Updated at: 22-04-2020 - By: Jane Brody

Just like humans, dogs too need to feed on fresh and nutritious food that meets all their nutritional needs and wellbeing. Feeding on fresh food helps to prevent health and poor growth issues. Dogs feed on both dry and wet food, which comes in many different recipes provided by various brands.

How Long Does Dry Dog Food Last

The feed also comes in different sizes. In this article, we focus on dry food. One of the questions people keeping pets for the first time asks is how long does dry food last. Dry foods come in many, and easily manageable types. The most popular dry food is the kibble, which contains 6 to 10 percent moisture.

Besides coming with easy storage abilities, kibble is also budget-friendly and does not require refrigeration like the wet and canned food recipes. With dry food, you do not have to worry about spillages or the food spoiling before the dog finishes the amount in the bag. Many of the dry food recipes come with easy to follow guidelines, which make it even easier to feed the dogs.

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How Long Does Dry Food Last Unopened

The simple answer to this question is about one year to eighteen months. Some dog owners find it more economical to buy dog food in large quantities. Buying in large quantities, not only saves costs, but it also saves time spent going back to the store to pick replenishments.

Whether you are buying in large quantities or much smaller ones, the first rule should be to check the expiry date given by the manufacturer. Besides the expiry date, ensure that you read all the other details concerning the ingredients to find out if there are any likely to go bad quickly.

A bag of dry dog food has a shelf life of about one year to eighteen months, and as long as it stays unopened, it should last through the date of expiration indicated by the manufacturer. Once you open the bag irrespective of how far the expiry date is, it becomes another whole story.

How Long Does Dry Food Last After Opening

One of the most frequently asked questions dog owners ask when after opening the dog food is how long does dry dog food last in the original box?  Once you open a bag, a box, or a can of dry food or kibbles, you will need approximately two weeks to feed the dog with the whole amount in the bag or can before it goes bad. Even as you have two weeks to finish the open can or bag of food, some other things will affect the freshness and quality of the food.

Some of the factors include the storage tools you choose for the food storage and the temperature conditions under which you store the food. Before refilling a fresh bowl of food, ensuring that the container is clean is the first step to keep the food healthy and fresh for your dog.

How to Store Dog Food

How to Store Dog Food

In the two weeks that the bag, box, or can stay open, you should ensure that the storage of the food is in a cool and dry place. You should also ensure that you store the food in an airtight storage bin, or use a bag-clip to avoid spoilage. If the dry food is in a bag, or a box, consider storing the bag in a can that comes with a tight lid.

You should try as much as possible to avoid plastic containers. If you are to use plastic containers, ensure that you do not remove the food from the original bags or boxes. If it comes with a can, ensure that the lid is airtight after you scoop out what you need for feeding the dog. After opening the dog food, how you store it will also affect the length it stays fresh enough for your dog.

Do not throw away the original bag that the dog food comes in because it contains useful information such as the expiration date, the barcode, and the batch number. The data comes in handy in case you want to return the dog food, or there is a recall of the product.

Another question that people ask when it comes to food storage is can dry dog food go bad in the heat? The answer to this is yes. Exposing the food to heat or too much sunlight may lead to faster spoilage because of temperature and humidity elevation. Some of the things that dry dog food may develop due to too much heat are the risks of oil in the food turning rancid and the growth of salmonella.

The food is also likely to get other bacteria growth and contamination, which will affect the dog negatively. Anything longer than two weeks makes the oils in the food rancid. Once you open the bag of food, you expose the contents to oxidation. Once the oils turn rancid, it becomes harder for the dogs to absorb the fat content in the formula.

Rancid fats also make it harder for the body to gain from the amount of proteins and vitamins in the recipe. Rancid oils also cause some health issues, one of which is heart diseases. Some manufacturers add preservatives to the dry food to delay the oxidation process. Some use preservatives such as BHA, and BHT.

Though these preservatives may keep the food fresher for longer, they come with carcinogenic properties that may harm the dog. Other quality brands use natural preservatives from vitamins C and E that read as ascorbate or tocopherols. Though these preservatives are safer than artificial ones, they also degrade after coming into contact with oxygen, which may lead to oil oxidation.

How To Tell If a Dog Food Is Bad

How To Tell If a Dog Food Is Bad

Just like humans, dogs can detect bad food by just smelling it even before they put it into their mouths. A bad smell is a turn-off, and this is an indication that the diet may be harmful. A dog detects bad smell by sniffing the menu and turning away without tasting. It can also walk away after taking a few bites, which is another indication that the smell or taste is intoxicating.

Other signs to tell if the food is terrible include the appearance of mold, bugs, or moisture on the food, and a stale odor. If the bag or can of food is past expiration, then most likely the food is terrible, and you should not feed it to the dog.

Wrapping it up

Quality dog food irrespective of the stage of life does not come cheap. It is for this reason why it is necessary to ensure that after buying the food, you take care of it by ensuring that it stays dry and fresh at all times. Feeding the dog with lousy food is also another cost, as you will have to deal with health issues that follow.

The ideal storage of the food enhances the dog food lifespan and keeps the quality high. If you hold any food past the expiration date, throw it away and start all over with a new bag to maintain the excellent health of the dog. It is also hugely advisable to ensure that you buy all your dog food from reputable brands to avoid any disappointments.