Just like human food, the quality and edibility of pet food degrades over time. But unlike human food that is typically eaten within a week or so of opening, a single large bag of pet food can serve as your dog or cat’s main meal source for a month or more, which leaves it highly vulnerable to nutrient loss, mold, pests, and general spoilage. That’s why safe storage is such a vital part of ensuring your pet gets the freshest, most nutritious kibble possible. Here’s how to do it:
- Keep dry pet food in its original packaging. Dog and cat food bags are made with special liner materials that help block out oxygen and moisture while also serving as a barrier to prevent the fats and oils in the food from leeching out. In addition, the original packaging should have a “best by” date and a batch or source code to consult in the event of a product recall.
- For extra protection, put the food (still in its original packaging) in an airtight container. Glass or metal containers are preferable, but plastic can work too. Just be sure to wipe down the container every time you swap out the food bag.
- Store the food in a cool, dry place well away from direct sunlight and sources of moisture. Food containers and packages should also be kept off the ground to help prevent mites and other pests from burrowing in.
- Try to use all dry pet food within six weeks (42 days) of opening the package. If your pet cannot finish the food within that timeframe, consider purchasing smaller bags in the future.
- Never pour new food on top of old food in the bag or container. When consolidating two bags of food, make sure the older kibble goes on top of the newer product so it can be used up first.
As a loving and responsible pet owner, you naturally want to give your dog or cat only the best quality food packed with the nutrients essential to animal health. So take the steps outlined here to store pet food safely and help preserve the freshness of every bag you buy.
We know what you’re thinking: It’s now the middle of July and the cold, ice, and snow are impossibly far away. Why bring up winter gear storage now?
That’s a fair question, especially if you’ve already stowed your ice cleats, battery heated apparel, electric blankets, ski boots, gloves, and other expensive winter equipment in an appropriate manner.
But over the years we’ve learned that, for a variety of reasons (forgetfulness, lack of time, sheer procrastination, etc.), a large number of our customers don’t actually get around to this task until sometime in the summer—like right about now.
So if your winter gear has been securely packed away for the past few months, you can take this opportunity to check up on the items to make sure they’re completely dry and pest-free. And if you’re still fighting your way through wool sweaters and down jackets as you try to find your favorite t-shirt or windbreaker, use our tips for storing those garments for the rest of the summer:
- Machine wash or dry clean the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the label before storing. Then neatly fold or roll each item to avoid developing unwanted creases in the material, and place in a vacuum-sealed storage bag or airtight plastic container.
- Heavier garments such as parkas and down jackets should be hung on sturdy plastic or wood hangers (never wire ones) that are able to support the extra weight.
- Keep apparel and blankets smelling fresh by tossing a sachet of cedar chips or dried lavender in the storage container before sealing.
- Store apparel and blankets in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent musty odors and mildew, as well as keep moths, mites, and other pests at bay.
- Use wall pegs, hooks, or racks in the garage to hang ice cleats, ski boots, and other winter footwear off the ground and out of your way.
- Check in on your items every 4 to 6 weeks so you can spot any irregularities or problems in time to take corrective action.
Whether your winter gear has been safely stored away since the last of the snow melted or you’re just getting around to the job now, you can use the advice listed here to help preserve your clothing, blankets, and equipment in great condition until you need it again.