Does Dry Dog Food Expire
Dry dog food does expire. Unopened, a bag of dry dog food can last up to two years, says Chavez. Once the bag is opened, it is only good for a few weeks.
Kibble is ultra-processed pet food and contains preservatives designed to give it a longer shelf life, Chavez says. Most dry pet food will go bad at home well before its sell by date due to fats going rancid, bad handling and exposure to the elements. Assume a bag of dry food will go bad in a few weeks after its opened no matter what the expiration date is.;
The Problem With Rancid Fats
Heres why you dont want your dog to eat rancid fats.
So its very important to prevent your dogs food from oxidation.
Make Sure You Are Buying The Right Amount Of Food
Dr. Nelson advises pet owners to visit their veterinarian to find out how much food their pet really needs to eat.
With 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs being overweight in the United States, were noticing that pet owners do not actually know how much to feed their pets, says Dr. Nelson. You cant always go by the chart on the bag, as your pet may need more or less food depending on their body condition, age and activity level. Its so important to know how much food they really need. Then, buy bags of food that they can actually eat in three to four weeks, or portion and freeze if you prefer to buy in bulk.
Lindsay Pevny is on a mission to gather science-based information on pet care, training and products, and to use her writing to help other dog parents make informed decisions for their four-legged family members. As a pet copywriter, she works with passionate pet business owners to spread the word about their innovative pet products and services.
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Prevent Air From Getting In The Bag
When youre done scooping out the dog food, make sure to completely seal the bag. The best way to do this is to tightly roll the top and then use a clip to seal it.
The reason its crucial to keep air out of the bag is that exposure to air will accelerate the growth of harmful bacteria. The longer the food is exposed to oxygen, the quicker it will go bad. Simply clip the top of the bag to make the food last longer.
Does Dog Food Expire
Admit it: You didnt know dog food has an expiration date. Its not like the dog food sits around for monthsyour four-legged, speed-eating champ makes sure of thatso does the expiration date really matter?;
Its important for pet owners to note the expiration date on their dog food package to prevent feeding expired or soiled food to their dog, explains Dr. Megan McCarthy, a veterinarian at the Best Friends Animal Society Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Expired dog food may have a loss in nutritional quality and may cause illness.;
Despite the importance of heeding the expiration date, more than 10 percent of pet owners never check the expiration dates on pet food packaging and 7 percent admitted to feeding their pets expired kibble, according to 2021 research .;
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Learn The Difference Between A Best By Date And An Expiration Date
Westend61;/ Getty. Images
There are so many different brands, types, and flavors of dog food on the market that picking one can be overwhelming. Feeding your pup a healthy, nutritious food doesn’t stop once you make an educated decision on what to feed, though. Knowing how to properly store your dog’s food to prevent spoilage, being aware of the signs of contamination, and understanding the difference between a ‘best by’ date and an expiration date are all important aspects when it comes to your pet’s nutrition.
What To Season Homemade Dog Food With:
While dogs cant have all of the same aromatics as humans can they can have a small variety of dried or fresh herbs and spices that contain great nutrients and help flavor their meals. Use a few teaspoons sprinkled on top or mixed into the food. These are some easily digestable herbs and spices to try:;
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How They Make Dog Food Last A Year
The main reason kibble is heated and dried is to remove the moisture from the food. Moisture is the enemy of any food that needs to sit on a shelf for months or years because moisture breeds bacteria. So most kibbles contain only about 10% moisture.
Once the kibble is dried, the packaging is critical to the stability of the food. If air got into the food on the shelf, it would become oxidized. Oxidation happens when the chemicals in the food come into direct contact with oxygen. Oxidation lowers the nutritional value of the food and can also cause toxic mold and bacteria to grow.
The most sinister result of oxidation is how it damages the fats in the food. But modern-day packaging has a grease barrier. The barrier usually contains a synthetic antioxidant to prevent the fats from oxidizing and becoming rancid. So with the proper packaging in place, the pet food manufacturer can send that food out on pallets and it can sit on the shelf with a Best Before date so you feel safe knowing the food you buy your dog isnt spoiled.
While AAFCO requires pet food companies to put a Best Before date on your food, they dont have to say when the food was manufactured. So you dont know how long the food has been sitting on the shelf before you buy it.
But because the packaging is such an important part of keeping your dogs food safe from the harmful effects of oxygen, what happens when you open that bag?
Keeping Your Dog Food Container Clean
Many dog owners simply top off the;dog food storage container;with a new bag of dog food as it starts to run low, but Dr. Nelson says this is a bad idea.
You wouldnt store leftover pasta in a plastic container and then reuse it to take your salad to work without washing it, says Dr. Nelson. Always wash out the container between refills. The oils from the kibble tend to make the container greasy, and you can then end up having rancid oil from the old bag contaminating the fresh food.
Dr. Nelson recommends thoroughly washing stainless steel or plastic dog food storage containers with hot, soapy water or white vinegar. Then, rinse and dry completely before refilling. Excess moisture can cause mold and mildew to grow on the food.
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How Much Dog Food Should I Buy
Regardless of your choice of storage, one way to keep meals tasting fresh is to have the right amount of dog food on hand for your furry friend. Buying too much dog food at one time can mean that your dog will be eating that food for months and months. Buying too little dog food will lead to a hungry pooch and emergency trips to the pet store.
As a responsible pet owner, its important to determine how much your animal needs to eat. Dog food and treats can last a long time once made as long as 12 to 24 months depending on the type of food.
As a general rule, you can use the following as a start to determine the dry dog food bag size you need:
- 4-6 pound bag = small dog, under 20 lbs
- 12-18 pound bag = medium dog, 20-50 lbs
- 24-30 pound bag = large dog, 50 lbs and over
Using this suggestion, food will last about 5-8 weeks depending on the size of your dog and how much they eat. Keeping 1-2 months of food on hand helps to maintain the nutritional value and great taste.
Understanding The Shelf Life And Expiration Date Of Dog Foods
All foods designed for dogs, whether they are dry kibble or the canned dog food variety, come with a best before or expiration date. Like foods designed for human consumption, such info can give you knowledge of the products longevity. In dog foods, you can see the date somewhere on the bag or can. It could be at the back or the side. It should be noted, though, the date indicated does not necessarily mean the dog food is officially expired and is no longer safe for consumption.
What it means is that the food can no longer offer the quality and nutrition indicated in its guaranteed analysis. In other words, the highest level of nutrition the product can provide to your dog is the one before it is officially expired. As for the food, you can still expect it to be good, just not the same quality the manufacturer initially advertised.
As for the shelf life and expiration date of a specific dog food, take note that it varies significantly from one manufacturer to another. Dry dog foods, for instance, can be expected to have a shelf life that ranges from 4 months to three years. The pouched or canned varieties, on the other hand, have a shelf life of around 1-5 years. As for dog treats, they usually have a similar shelf life as to the dry food products offered by the same manufacturer.
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How To Store Dry Dog Food Long Term: 17 Tips For Smart Dog Owners
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When it comes to giving dry food to dogs, most pet owners only worry about the safety of the food and the ingredients used to make the food. Very few pay attention to how to store the food. However, like human food, dog food changes in taste, texture, and color when exposed to moisture and extreme temperatures. If you dont store your dry dog food properly, therefore, it may degrade and turn rancid fast, exposing your dog to a wide range of health conditions. To ensure that your dry dog food remains fresh for long and offers optimum nutritional value to your pup, we will highlight everything you need to know about storing dry dog food in the long term.;
Did You Make This Recipe
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This 100% human grade home made dog food recipe utilizes some of the best fall produce for your dog like sweet potatoes, cranberries, rosemary, and sage. Its perfect for every day feedings and does double duty as a really delicious holiday meal for your dog!;
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for all of us, even our dogs! Get your dogs day off to a great start with a healthy dose of protein, vitamins, and minerals by feeding him/her a delicious Pumpkin and Yogurt Bowl for Dogs. These yogurt bowls are filled with good for your dog ingredients like fat free Greek yogurt, 100% pure pumpkin puree, plant based vitamin and mineral powder, and my Homemade Dog Food Seasoning which is a blend of 5 herbs that have extraordinary health benefits for your dog!;
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How Long Does Dry Dog Food Last Unopened In The Bag
How long does dry dog food last after opening? The question of course is a big one, and there are a lot of conflicting answers. Some sources say the answer is within a couple of days, others say it is longer. So well take a quick look at how long does dry dog food last unopened, and whether or not the answer is within a couple of days or longer.
If you have ever seen a can of dry dog food, you will know that it isnt always fully closed. If you have ever had to throw away dry dog food, you will know that the product often doesnt come out completely empty. If you are wondering how long does dry dog food last unopened, its because most of it can get pretty stale after being opened and there is no way to tell if it has gone bad.
What we can look at are the ingredients that are in the food that might be in it. Youll see that when you open the can of dry dog food, it has a plastic lining that is a bit like a plastic bag, and you can tell when it has been opened because you can see that there are food particles in there.
The plastic lining is usually not strong enough to hold the food for very long, because when you open air, you can just see the food floating around. The dry food will have been exposed to the air for a while, and it has probably been sitting there for a few days already. You can tell that it hasnt been opened by how the plastic bag has started to tear away from the plastic lining.
Best Practices For Proper Dog Food Storage
Dogs are not known for their discerning palettes. I mean, your dog probably thinks a month-old chicken drumstick on the sidewalk is a perfectly acceptable snack. That is why they depend on you to provide fresh, balanced meals each day to keep them healthy.
While you may have nutritious for your pup, you still should learn how to store it properly so it can maintain its nutritional value. Not only is properly stored dog food better for your pup, but improperly stored dog food may degrade and turn rancid rapidly, which can make your dog sick.
We consulted veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson, associate veterinarian at the;Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre;in Alexandria, Virginia, and host of The Pet Show with Dr. Katy on Washington DCs News Channel 8 to find out how to keep your dogs food fresh for as long as possible.
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If The Dog Food Doesnt Smell Right
If a food looks fine but smells bad when you open it and, especially, if your dog seems reluctant or slow to dig into it its likely that the foods preservative and antioxidant agents have not performed as well as they should. The fats in the food may be rancid, making it unappealing, but not necessarily unhealthful. Oxidation of the fats in a food can result in a chemical chain reaction that leads to a rapid spreading of free radicals . The absorption of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins is significantly reduced in oxidized foods defeating the purpose of buying that costly nutritious diet!
If a food is giving off a strong, chemical or rancid odor, its probably not dangerous to feed to your dog, but its certainly not what the manufacturer intended. If it doesnt smell right, you shouldnt feed it, advises Armstrong. My experience is, if a food is rancid, a dog wont eat it, even if hes a real chow hound.
Armstrong and several other pet food company executives admit that all makers of naturally preserved foods struggle with the task of preventing rancidity and oxidation in their products. The one downside of natural preservation systems is that sometimes shelf life is shortened, says Dr. Brown. Still, its better than putting chemicals and artificial preservatives into our animals tissues.
How Long Does Kibble Last
Whats more expensive your dogs kibble or the bag it comes in?
Pet food companies invest heavily in packaging. Packaging with compelling pictures and benefits helps make sales. And packaging is also critical to the safety of the kibble. Experts with PhDs develop and test your dogs kibble packaging so it can sit on the shelf for months or years and still hold much of its nutrition. And if they get it wrong, dogs get sick.
But their job ends when you open up that bag of kibble. As soon as you open it, the food changes quickly.;And those changes can be toxic to your dog.
So how long does that bag of kibble really last?
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How Can I Tell If Dog Food Is Spoiled
If your dog suddenly wont eat or takes a few bites and walks away, they may be telling you somethings wrong with their food. Heres how to tell:
- Theres a sour or rancid smell.
- The dry food is moist, moldy or has bugs in it.
- The food has been exposed to high heat or humidity.
- The bag is past its Best Before date.
- Your dog seems sick or uncomfortable after eating.
- Theres a change in your dogs stool.
If you ever have any concerns about your dogs food, dont risk it. Toss out whats left and replace it with a fresh bag.
Watch Your Dog After They Eat
One of the most apparent signs that dog food has gone bad is when your dog gets sick or is in extreme discomfort after they eat. When dogs consume food that has expired, it will cause severe stomach irritation, which will lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.
Of course, that doesnt always mean its the dog food. Your dog could be sick with something else. But if that bag of dog food has been sitting around the house for a long time and your dog gets sick after consumption, theres a good chance its time for a new bag.
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