Guide to storing dog food
Read time: 4 minutes
The glamorous world of storage requirements for dog food
Navigating the vast abundance of different dog foods can be tricky, especially when it comes to appropriate pet food storage. I know, like many other pet owners, that I’ve wasted food for my dogs in the past by neglecting proper storage requirements.
There’s a great variety of dog food to choose from: frozen raw, freeze-dried raw, dry, canned or home-cooked food. As each type of dog food is made differently, there are specific ways on how to store each food type to guarantee the freshness is preserved and you are safely handling your dog’s food.
Researching the best ways to store pet food might not seem glamorous, but it could be the difference between a healthy dog and a sick dog. It’s something that plenty of pet parents often overlook. Efficient dog food storage keeps it tasty and fresh; keeping your dog healthy and happy!
Raw Dog Food
Raw dog food is available most commonly in the form of frozen and freeze-dried, each with varied storage requirements.
When feeding your dog frozen raw, it must be properly stored to prevent harmful bacteria breeding. This is whether the raw food is bought as a complete food, or if you’re making your dog’s raw diet from scratch. The best way to store raw pet food is to put it in the freezer as soon as you bring it home. For my pack of six dogs, this would mean clearing out half my freezer space, but it’s the best way to ensure the food stays fresh.
Make sure frozen raw is completely thawed prior to serving it to your dog. Defrost raw dog food in the fridge, in a seal-lock storage bag. If you’re planning to go on holiday with your dog, ensure your accommodation has the appropriate facilities to store your dog’s frozen foods correctly.
Freeze-dried raw dog food
The main difference between frozen raw dog food and freeze-dried raw dog food, is that freeze-dried raw contains all the goodness of frozen raw food, but requires no freezing or refrigeration! This was the biggest factor for me when looking for an alternative to standard raw food. It is also lightweight and easy to travel with, which is why it’s the best food for me and my pack.
Freeze-dried raw food is ideal for picky dogs who may not like the texture of traditional raw food. It’s also perfect for dog owners who are new to raw diets, since the food is complete and balanced. Your dog will get all the nutrients they need through the nugget-shaped freeze-dried food.
Whilst freeze-dried dog food is technically raw, it has a fantastic shelf life as it can last for years. This is due to its unique method of removing 98% of the moisture from the food. Freezing raw food keeps the water content still, whereas freeze-drying removes it!
Once opening your bag of freeze-dried raw food, it is advised to keep the food in the original zip-locked storage bag, or in an airtight container to maintain the flavour of the food and to prevent it becoming stale.
For any kind of raw dog food, all utensils used for preparation and serving must be thoroughly sanitised afterwards. This includes washing your hands and surfaces that have come into contact with raw food. Remember to always check the best before date as this may vary depending on the product.
Dry and canned dog food
Dry dog food, like kibble or cold-pressed, doesn’t need to be frozen or refrigerated the way conventional raw food does and can be stored at room temperature. Make sure your dry dog food bag is stored in a cool, dry and dark place. Too much moisture can lead to mold, and exposure to air can lead to oils becoming rancid. If dry dog food is stored incorrectly, it can impair its flavour and potentially cause stomach upset if eaten.
Canned dog food should be consumed soon after opening it to avoid it spoiling and being unsafe to eat. Once opened, the food needs to be kept refrigerated and consumed within the given timeframe. You can buy plastic lids or use plastic wrap to cover the food whilst it’s in the fridge to keep it fresh and prevent odour escaping.
Some dogs may prefer a home-cooked meal, which can also be rich with nutrients! The same rules apply; home-cooked food still needs to be stored appropriately. If you’re making your dog’s food in batches, you can keep it refrigerated for up to three days in plastic bags or containers.
Always ensure cooked food is cool all the way through before refrigerating. Any heat left in the food can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
You might choose to meal-prep your home-cooked food to save time. You can then freeze it in portions in dated containers or freezer safe storage bags.
A handy way of ensuring your dog is receiving the correct portions of food is by signing up to a monthly subscription service tailored to your dog. This saves you time on meal preparation, making mealtimes seamless for you too!
Keep it fresh and tasty!
No matter what type of dog food you wish to incorporate in your dog’s diet, it’s important to keep the food in a cool spot away from direct sunlight, keep it fresh, and always check the expiry date. Even if the food looks or smells normal, it can be dangerous to feed your dog any food that has exceeded its use by date.
By following correct storage instructions, you’ll not only ensure the food is safe to consume (and tasty!) but it also means less wastage and one happy pup.
Hi, I’m James, founder of Ella & Co.
I’m on a mission to make my dogs lives as happy and as healthy as they make mine. At Ella & Co this means feeding them the best possible diet.
Join me and my pack today!