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How long is bagged dog food good for after being opened?

Perhaps you are considering buying a large bag of dry dog food, but concerned your dog won’t eat it all before it goes bad. After all, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk. However, if you have to throw half of it out, you aren’t really saving any money. 

You may also be wondering how to keep your dogs food fresh. Dogs prefer fresh food just like we do. You don’t want to eat old stale food, and your pooch doesn’t either. 

There are some guidelines to follow when storing your dog’s food. This will ensure that they get maximum taste and nutrition from their food. 

How long is bagged dog food good for after being opened?

First, you may be wondering if it matters how long the food has been opened. Dry dog food has a relatively long shelf life. However, once its opened, it’s exposed to oxygen. The oxygen will begin to break down the food, eventually affecting both the taste and nutrition. 

Check the Expiration Dates 

First, you’ll want to make sure your dog’s food is fresh before it’s opened. Every bag of dog food has an expiration or best by date. Food doesn’t immediately become disgusting or dangerous after this date, but it does begin to break down and become stale. It also loses some nutritional value. 

To ensure your dog’s food is fresh, choose one with an expiration date as far in the future as possible. This gives you the best starting point for keeping your pooch’s kibble fresh. 

Dry Food Shelf Life

Dry food has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months when unopened. However, fish based foods have a shorter shelf life, because fish oil will break down faster than other types of oils. 

What Happens After You Open Dry Food? 

Dog food bags may seem like simple convenient packaging, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Dog food bags are designed to keep out oxygen, light, and moisture. This keeps the food fresh as long as it is unopened. 

Once the food is opened, it is exposed to air and moisture. This begins to break down the fats in the food, which is known as oxidation. When this occurs, the food gradually loses some of its nutritional value. 

The taste will also change. It will not be as palatable to your dog. Eventually, it may become rancid, and smell spoiled due to oxidation. 

How Long Can I Store an Open Bag of Dry Food? 

Dog food is good for a maximum of 6 weeks once opened, if it is stored properly. 30-45 days is a better time frame, but you can get away with storing it for up to 2 months.  When buying food, you should only purchase what your dog can eat in 6 weeks or less. 

To get an estimate on how much kibble your pooch goes through, you can do some math. Determine how many cups of food your dog eats in a day. Then multiply this amount by 42 days. 

Now, you’ll need to convert the cups to pounds. Dry dog food weighs about 4.3 ounces per cup. To keep it simple, 1 pound is about 4 cups. A 40 pound bag of dog food should contain about 160 cups of food. 

The math doesn’t have to be exact. The purpose is to give you a general idea of how much your dog will eat in this time period, give or take a few cups. 

How Long Can a Bowl of Food Be Left in the Bowl? 

You can leave dry dog food in the bowl for up to 24 hours, but this isn’t a great practice. Many bugs love dog food, so if the food is left out continuously, it may attract unwanted pests. 

It will also lose some of its flavor over the hours. It’s best to change your dog’s food bowl at least every 12 hours. If the conditions are hot or sunny, Cayou should toss the food within 6 hours. 

Once a week, wash your dog’s bowl in soapy water, and allow it to dry. 

If you add water, canned dog food, or a topper to the food, you’ll need to follow the guidelines for canned dog food. 

How long is canned dog food good for after being opened?

Canned dog food has a longer shelf life than dry food when it’s unopened. It can last about 2 years before it reaches its expiration date. However, once its opened, it has a much shorter shelf life than dry food. 

It should be refrigerated and used within a few days, with 7 days being the maximum. If you can’t use an entire can in a week, you can freeze individual portions. Then just thaw and serve as needed. 

How Long Can Canned Food Remain in My Dog’s Bowl? 

Canned food also has a much shorter window once it hits your dog’s food bowl. If the food is at room temperature, it should be discarded after 4 hours. 

If the temperature is hot, it should be eaten or discarded within 2 hours. The higher temperatures allow bacteria to grow faster, which can make your dog ill. The food also breaks down at a faster rate, and quickly becomes disgusting. 

How to get dog food to last longer?

It is essential to store your dog’s food properly to maintain its shelf life and their safety. Food poisoning from improperly stored food is one of the leading causes of food borne illness in dogs, and it can make them very ill. 

Cool and Dry 

Both dry and wet foods should be stored in a cool and dry location. It’s fine to keep it at room temperature, although cooler temps might extend their shelf life. 

You should also avoid unnecessary light exposure. Don’t place it in front of an open window, for example. A pantry is a great place to store your dog’s food. Cabinets work as well. 

Lastly, both types should  be stored away from moisture. This means kep them away from areas of high humidity and moisture as well as obvious water. 

Don’t store it in your bathroom, for example, or a damp basement. 

Dry Food Storage

To get the maximum mileage out of your dog’s dry food, store it in an airtight container. The best option is a container designed for dog food. However, a plastic bin with a lid will work well. You can also use a metal trash can. 

However, when storing dog food in this way, you must leave it in the original bag. Place the bag inside the container, instead of pouring the food into the container. 

This gives you the benefits of the bag, which is designed to keep your dog’s food fresh, as well as limiting air and moisture exposure. This is particularly important once the bag is opened. 

It also protects the food from pests and vermin. Flies, bugs, and mice will all happily chow down on your dog’s kibble fi they can access it. Container storage prevents them from getting to the food. 

Storing Canned Food 

Canned food does well as long as it’s kept  cool and dry. It has a long shelf life, and isn’t exposed to insects and vermin. It’s relatively worry free, until it is opened. 

Once it is opened, it should be refrigerated immediately. You’ll also need to cover it with a lid. This prevents the food from drying out and oxidizing. 

A pet food can lid is convenient and effective. If you don’t have one, plastic wrap works as well.

In a pinch, you can place the can inside a Ziploc bag and zip it closed. Tupperware containers are another solution. You can purchase containers expressly for wet dog food. However, any airtight glass, plastic, or metal container will work. 

If you use a plastic container, it’s best to use it only for your pet’s food. The plastic may pick up some smell and taste from the food, which makes it unpleasant to use for your food. 

What type of dog food lasts the longest?

Generally, canned dog food  lasts longer than dry food before it is opened. Once it’s been opened, dry food lasts much longer. However, canned food comes in small portions, which makes it easy to use it all in the recommended time frame. 

Proper storage is essential for either type of food. Without proper storage, the food will go bad much faster, and can become unsafe. 

If you are very concerned about shelf life, or seeking dog food for emergency situations, you can find survival food for dogs. This food is specially packaged, and has a shelf life of up to 15 years.