How to store dry dog food long-term?

Those who have dogs, they tend to worry about buying the right kind of dog food. Yet so many of them don’t pay much attention to how to store this food properly for a long time.

In the matter of keeping these foods safe, we have to follow certain rules that will help us to keep our pet’s breakfast or dinner fresh for quite some time. These specific kinds of food are the product that changes in taste, color, and texture if they get exposed to very high or low temperatures and moisture.

Hence, storing dog-food in an appropriate environment is not an important task only, but also necessary. If you need to open the package, it is obvious that it will reveal the contents of the bag to light, air, and heat.

This sort of transformation is capable of compromising the freshness of the ration, breaking down the nutrients and vitamins. If you are successful to store the dry meal properly then you are being able to slow down the process and extend the freshness of the kibbles. In this article, we will learn about a few processes which will help us to store the dry dog food for the long-term.

Table of contents

  1. Steps that will help to store dry dog food
  2. Mistakes that happen usually
  3. Frequently asked questions

Steps that will help to store dry dog food

Use laundry hamper

Plenty of pet owners opt for storing dog food inside trash cans. If you include yourself among those who don’t like the idea of placing clean, fresh food in a garbage bin, then you can choose to use a laundry hamper instead. Also, remember that laundry baskets are much more attractive than plastic waste cans.

Still, when you will store dog food in a laundry hamper, you need to assure the fact that the original package has a zip closure system. You can also decide to place the bag inside a large plastic container before keeping that in the laundry hamper.

Use drawstring bag

This particular method is the most useful out of all the best ways to store dog food in the summertime. If you have multiple dogs, storing dry meal inside a drawstring bag is something that you can do. It also means that there will be varieties of food. It means you can have one drawstring bag for every different type of food product.

You are always allowed to customize these bags using spray paint or felt marker. And do remember to buy dog food that comes in packaging that can zip shut. This way the food remains fresh and moisture-free for a long time.

Glass container

If dog foods have an airtight lid then they will not go bad in glass containers. Yes so many of us store food in plastic containers but not all of us have thought about replacing them with the glass versions. You will always find a few glass containers, big or small, lying around somewhere in your house. So it’s time for you to look for them and use them in a creative way for your daily life chores.

Use large metal tin or can

With every holiday season, we are left with tons of large metal tins and cans. So we can use them effectively in the matter of storing dry dog food. You are allowed to turn these containers into bright, colored storage cans.

Old furniture

Another exclusive idea is storing the dry food inside used, old cabinets or dressers. If you can find some plastic containers of the right size that will fit into the cabinet easily, then your work is done.

Cool and dry place

You should try to avoid storing dry dog food in a garage, which can become very hot, or under the sink that can be moist and humid. Regarding this, a kitchen cabinet or pantry is an ideal choice, but you may need to run the AC in the summer.

Don’t mix

You should not mix old food with new food. There is a chance that you may be tempted to use up the whole bag, but remember that old dog food may contaminate new food with bacteria or germs.

Proper rinsing

You should always rinse your dry food containers and bowls thoroughly because moisture will cause mold and mildew to grow on the food.

Question mark with idea text

Did you know?

Sometimes we try to make sure so hard that our dog gets the best food available, which is rich in essential components, but we tend to forget about ourselves. Fibers and vitamins are just as important for us, people than our loved little pets. If you are interested, I recommend you check out this other article of ours.

Mistakes that happen usually

Dumping the food into containers

Yes, storage containers are an excellent choice for keeping the meal fresher and longer. Plenty of pet owners make the usual mistake of pouring dry food directly into the container. Regarding the matter, many experts recommend placing the bag itself into the storage bin and scooping out the kibble.

Pet meals are supposed to keep their best flavor when they are stored in the original bag, which provides a barrier of fat. This also blocks the oil from adhering to the container and contaminating the next batch.

Unsealed pet food

Any sorts of exposure to the air cause food to go bad faster and increases the risk of contamination by harmful bacteria. These materials should be sealed tightly between each feeding.

High temperatures and humidity

To pack and store the heavy bag of dog food in the garage or on the back porch may seem like an easy task, but remember that weather conditions like humidity can affect food’s freshness and safety.

According to the experts of ‘Hills Pet Nutrition’, storing dry-food and unopened canned food in a cool, dry environment is recommended to prevent vitamin loss and contamination. You should also make sure that bugs and animals cannot access food.

Leaving food for a long time

If canned pet food gets opened once then it should not be left unrefrigerated for longer than 2 to 4 hours. Remember that how long an open bag of dry food lasts, usually depends on the manufacturer. So in any emergencies, you should always contact them.

Don’t allow children to handle the dog food

Small kids are not capable of keeping their hands perfectly cleaned. Sometimes it is great to teach older kids to be responsible by having them help out with feedings. And younger persons should sit this task out as they are capable of contaminating your dog or themselves by not washing up before or after handling the food.

Expiration date

Never forget that “Expiration” or “Best By” dates on a portion of pet food are there to tell you the date that a particular manufacturer has determined for the food that will no longer provide your dog with proper nutrition. Plenty of times serious cases of illness from expired food have been reported. Always remember to check the bag or cans before purchasing to ensure that the expiration date is well in the future.

Wash the bowl between feeding

According to the FDA recommendations, washing pet food bowls and utensils with dish soap and hot water between every use is very important to prevent infectious agents.

If you want to know when does dry dog food go bad then you can check out or another article here.

Frequently asked questions

Does dry dog food degrade?

It is universal that every food naturally deteriorates over time. This may occur with contact to the air as we know oxygen degrades fats and vitamins. So this alteration is more reasonable in the presence of moisture and when it is hot.

Remember that pastes and kibbles can also serve as food for insects, bacteria or molds. On that note, every manufacturer must make sure that they are safe from the outset. It becomes your responsibility to keep them away from these contaminations after you purchase them.

What are the risks?

Know that the risks of food poisoning are more limited to a dog than in a cat, and this results in a change in the composition, a decrease in the overall vitamins and nutrients. The meal becomes rancid, and as a result, your dog will refuse to eat the food.

The smell of rotten food is an immediate and ultimate consequence of fat oxidation. As both dogs and cats have extraordinary sensory capacities, so they can detect any minimal modification of the fats.

Do these foods have preservatives?

Manufacturers have permission to use antioxidants. These are molecules that have the particularity of catching the oxygen and therefore limit the oxidation of fats and other sensitive components. They are also capable of using preservatives of molecules that have to make water unavailable to mold.

Keep in mind that the use of these additives is regulated. Anything not explicitly authorized in this matter is prohibited and maximum permitted rates also exist for some of these additives.

Which conditions preserve these foods perfectly?

In the beginning, the food must be healthy and the packaging should remain uncontaminated. For that, it must follow health and safety regulations in force. As we have mentioned earlier, the packaging must be airtight to keep insects, air, and light out, and the water content must be limited. You can store the meal under a controlled atmosphere of nitrogen. The food has to be stored dry and protected from heat always.

Also if you are curious to learn about best dry dog food for seniors then have a look here.


Usually, dry food can be stored and remain unopened for several months. But once they are opened, then keeping them in an airtight box, in a cool, and dry place is a must to maximize their lifespan.

The amount of storing time of the dry food depends on the type, the ingredients, and the preservatives it contains. Naturally, if the food looks and smells okay then usually they are. Still, you should look for the labels on the packaging, as it will give you a good guide.

Another known fact is that canned food can also be stored for months, but once opened, the food should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 days as they will attract flies and bacteria far more readily than dry food. These canned products also tend to give your dog stomach issues. So you need to be far more cautious with this than you would be with dry food.


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