Learn how to store wheat flour long term so you can benefit from this key ingredient now, in 2 years, or in 30 years.
How to Store Dog Food Long-Term
In an emergency scenario, you want to ensure you have edible dog food for the happiest member of the family. Fortunately, this can be done simply by pre-packaging the dog food for long-term storage. Good safekeeping and handling practices will help retain the kibble’s taste and nutritional value. As long as you can prevent the dog food’s exposure to moisture, oxygen, direct light, and extreme heat will help preserve the quality up to the quality and even put your dog’s health at risk.
Properly storing dog food can extend the shelf life of dog kibble from 18 months up to 15 years. However, to ensure the food can last this long, it must be protected from environmental aggressors. In most cases, making use of airtight containers, oxygen absorbers, and mylar bags would do the trick.
Want to know more about how to store dog food long-term? Check out our tips, tricks, and handy dog food storage ideas below.
How to Store Dry Dog Food Long-Term?
When storing dry dog food long-term, your goal is to remove exposure to light, moisture, heat, and oxygen, as well as make it difficult for rodents to access it. Exposure to these environmental aggressors will speed up microbe growth, causing it to spoil and mold. It’s important that dogs do not eat spoiled food because it causes them to get sick and have serious health complications later on.
Typically, when finding a place to store kibble, you should aim to store it in a tinted airtight container and keep it in a cool, dark place. This will keep the dog food from going stale, and your pup will thank you for it. Some methods for storing dog food are:
Method 1: Store in Original Packaging
This is an important detail that a lot of dog owners overlook. The food’s original packaging is custom-made for one single purpose: long-term storage. In its original packaging, dog food in its typically has a shelf life of 6 to 18 months.
The original packaging also has essential bits of information, like the ‘Best Before’ date and batch code, in case of any type of recall. Or, if you later notice that something seems off with the one you bought, these pieces of information can come in handy when you ask for a replacement or refund.
Method 2: Use Airtight Food Container (Mason Jars)
Prevent dry dog food from getting exposed to the elements by keeping them in airtight containers. Air exposure is the leading cause of pests, fungi, and bacteria getting into the food, which speeds up its deterioration. Mason jars are designed to keep air out of the container and can be made more effective by adding oxygen absorbers. O2 absorbers will remove any excess air still in the glass jar.
If using a mason jar for dry dog food storage, ideally, you should be replacing the dog food within 18 months.
Related Article: Long Term Food Storage in Mason Jars
Method 3: Mylar Bags
Mylar bags are food-grade metallic bags that are reinforced by multiple layers of sheets that prevent insects, moisture, or bacteria from entering the food bag. Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is a popular method for storing dry food items. However, the main downside of using them is that they do not protect against rodents from breaking the bag. Additionally, once you open the bag, you must replace the oxygen absorbers because they will no longer be effective after the bag is opened. When freeze-dry dog food is stored in a mylar bag with oxygen absorbers, its shelf life is up to 25 years (source).
Note: For oxygen absorbers to be effective, the moisture of the dry dog food must be below 10%.
Related Article: How to Store Food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners
Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets
Method 4: Store Kibble in 5-Gallon Bucket
Food-grade 5-gallon buckets are the most effective way of storing dried food items for long-term storage. In the case of dry dog food, it can be stored for up to 25 years. The way to extend the shelf life of kibble for 25 years is by pouring the dog food into mylar bags and adding oxygen absorbers. You would then seal the mylar bag and place it in the 5-gallon bucket. Mylar bags will protect the dog food from bacteria, dirt, moisture, and insects interacting with the dog food. And the food bucket would protect it from rodents as well as environmental aggressors. Preparing food-grade buckets for dry dog food storage will ensure you can continue to feed your dog in any scenario.
Some popular long-term dog food brands are:
Related Article: How to Store Food in 5-Gallon Buckets
Where to Store Dry Dog Food
Try out these handy tips to store dry dog food long-term.
Keep in a Cool, Dry Place
Manufacturers are always reminding us to do this, and rightfully so. Ensuring that the goods we buy are kept out of direct sunlight and moisture ensures they stay fresh for longer.
The moisture-and-heat combo promotes mold growths and bacteria build-up. Needless to say, that’s the last thing we want.
Store in Smaller Containers
No matter how airtight, opening dog food containers will still invite air and moisture into your dog’s food supply. To help prevent significantly reducing the frequency of opening the large-sized container, opt for smaller-sized bins, each about 5 pounds.
First In, First Out (FIFO)
FIFO is the way to go. In other words, the older dog food, or the bag that was opened first, gets served ahead of the others. This will ensure that your dog gets fresh kibble every time.
Keep dog food off the floor. The closer it is to the ground, the greater the risk of moisture exposure.
Not only that, but ants and other pests get easier access if the dog food bag is lying on the floor. Even your dog will find a way to get into the bag. Remember, they’re often smarter than you think.
Use a Scoop & Wash Hands When Handling Dog Food
Whether serving dog food or transferring it from one container to the next, don’t forget to wash your hands first. Otherwise, you risk bringing bacteria into the container. Your pup’s tummy may tolerate small amounts of the bacteria, but it’ll likely cause the kibble to go rancid at a much faster rate.
Use a scoop or cup for good measure. It’s not only sanitary, but you’ll also be able to monitor and control your dog’s diet.
How Long Can Dry Dog Food be Stored?
Usually, unopened dry dog food can be stored for 12-18 months following manufacturing. However, the recommended time for the consumption of food varies a lot based on the product and its contents.
Additionally, you can also keep your dog’s food stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for up to 25 years. Mylar bags are effective against most external threats, with the exception of rodents.
Dry dog food can be stored in a food grade 5-gallon bucket and stored for up to 25 years. As mentioned earlier, brands like PetPrep and Pet’s Banquet specialize in making packaging for long-term storage.
|Storage Method||Shelf Life of Dry Dog Food|
|Original Packaging||6-18 months|
|Mason Jar (w/ O2 Absorber)||18 months|
|Mylar Bag (w/ O2 Absorber)||15-25 years|
|5-Gallon Bucket (w/ O2 Absorber)||15-25 years|
How to Tell if Dog Food has Gone Bad
Below are some surefire signs that dog food is no longer fit for consumption. If you notice any of these, seal the package well and throw it out immediately.
- Formation of black, green, or white mold spores
- Discoloration, especially if it turns green or black
- Emitting bad odor
- Your dog won’t go near it
If it happens by chance that your dog ingests moldy food, he could be at risk for food poisoning (source), which can have the following symptoms:
- Rigid limbs
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Why Proper Dog Food Storage Matters
You always choose the kibbles with the most nutritional benefits in the market for your pup. That’s why it’d be a waste to find out later that it’s gone bad just a month after purchase because it wasn’t stored properly.
Storing food properly is important because a simple oversight can be lethal and cause serious health issues. For this reason, you should understand the dangers of feeding your pooch food that’s gone bad if you neglect proper dog food storage practices.
- Prevents bacteria and fungi contamination
- Prevents mold mites or shrank
- Protects from toxicosis (source)
- Protects from mycotoxins (source)
- Retains the food’s flavor and ideal texture
- Prevents the loss of nutrients
- Slows down food degradation
People Also Ask
Below are some frequently asked questions.
What is the Shelf Life of Canned Dog Food?
Canned food is an effective storage method. Typically the best by date on a canned food item is 2 to 5 years after manufacturing, but canned food items can stay fresh much longer than their suggested expiration date. Once opened, the canned dog food should be used for a few days because it will go bad soon after opening (source).
Can you Store Dry Dog Food in the Freezer?
Yes, dry dog food can be poured into a container and frozen for up to 9 months. However, be mindful that frozen dog food is not necessary, and dog food in its original packaging can last up to 18 months. Plus, be mindful that dog food emits a strong odor which may spread to other foods in the freezer.
Dry dog food, like any other food, is perishable. That’s why it’s important to know how to store dog food long-term.
Remember, keeping kibble fresh is our responsibility. After all, we’re the ones who have to look out for our dogs and provide them with nutritious, delicious food to ensure they grow big and strong.
Although there are many ways to make it last for as long as possible, there’s one key principle to uphold, and that’s to keep moisture, heat, oxygen, and light away.
Related Article: 11 Supplies You Need for DIY Long-Term Food Storage
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