How to Keep Dog Food Fresh

Just like human food, dog food can become stale over time, leading to loss of nutrients, bacteria development, and a host of other issues.

We wanted to share with you our best practices for how to maximize the freshness of different types of dog food. 

Does Dry Dog Food Go Stale?

Just like human food, pet food has a shelf life. 

If you look closely at any bag of dog food, you’ll find that it has an expiration date. 

In the same way as most human foods, though, this date applies to an unopened bag of food. 

Immediately after opening a bag of food, the food will begin to spoil as it is exposed to moisture, bacteria, and fungi in the air. 

Because kibble is produced through an extrusion process, it can last longer before spoiling compared to a piece of raw piece meat. 

With proper storage, you can typically use dog food up to one month after you initially open the bag of food. 

How to Store Dry Dog Food

Kibble is by far and away the most common form of dog food on the market.

For small bags of food that you use within a month, you can store the food in its original bag with a clip to ensure it's sealed when not being used. 

However, if you want to make it last longer, an easy way to do that is to use an airtight pet food storage container. 

Stainless steel or plastic will both work just fine, as long as the seal prevents new air from getting in.

If you do use an airtight container, be sure to clean it whenever you put in a new bag of dog food.

Most people tend to just throw in the new food, but this is far from ideal. 

Oils from the kibble will often make their way onto the container, and over time they can get rancid or stale. 

If this happens, you can wind up contaminating the new food. 

Where to Store Dry Dog Food

It’s best to store food in a cool, dry place such as in a kitchen cabinet or in a closet that is not too moist.

How to Store Wet Dog Food

Individual cans of wet dog food can sometimes have a shelf life of up to 3-5 years. 

If you happen to buy canned food in bulk, make sure to always check the expiration date and feed the food expiring the soonest, first.

Once you do open the can, if your dog doesn't eat all the food in the same day, be sure to move it into a food storage tupperware or other airtight container and put it in the fridge. 

You can also purchase can covers if you want to store it in the original container.  

Canned food can last  in the fridge covered for 2-3 days. 

When in doubt, always open a new can.

How to Store Raw Dog Food

Raw diets have become increasingly popular, however, raw meat is prone to going rancid rather quickly. 

If your dog isn’t able to eat the raw food you have on hand within a day or two, you should place it in the freezer in an airtight storage container where it can last up to 6 months. 

Proper handling and storage of raw food is essential as there is a major pathogen risk to humans if not handled and stored correctly.

How to Store Air-Dried Dog Food

Because of the way it’s processed, it’s most similar to jerky compared to a traditional kibble.
When kibble is made, companies combine all of their wet and dry ingredients together which are then placed under high heat and pressure to form the kibble bits. 

This process can destroy a lot of the nutrients in their food.

Sundays Food for Dogs is an air-dried dog food

We make it by mixing together all of our human-grade ingredients and then cooking it at an even, low temperature, instead of heating it up to very high temperatures, which puts the food at risk for losing nutrients.

Our research has shown that this allows for more nutrient retention, and it creates a jerky-like flavor and texture that dogs love. 

With air-dried food, it will last in the re-sealed bag for about 8 weeks before it starts to lose some of its flavor. 

In humid environments or if you have a very small dog that takes a while to go through their bag of Sundays, we recommend storing the food in an air-tight container to prolong its shelf life. 

Other Considerations

There are a few other things you should keep in mind in order to maximize the freshness of your dog’s food. 
Never Mix Old Food With New Food

This is especially important for those who may pour their kibble from the bag into a different container. 

Be sure to fully empty the container of any old food before you add in the new stuff.

Otherwise, you could end up with some of their food being multiple months old, going rancid and contaminating the rest of the food in the container. 

A quick dump and wipedown of your container should be sufficient. 
Keep Dry Dog Food Elevated

Whether you keep your dog’s food in the original bag or a separate container, be sure to keep it off the ground if possible. 

This is especially true if you’re using either a plastic container or just the bag.

When left on the ground, it allows the opportunity for pests like mice and insects to make their way into your dog’s food.

If you elevate it, it significantly reduces the risk of that happening.
Only Buy the Amount of Dog Food You Need

The easiest and simplest way to keep fresh dog food in your house is to buy less of it at a time.

Instead of buying a huge bulk bag that will take you a few months to get through, consider setting up a subscription. 

With Sundays, we send you food every 2-6 weeks depending on your dogs’ needs - we do not sell it in very large quantities in order to maintain freshness. 

If you want to learn more, check out our tool created by Dr. Tory Waxman to help you determine how much of our food your dog needs.

This will help you make sure you get on a schedule so that your dog always has delicious, fresh food.

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