Prepared dog and cat food can be stored in the factory sealed package for quite a long time – up to 1.5 years, but after opening the package the shelf life and shelf life of dry food rapidly decreases and depends on storage conditions.
Let’s find out how, where and how long you can store dry food for dogs and cats.
Factors affecting the shelf life of dry food
Most dry food is preserved with natural antioxidants, a mixture of tocopherols, a plant-based vitamin E extract, which prevents oxidation of the fat in an airtight container. But as soon as we open it, the contents are instantly exposed to environmental conditions that accelerate fat oxidation.
Some factors further accelerate the deterioration of the product, and it is very desirable to avoid them:
- Air access. It is no longer possible to completely eliminate air from the opened package, but it is necessary to keep it tightly closed by wrapping the upper edges. That said, even if the package has a zipper fastener, push the package down before closing it to let the excess air out.
- Sunlight. Do not leave an open bag in direct sunlight, put it in a dark place.
- High temperatures. Storing the food in a hot apartment, much less by a radiator, is unacceptable. Choose a dark cool place for storage, where the temperature does not exceed 20C.
- Humidity. Dry food absorbs moisture easily, and dehydrated food can cause pellets to stick together, while other factors can cause bacteria and mold to grow, which can be very dangerous for your pet.
- Insects and rodents. Feed often attracts pests, and it is highly desirable that they have no access to it.
Where is the best place to store dry food?
The best option is a special plastic, glass or metal container with a tightly closing lid, which is desirable to place indoors away from batteries, in the driest and coolest place of the apartment – in the hallway, dark room, closet. But do not choose an open balcony or garage, where the temperature and humidity can not control.
It is better not to pour the food into a container, and put it in the entire bag, squeezing the air out of it, wrap the edges, something to fix (tape, clothespins) and then close the container lid. If you overflow, make sure the container is clean and dry.
How long can I keep dry food after opening the package?
Even with strict adherence to all rules, open dry food is stored for no more than 4-8 weeks, after which even antioxidants can no longer cope with the continuous oxidation of fats and destruction of nutrients.
It is also possible to put the food needed for a short time, for example for a week, in a separate hermetically sealed container, so as not to open a big bag every day – so air will less often penetrate into it, which can prolong the safety of the food.
The longer you keep the food open, the more likely it will spoil prematurely. If you are buying a lot of food, check the expiration dates and open bags first.
If a large bag of wet food cannot be handled by the pet within that time frame, select other meal pre-packaged options.
How do I store wet food?
Sealed spiders and cans of canned food last a long time – up to 3 years.
Closed packages can be stored at room temperature, if you do not have a very humid and not too hot, in a cool dark place, away from direct sunlight. If your apartment is very hot, canned foods can be stored in the refrigerator.
Open canned food spoils very quickly, so don’t buy a big jar of canned food that the pet cannot handle in a short time.
You can store open wet food from tin cans by transferring it to a plastic or glass container with a tightly closing lid, such as a plastic or silicone lid.
Food in pouches can be left in the original bag, with the edges of the bag rolled down and something to hold it in place.
Any open wet food should be consumed within 24 to 48 hours if kept in the fridge. Soft food should not be left in the bowl all the time because it will spoil very quickly if exposed to the heat. If he hasn’t finished his food, put it away and in future only give him the amount he is guaranteed to eat at one time.
Remember, when feeding wet food stored in the refrigerator, warm it to room temperature before serving.
These simple rules for food storage will ensure that the food is kept in proper quality, and you will be sure that your pet gets a flavorful, tasty and nutritious meal.