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Pet Food Storage Tips


If pet food becomes exposed to light or air, a process referred to as “oxidation” occurs, which can lead to food becoming rancid fast. A lot of money is spent on dog food, especially premium food and this is why it is very important to learn proper storage methods. The following is a guide to pet food storage.

The first step should always be to check for a ‘best if used by’ date on the packaging before you make a purchase. You will find some stores using an inventory approach where bags are rotated to ensure that food with the closest expiry date is placed up front. Other stores might not even know about best buy dates or expiry dates.

Take a look at dogproductpicker to find the best container to store your pet food.

Dry Food

Manufacturers invest a lot of money and time researching the most appropriate ways to store food and extend shelf life, which means that simply storing dry food in its original packaging is a great first step towards keeping it fresh. However, you should ensure that you reseal the packaging tightly after opening. Dry pet food should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from light, and preferably in an airtight container.

Pet owners often find that opening a bag of dry food and then putting the entire bag into a dog food storage container is the best way to retain freshness and keep the food safe from insects and rodents. Vittles Vaults are one of the best opaque, airtight storage containers for pet food designed to ensure that pet food stays fresh and allows owners of pets to buy in bulk more easily.

Note: Lamb-based dog foods typically have a shorter lifespan compared to other meats. So, if you frequently rotate your pet’s protein source, don’t forget to check the freshness dates since they might vary.

Canned Food

Unopened canned pet food typically has a fairly long shelf life and can safely stay good for anywhere between 2 and 5 years with proper storage. However, it is worth remembering that ingredients and canning methods can both affect how long they can be stored. Canned dog food packaged in plastic tubs usually doesn’t last as long on the shelf as those in the cans.

Check the “use by” dates carefully. Once you buy, move older cans to the front of the shelf and the newer ones in the back or use a can organizer for the pantry to ensure that you use them in the proper order.

If you open a can, use a tightly fitted can lid or transfer the remaining portion to an airtight storage container and refrigerate the food for up to 5 days depending on the ingredients used.

Dehydrated or Freeze-Dried Foods

The vast majority of freeze-dried foods depend on natural antioxidants, which means that they have shorter shelf lives compared to other foods. Once you break the seal on such foods, know that the clock has started ticking and you need to plan to consume it within several weeks.

Moisture is one of the worst things that can happen to such foods, so ensure that you store in a cool, dry place so that mold and bacteria doesn’t grow. If you don’t repack such foods, you have just about 6 months to continue feeding freeze-dried or dehydrated food to your pets.

Still, it is quite easy to repackage such types of foods. If you decide to repackage, transfer the contents into airtight packages and freeze or store in a cool, dry place. Doing this will help extend shelf life to 2 to 5 years.

Raw Food

Raw food is not designed to be stored for extended periods. It is always advisable to use raw food within 1 to 2 days of opening or thawing.

Frozen food generally stays good in a frozen state for about 6 months if properly wrapped or sealed. Once the food is thawed or opened, however, you have less than 3 days to use it. If you prepare or buy raw or frozen food in bulk, consider portioning it out into sealed containers and then freeze it. It will help you preserve the food’s life while only thawing portions needed to feed each day.


All dog foods have different ingredients, packaging types, and preservatives, which is why the use-by dates and shelf life typically varies between types and brands. The preservatives used can also affect pet food’s shelf life. Natural preservatives such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, and some types of herbs usually tend to break down faster than artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin, which makes holistic or natural pet foods more susceptible to spoiling much faster.

Use the guide above as a general rule when it comes to keeping pet food fresh and always strive to follow the storage guidelines recommended by the manufacturer. If in doubt with regards to your pet’s food, throw it out.


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