How Long Will Your Pet Food Stay Fresh and Safe?
Do you think your dry pet food stays fresh and safe for a healthy cat or dog indefinitely after you open the bag? Think again. Truth is, the kibble inside an unsealed bag typically remains fresh for as little as 14 days, and certain contents may quickly turn rancid and become less safe for pet consumption. Here’s the scoop on the safety and freshness of your dry pet food, and how you can play it safe with your pet’s health:
Is Bigger Better?
It’s easy to understand why we often buy the bigger bags of dog and cat food. After all, it’s cheaper in bulk and it saves trips to the store, right? The problem, however, is that once the seal is broken and air comes into contact with the kibble, it starts to lose not only freshness, but also nutritional value.
You see, once oxygen and light reach the kibble, the chemical process of oxidation starts. This series of chemical reactions will diminish the vitamin/mineral content and turn oils and fats rancid. These spoiled ingredients will cause the smell to be “off” and make the kibble not healthy to eat. (This is why pet food packaging is opaque and does not have any see-through cellophane “windows.”) Be aware that heat can also affect the quality of the pet food.
What are the dangers to your pet of consuming rancid ingredients? Rancid fat can so vastly reduce the benefits to your pet from proteins and vitamins that he can suffer from protein and vitamin deficiencies. Rancid fats can also cause diarrhea, liver and heart problems, macular degeneration, cell damage, cancer, arthritis, and more. This, of course, is the bad news. The good news is that you can take measures to keep your pet food fresher for a healthier dog or cat.
What Can You Do?
To make sure your dry, bagged pet food is as fresh and wholesome as possible, first take note of the expiration date on the bag. This date applies to the unopened bag. In other words, the kibble inside should be fresh and nutritionally complete per the manufacturer’s claims before that date as long as the bag remains unopened. Of course, to feed your pet you need to open the bag! Once you do, however, the clock is ticking and you should use up the contents of the bag within 14 days or take measures to keep the food fresh. If you can’t make sure your pet eats all the food in that 2-week period, here are some ways to keep the food fresher and safer longer:
- Store the kibble in the original bag, but place that bag in a sealed, opaque container.
- Store a week’s worth of kibble in sealable plastic bags. Do this for the entire bag of food, putting all the air-tight bags back into the original dog food or cat food bag to keep out light.
- Store the sealed pet food in a dry, cool, climate-controlled area of your home. Do not store the food in your garage.
Your dog or cat depends on you to help them eat right and get the nutrition they need to live a long and healthy life. It might take a little more thought and effort on your part, but I have a feeling you are more than willing to take those extra steps for your beloved pet!
And if you can’t be home with your pets to manage their food intake or daily activities, I hope you’ll call on us. We provide in-home pet sitting services for dogs and cats designed to help your pet stay healthy and happy while you are away. Contact us today at 317.224.5243.
If you are looking for a pet sitter in Indianapolis, Carmel, Zionsville and nearby areas in Central Indiana, you’ve come to the right place. At Ask Linda Pet Sitting, we specialize in cat sitting, dog sitting, dog walking, and professional in-home pet care. We are not veterinarians, but we follow pet safety procedures and are trained for pet emergency situations. Above all, at Ask Linda Pet Sitting, we believe in education and proactive pet health. Linda is the only NAPPS certified pet sitter in Indianapolis, and is also a certified pet First Aid/CPR/Wellness instructor. Want to learn more? Ask Linda!