25 Pet Food Storage Tips to Keep Dog Food Fresh

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9 Minute Read
 | Amy Dyck
Updated April 1, 2022

Sometimes improving your pet's nutrition is as simple as proper pet food storage. Check out our top dog food container tips to keep your dog's meals tasty, fresh, and safe. How to store opened canned dog food?

Pest contamination, food poisoning, upset stomachs, and even altered taste and texture can all result from how you store your pet's food. With the rising temperatures and humidity of summer, these risks can increase. 

Commit to following these tips for proper pet food storage and you can ensure you've done what you can for your pet's food safety. From dry cat food to your pup's favourite dog treat - proper storage is key for getting your money's worth.

Pet Food Container & Storage Tips At the Store

1. Check Expiry

Always check your pet food bag’s expiry before buying and feeding your pet. Many natural dog food brands have shorter shelf lives, so make sure your pet can eat all of the food before the best before date.

Frozen and raw dog foods tend to have the shortest expiry dates, as they have to contend with freezer burn. Food that is freezer burnt isn't harmful or bad, but the texture and scent can change, making the food less desirable. 

Pet food can be good after the expiry date, but pet owners should use their own discretion. If you’re in doubt, choose a smaller bag or freeze a portion of it to extend its freshness.

2. Check the Packaging

No matter what type of dog food you choose, make sure the packaging is in good condition, with no rips, tears, or leaks. If you feed dry dog food or dehydrated or freeze-dried pet food, avoid packages that have been repaired or resealed with tape. You never know how long they were open.

Small dents in canned dog food are often ok, but deep dents or dents at the edges could mean a hole big enough to allow in air and bacteria. Be cautious of heavily dented cans. 

Another tip is to avoid cans that look puffed, especially on the top and bottom. This could be a sign that the seal is broken and the food is spoiled. 

Dog Food Storage Container Tips At Home

3. Keep It Cool

Store pet food in a cool, dry place under 26 degrees Celsius. Avoid humid conditions where pests and mould thrive in. During warmer months, keep your pet food in cooler parts of your house, like the basement, or at least out of direct sunlight. 

4. Airtight

van-ness-food-containerAlways store pet food in airtight dry dog food containers with as little air as possible for a fresh taste. An airtight seal will also prevent pests from infiltrating your pet's food.

If you're looking for a dependable and airtight dog food container, try the Van Ness Pet Food Storage Containers. They are made from USFDA food contact approved plastic and use Fresh-tite seals to keep out moisture and prevent spoilage.

Check out Bugs in your Dog's Food to learn more about preventing and eliminating the threat of pests using a dog food storage container Canada

5. In the Bag

Pet food is best stored in the original bag, folded or clipped for freshness, and kept inside an airtight dog food bin. The packaging for dry dog food storage containers is specifically designed to reduce bacteria growth, so keep the food in the bag, then place the bag in the storage container. This double protection will ensure longer-lasting freshness.

6. Go For Durable Material

Metal or glass containers are often better than plastic when storing cat or dog food. Plastic containers and bags can impart undesirable flavours or smells to the food and are not always BPA free.

Plastic can be easily scratched too. Those small nicks and indents can collect bacteria that can potentially contaminate the food. Even treats should be safely stored for freshness and safety. Try a treat jar, like the Arjan Stainless Steel Trat Jar, which will preserve your pet's favourite treats.

7. A Little At A Time

For a fresh taste and to prevent food contamination, only keep what your pet can eat in 3 – 4 weeks in the container, less in the heat of summer or in humid conditions. How to store dog food? Buying in bulk can be cost-effective, but you could end up wasting it if it goes stale or rancid before you can feed it. 

Even if you have a large dog food storage bin that can hold 30 or more lbs of food at a time doesn't mean that you need to fill it. 

8. Freeze It

Store excess dry dog food in a chest freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure you double wrap it, though – you don’t want your freezer food tasting like pet food or vice versa.

9. Keep It Up

To reduce the likelihood of pest infestation, store your pet food off the floor. Storing them in a cabinet, pantry or even just on a shelf will make it harder for pests to break in. This is where treat jars and storage containers with an airtight seal come in handy.

10. Portion Feed

Portion feed your pet. You’ll have better control over how much your dog or cat consumes and encourage healthy eating behaviours. It can also prevent contamination of your pet’s food with pests. Filling a bowl for the day may seem convenient, but the food will be at a higher risk for bacteria. 

Emptying the food bowl completely before refilling will ensure that old, stale food doesn't continually get buried by fresh food. 

11. Keep the Bag

If you’re not storing food in the original container, your pet food came in, keep it on hand. That way, you will have important information like expiry dates and lot numbers. If your food has been in a recall, you can relay the identification information to the pet store and manufacturer if something goes wrong.

Wet Dog Food Storage Tips

12. Don't Leave Canned Out

Don’t leave wet (or canned) food in your pet’s dish for longer than an hour. Throw away anything your pet hasn’t eaten, and wash the dish with soap and water before reusing.

The rule for raw food is even more important. Raw dog food left out for more than 30 minutes is at a high risk of growing bacteria that can be harmful to both you and your pet. 

Don't Leave Canned Out

13. In the Fridge

Wet or canned food can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. When your dog walks away from the bowl, immediately take the food and put it in the fridge. Raw dog food shouldn't be stored in the fridge for more than three days and shouldn't be refrozen once thawed. 

Unused canned foods can also be stored in the original cans, but only if using an appropriate can cover. Cheap plastic pet food containers can lids that aren't airtight and could increase the risk of bacteria growing on the food. Stick to tight-fitting silicone can lids, like the Homes Alive Pets Universal Can Cover

For storing raw food, use a glass container with a snug lid, or get some Messy Mutts Stainless Steel Bowls with Silicone Lids. The metal bowls resist scratches and bacteria, and the lids keep out air and prevent the raw dog food from drying out.

14. Don't Mix Dry with Water

It’s recommended not to mix water in with your pet’s dry food, but you may have good reason to – for example, young puppies or kittens, pets with dental issues, or other medical conditions. If you must mix water with your pet’s food, discard it and wash the dishes after 30 minutes.

Other additives like bone broth and goat's milk are a popular flavour and nutrition boost, but food mixed with a liquid meal topper should never be left out. Try to only feed what your pet will eat in one sitting. 

15. Don't Freeze Canned

Don’t freeze canned cat or dog food. Freezing can change the food’s taste and texture. Canned dog foods have some of the longest shelf lives, so if you are buying in bulk, avoid buying short-dated canned foods that you won't be able to use in time. 

Wet Dog Food

Dog Food Storage Cleanliness

16. Wash Your Hands

Always wash your hands before and after handling pet food. This prevents contamination both ways. Raw dog foods have a higher risk of bacteria, so washing your hands and surfaces after handling raw meat is a no-brainer, but did you know that cooked and freeze-dried dog foods can still pass bacteria that could be harmful to you. 

Even dog treats can host bacteria, so if you touch anything you can feed to your dog, wash your hands to keep yourself safe. 

17. Wash Pet Dishes

Wash your pet’s food dishes with warm, soapy water after every use for your pet’s safety. Even dog bowls for feeding dry kibble should be regularly washed to prevent bacteria spread. 

Pet food container

18. Replace Water Daily

Your pet’s water should be replaced at least once daily, but check more often in the summer to ensure your pet always has plenty of cool, clean water to keep your dog hydrated. Fresh water can help prevent your dog overheating and aids in digestion and skin and coat health. 

19. Clean Out Completely

Clean out your dog or cat’s food container every time you refill it with warm, soapy water. Since pet foods contain oils, a rinse is not enough. This is another good argument for keeping the kibble in the bag before putting it in the pet storage container. 

20. Scoop It

Use a specific measuring cup or food dog food scoop to get out your pet’s food, not the dish itself, which could contaminate the bag of food. Wash it with soap and water after each use.

21. Do Not Mix

In terms of dog and cat food storage, be sure not to mix bags of food together. There’s no way to know how long some of the food has been in your pet’s food container. Instead, wait for a bag to be completely empty, then wash out the container and start with the new bag.

22. Dry Well

After washing pet food containers and food dishes, always dry completely. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Other Pet Food Storage Tips

23. Travel Dog Food Container

The tips and tools you use to store your pet's food at home may not work when you are on the go. Even when you travel with your puppy, you should still consider how safely and conveniently your dog food is stored. 

The Kurgo Kibble Carrier is a great way to store your dry dog food on a road trip, camping with dogs or on your next hike with your pooch. It holds up to 5 lbs of food and holds extra supplies, like a collapsible dog food bowl in its side and bottom pockets. 

24. Supervise

Keep your pet supervised while outside. You never know what they could be getting into while unattended. Upset stomachs and food poisoning are just some of the troubles that could afflict your wandering pet.

Keep your pet food storage container out of reach of your pet. A determined pet could find a way to open the container and overeat. 

25. Keep Safe

Ensure your pet doesn’t have access to any of your food prep areas, household garbage or compost, and clean up any spills quickly to prevent him from ingesting anything that could make him sick.

With these pet food storage and feeding tips, you should have everything you need to keep your pooch healthy and safe. Remember that proper storage will prevent your dog's food from spoiling. It will also help you save money by keeping the food fresher for longer. 

Buying in bulk is a great way to save on dog food bills, and the right food storage tools will protect your investment. 

Shop Bowls and Feeders

How do you store your dog's food? Please share your tips and favourite tools with us in the comments below!

Written by

Amy Dyck

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