Handling Dry Pet Food


Jun 10, 2013

Debbie June Rickman Laughlin

Dry Pet Food you love and care about your pet as if they were your children. For many people, pets are like children and they deserve the care and attention that we give to our own foods. As with the foods we eat, the shelf life of dog and cat food varies as does the storage needs and environmental requirements for safe storage.

As a pet sitter, I find that many customer pour the food from the original bag and place it in an air tight container to keep the pet food fresh.  Few know the ideal method is to place the pet food in the original packaging inside the air tight container.  I know my clients love their pets, otherwise the would not hire me.  So let’s explore what is happening to your dry pet food.

How you handle food once you have it at home can make a big difference in how long it remains fresh and maintains its ideal nutritional profile. Exposure to air, light, hot temperatures and humidity speeds up the rate at which foods degrade. To limit these effects, keep dry foods in their original packaging. High-quality dog food bags have been designed to keep out the elements. Open the bag carefully so you can roll and hold the top closed with a clip or otherwise reseal the package in between uses. Dr. Jennifer Coates

  • Do you store your pet food in the garage?
  • What happens to your pet food when the temperature in your garage goes above below 75-80 degrees F?
  • How You Store Dry Dog Food Will Affect Your Dog’s Health.

Keeping an open bag of dry dog food for weeks in your kitchen or garage will cause changes in the food that may lead to serious health problems. Learn how to properly store dry dog foods to help your dogs and cats live longer. Natural Paw

Dry pet food and treats will generally remain at the peak of their nutrition and quality anywhere from a few months to a few years. This time frame depends on the preservatives used, the packaging quality and materials, and pet food storage conditions.

The shelf life of most canned pet food is a different story entirely. Canned food will maintain its peak nutritional values for two to five years from the date of canning. The process used to can pet food uses extreme heat, thus making the food sterile. So the theory is as long as the cans remained undamaged and are not exposed to heat above 75 degrees F for an extended period of time, it can retain safety and nutritional values for extended periods of time.

All forms of pet foods, regardless of how they are made, packaged, preserved, and stored, are affected by various environmental factors, temperature and light being two of the most critical. As a proud and concerned pet owner, you will also want to watch out for damaged and torn bags and dented, bulging, leaking or rusting cans of pet food. Remember that your pet’s safety is in your hand, so be smart when buying food and feeding your pets.

Here are some easy to remember and follow Do’s and Don’ts of pet food care, handling, and storage that can make your life easier.


  • Use up dry food within a month or less of opening the bag
  • Throw away any food that is left after a month
  • Keep the bag for bar code and product information in case you need to refer to it later
  • The best way to store food is in the original bag, sealed inside an air-tight container
  • Store the food in a cool and dry place below 75-80 degrees F
  • If you cannot store all the food in your bin, pull some out in freezer bags and store them in the freezer to take out and thaw for later use
  • Always check the food before feeding to make sure nothing spoiled or different from the last bag you bought
  • Remember that while canned food has a long shelf life before opening, most canned food can be refrigerated safely for up to 3 days


  • Do not leave pet food bags open and exposed to air
  • Do not store the food in the sunlight as this can speed up the decaying process and kill vitamins and nutrients in the food
  • Do not let the food get wet and if it does become wet, throw it away, do not try to salvage it
  • Do not use food past expiration dates even if it is still unopened
  • Do not throw the bag away so you have access to the manufacturer’s information in case there is a problem
  • Do not poor new food into the same container as old food unless you add the old food to the top of the bin so it gets used first
  • Do not accidentally let your pet get into the bin and binge eat, as this can lead to painful and deadly bloat

You love your pet and want what is best for them, feline and canine alike. Knowing how to properly store and handle their food is one of the best and easiest things you can do to keep the safe, happy, and healthy.

FYI:Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat. Learn more:  For Tips on keeping things cool for your pets this summer Click here!

Please leave a comment and share.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you so much, Debbie

The article was originally posted and shared by the Housecall4pets