Let me ask you a question. Would you ever keep food in your fridge for unlimited amounts of time from your local Walmart or wherever you shop regardless as to how bad or rotten it is? Or possibly even worse, would you ever go to a restaurant which engages in those types of practices? My bet would be probably not. I also hope you wouldn’t do that to your dog. So how can you prevent that from happening? Here are a few things to know.
If dry dog food has not been open and is completely sealed, it can last anywhere between 1 year to 1 ½ years. If you are using canned dog food and leave it sealed, it could last 2 years. However, all of this really depends on the sealing quality, so it is a rough estimate.
Another way to look at it with regards to dry dog food is that it could last roughly two weeks past the expiration date listed on the bag, assuming it wasn’t open when bought. Once the bag is open, you are significantly decreasing the life of the dog food. What is the reason for that? It makes the omega 3 fatty acids taste horrific if kept too long, which in turn increases the chance of your dog getting sick. It also causes the bag to oxidize, making the nutritional value go down over time.
There are five ways you can tell if dog food has gone bad, which are the following:
- Bad odor
- Moisture in the bag which can include mold or bugs
- Past the expiration date
- Exposed to heat or humidity
- Your pup refuses to eat or starts to show signs of an illness.
When Does Dog Food Go Bad Once Opened?
As soon as you open it. Just like with human food, if you wait to open it, you can make it last much longer, from the purchase date. Why? Because the air is kept tight within the bag, and therefore, has a much lower chance of losing the oxidation and nutritional value of the food. So how long can you increase it? Twelve to 18 months depending on the food and what your dog can tolerate.
Why Does Dog Food Go Off?
As discussed previously, the reason why dog food goes bad if left out too long is because it loses its oxidization, and the oils that exist in the dog food go into the air and is exposed to whatever is in the room, cabinet or pantry where the dog food is stored. If you are concerned that you may have mistakenly given your little guy bad food, here are four things to watch out for in your dog:
- Excessive pooping
- Itchy skin
- Hot ears
- Other skin problems which may be ticked off by excessive scratching
How to Prevent Dog Food From Going Off Too Quickly
The best thing you can do to prevent dog food from going bad quickly is to not keep the food in the bag for a long period of time. A good rule of thumb is not to buy your food more than once every six weeks. It would be wise to invest in some type of an air tight container. However, that investment does not have to be expensive. Upon doing a quick search on Amazon I found containers that were very affordable.
Where you store the food in your home could be key as well. Placing it in excessive heat or cold can still cause the food to go bad quickly if you choose an area in your home that is to hot or cold. A good rule of thumb is to find a place that has an average temperature in your house year round such as your pantry. If your pup’s food bowl is nowhere near a door, you can just keep the container near the bowl of food.
Three places that come to mind where you absolutely should not store your dog’s food are in your garage, attic or basemen. Why? All three places will have times of the year when there are excessive temperatures and can cause the food to go back quicker.
In conclusion, what are the best things you can do for your dog’s food? Keep it well stored in an air tight container, be conscientious of when you open the bag and pay attention to how long it stays open, and keep an eye on your dog’s health.