Have you ever wondered about the safest way of storing your pooch’s dry food (kibble, freeze-dried, air-dried, dehydrated, base mixes for raw feeding) & treats?
I remember my different stages of storing dry dog food. During the first few weeks of being a proud first time doggie owner, I’d use food storage bag clips to keep the pups’ bags of kibble closed.
I quickly figured that this method wasn’t as effective since it couldn’t keep the bag hermetically sealed, and went ahead and invested in a large storage container for dry dog food at a local pet retailer.
From then on I poured the entire content of the bags of food into said container, “parked” it in my laundry room, threw out the packaging, and felt really good about my new food storage system.
It wasn’t until about a year later that I came across an article about proper and safe dog food storage in a dog magazine. You may guess that I was in for a little wake-up call! What I read made perfect sense, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of this myself!
I can’t remember what the dog magazine’s name was, but I ended up cutting out the article and taping it onto the lid of the storage container, so I’m including a picture of it below!
Keep the dog food in its manufactured packaging – it’s made to retain freshness & nutrients
What I hadn’t taken into consideration was the fact that the bags containing kibble (and air-dried/base mixes for raw feeding) are specifically made to retain its freshness and nutrients.
Once dry food is exposed to air, heat, and light, it looses its freshness because the elements break down the vitamins and nutrients.
It is therefore safest to store the bag of dry food inside an airtight container. I still use the storage container I initially bought for this purpose (after having given it a thorough cleaning with hot water & soap).
Make sure the bag is closed tightly ~ the pups’ air-dried raw food brand ZiwiPeak has a zip lock closure system that I totally love!
A kibble brand I used to feed, Annamaet, also had a (sliding) zip lock closure system ~ it makes food storage so much easier & effective than keeping the bag closed with bag clips.
Update 2019: I’m currently reading Steve Brown’s book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet”, and came across his section on why storing dry dog food improperly is truly harmful to dogs:
Steve Brown, an expert on canine nutrition, chimes in
One of the most popular parts of my seminars is the discussion of proper storage of dry and frozen foods. […] That’s how long [39 days] the typical purchased bag of dog food remains open before completely consumed.
This lengthy time, combined with often poor storage conditions, leads to oxidation of fats, nutrient degradation, and infestation by molds, mites, and other food spoilers. One in three dogs dies of cancer, and I think improper storage at home is a contributing factor. […]
Dry dog foods usually have a one-year “shelf life.” […] This applies only to unopened bags. […] But as soon as you open the bag of dog food, oxygen, moisture, light, mold spores, storage mites, and other potential spoilers enter the bag. […]
When dry dog foods absorb moisture from the surrounding air, the antimicrobials used by manufacturers to delay mold growth can be overwhelmed, and mold can grow. The molds that consume dry pet foods include the Aspergillus flavus mold, which produces Aflatoxin B1, the most potent naturally occurring carcinogenic substance known.
Steve Brown, Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, p. 87-88. Dogwise Publishing, 2010.
Just like in the article that I read in the dog magazine mentioned earlier, Steve Brown recommends keeping dry dog food in its original bag. He also recommends buying smaller bags the contents of which can be fed fairly quickly, ideally within 7 days.
Where To Safely Store Dry Dog Food
It’s just as important to store the dry food or treats in a place that isn’t subject to changing temperatures, because this can actually cause moisture to creep into the kibble/air-dried food/base-mix for raw food/treats and cause mold.
The garage is therefore not a good storage area, especially during the summer months with peak temperatures in the afternoon, and cooler ones at night (even if it’s insulated). I keep the pups’ air-dried raw food at the bottom of my air-conditioned pantry.
Another benefit of keeping your actual bag of dog food is being able to check it for the lot number in case of a dog food recall. Should your bag of food be affected by the recall, you can usually take it back for a complete refund.
Update 2019: Although I now feed a fresh, balanced raw dog food diet that’s stored in the fridge and/or freezer, I still actively use the storage container for my dog treat bags.
How & where do you store your dry dog food/treats? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!