best by dates on your dog’s food? Have you ever an issue with dog food going bad? Tell us your experiences in the comments below.