When you have decided what the right dog food for your four-legged friend is, the next question usually revolves around storage. We are regularly asked questions about what is the best ways of keeping and storing dog food to ensure quality is maintained and sustained.
Often opinions differ widely on this issue, but one thing is certain: light, moisture, heat and air affect the shelf life of the food. Especially vitamins A and K as they are very sensitive to heat and sunlight, but also the precursor beta-carotene is vulnerable.
Storage of Wet Food
The first difference lies in the choice of food. There are more options to store wet food compared to dry food.
Wet food is sold commercially in tin cans and can be conveniently stored in the closed state for a long time in a dry and cool place. It is vitally important that the wet food is not exposed to the sun despite preservation.
In order to satisfy the bargain hunter in some of us, people tend to buy the larger packaging units in an attempt to save money. The amount of food in one can thus often suffices for several meals compared to the smaller cans. However, storing an open can of dog food needs more attention and consideration compared to ‘one portion cans’.
Similar to humans, mis-stored food can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Therefore, it is important that open dog food is stored properly and thus lowering the risk of illness to the dog. The opened canned wet food can be kept in the refrigerator for the short term. However, over time it should be noted that metal tin cans combined with oxygen, tend to react chemically and undergo metal oxidation. The resulting pollutants can then pass into the food.
Glass Jar Dog Food Storage
Alternatively, you can fill the food in a glass jar with tightly closed lid, this can be found in the usual dog accessories. Alternatively, you can settle for the airtight tested plastic lunch box with lid. However, you should make sure that the plastic shell is free from scratches, because otherwise the smell quickly sets and is very difficult to remove. But no matter which variant of storage solution you choose, the dog must not consume the food until it has cooled back to room temperature. You should never directly feed the dog from the fridge into the bowl, as this can lead to digestive problems in your pet.
Generally one should pay attention to which preservatives which are used in the feed. When it comes to natural preservatives such as vitamin E, it is important to remember that they usually decompose much faster than artificial preservatives. Moreover, their shelf life is shortened when opened. High quality dog food never contains such additives.
- Keep the opened wet-food airtight in the fridge
- No long storage time after opening
- Prevent metal oxidation in the metal can and, if necessary, transfer it to an undamaged airtight box
- Only feed the dog at room temperature, not straight from the fridge
Storage of Dry Food
Similar to wet food, there are also issues which can arise from the storage of dry food.
Again, the large 15kg sacks are often used, meaning the quantity of food is sufficient for several weeks (depending on the breed and eating habits of the animal). The dry food is almost always sold in plastic bags. However, plastic is often mixed with plasticizers and other chemical substances that may over time go to the dog food and thus endanger the health of the dog. For this reason, the dried food should be transferred and stored into a separate storage box and sealed airtight.
Resealable Bag Dog Food Storage
More commonly, some dog foods are now being sold in resealable bags. These types of bags are coated from the inside with a thin layer of metal, similar to a Tetra-Pack. In these bags, as long as the resealable bags are closed correctly, the bag will be airtight and free from moisture.
Generally speaking, storing in a place that is neither too hot nor too humid is the key to keeping the dry food from becoming soft and sloppy. If moisture penetrates into the food, mould may form and the food can lose its quality which may impact on the health of the dog.
Furthermore, the best before date stated on the packaging should also be observed and adhered too in order to minimise any potential health issues which could occur from consuming out of date dog food.
- Do not keep in plastic bag
- Sacks with a coating like a Tetra-Pack are ideal
- A separate storage box is recommended
- Store airtight and dry