How to store dry dog food and why you should care
Dry dog food (kibble) is still a highly popular way of feeding a dog. Owners like the convenience of scooping out a handful and dropping it in a bowl. It’s also super convenient if you free feed your dog (let them graze and eat when they like) while you’re at work or out for the day.
When you have a small dog like a chihuahua, a bag of dry dog food can last a long time. And most owners keep it in the kitchen cupboard and just open a bag of food and scoop it out until it’s gone.
Why we shouldn’t be doing this!
When you buy a bag of dry dog food or kibble it will be contained within a heavyweight paper bag or a box. However, the moment you open the bag, oxygen, moisture, mites and mould spores start to degrade the quality of the food.
According to Steve Brown author of ‘Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet’, several unhealthy things start to happen to the food once oxygen and moisture enters the equation.
Oxidation of fats
With continual exposure to air the fragile fats (Omega 3s) will start to turn rancid. This doesn’t just make the food ‘not as good for your dog’, it actually becomes bad. Continual consumption of rancid fats has been shown to contribute to many chronic canine health problems.
By the time you get to the bottom of the bag, the vitamin content of the food will have degraded considerably. Stored at room temperature Vitamins A, C, and B6 will have lost much of their effectiveness.
Mould and mycotoxins
When the bag of dry dog food is left open to the air, especially if it’s stored in a humid kitchen, it can grow mould. The waste products of this mould (mycotoxins) are extremely bad for your dog and have been linked to long-term health issues and cancer. These mycotoxins can kill a dog by suppressing the immune system and damaging organs.
Bugs and mites
A whole host of unpleasant mites and bugs thrive on dry dog food. The carcasses of the storage mites can cause allergic reactions with sensitive dogs.
The shelf life dates on the packet will refer to the bag unopened. Once it’s been opened it should be stored correctly and consumed within 7 days.
How to keep dry dog food at its best.
- Never buy a bag of food that has been torn.
- Don’t decant the food into another container it aerates the kibble.
- Keep it in its original bag and then make sure the top is rolled down tight.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Keep big bags in the freezer
- Buy smaller bags if you can, especially for a small dog that is going to take ages to use it up.
Don’t feed it to your dog and throw it away if:
- It looks moist
- It has changed colour
- It smells rancid like paint
- It’s been open more than a week
It’s also a good idea not to force your dog to eat it. If she turns her nose up it could be because she can smell it’s off.