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.