How to Store Dog Food

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We all love our dog enough to research and buy the best food for them, but many of us come home with that food and store it incorrectly, diminishing our efforts to provide a premium quality diet.

Dog food that is not stored correctly can allow harmful bacteria to breed, become contaminated, become moldy, or even go rancid, which is why it is essential to know how to store your dog’s food.

Even dog parents who think they are storing their dog’s food the right way may still be doing it wrong, which I was guilty of doing too.

Thankfully, my error did not result in my pups getting sick, but as soon as I learned what I was doing wrong, you can bet I corrected it.

Below I will cover common mistakes and best practices on how to store dog food to help keep your canine buddy safe.

Related: How to Keep Ants Out of Your Dog’s Food Bowl

How to Safely Store Dog Food

How to Store Dog Food Long Term

How to Store Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food is best stored in its original packaging inside an airtight container.

The reason it’s best to keep dog food in its original bag is because dog food bags have a unique liner that helps preserve the food’s nutritional profile.

If you buy a larger bag of food, consider getting the IRIS USA Pet Food Storage Container on wheels so it’s easier to move around.

Also, when dog food is exposed to the air for an extended period, bacteria such as salmonella can begin to grow. And it is not just the oxidation process but the added humidity that can negatively impact your dog’s food.

Where to Store Dry Dog Food

Where you store dry dog food is as important as how you store it. When storing unopened canned or dry dog food, it is best to store it in a dry, cool location with an ambient temperature lower than 80F[1].

Related: Best Wet Foods to Mix with Dry Dog Food

How to Store Wet Dog Food

According to the FDA, canned dog food that has been opened should be stored at 40F in your refrigerator. Opened cans of dog food should be kept for no more than 5-7 days[2].

Plus, it is best to cover your canned dog food between uses to prevent it from drying out and becoming gross and crusty.

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I use the Pet Bonus can covers that are silicone and BPA-free. These covers wash up quickly and are crack resistant.

Related: Wet vs Dry Dog Food: Which is Better for Your Dog?

Dog Food Storage Mistakes

Mistake #1 – Incorrect Storage Location

Many people keep their dog’s food in the garage or on a porch. However, storing your dog’s food in the garage exposes it to:

  • Excess moisture
  • Excess heat in the summer
  • Rodents
  • Contaminants

And keeping your dog’s food on the porch runs similar risks, plus it can expose it to direct sunlight, which can speed up the breakdown of the food’s nutritional value.

Solution -Keep your dog’s food in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. Possibly a closet or cupboard.

Related: How to Feed Your Senior Dog: Soften Dry Dog Food, Supplements, and More

Mistake #2 – Transferring Dog Food to an Air Tight Container

This is where I’ve been guilty. I thought transferring the food to an air-tight container would help preserve the quality of the food.

And in some respects, I was right; but the reality is, plastic containers easily get minor scrapes and scratches, which traps food particles.

The trapped food and the crumbs can grow bacteria, ultimately contaminating the new food going into the container.

Additionally, containers that are not oil resistant can cause food to become stale faster and less flavorful.

Solution – Keep the food in the bag and put the whole thing in an air-tight container.

Or, if the bag is too big for where you store your dog’s daily supply of food, only remove a week’s worth and wash the container each week. Just be sure to dry it thoroughly, so you don’t add excess moisture.

To make things easier, I now have two containers, so when one is in the dishwasher, the other can hold the food.

My favorite is the OXO containers, it is fast and easy to get the top off, and they are easy to stack, so I use the smaller ones for dog treats.

Keeping dog food fresh

Mistake #3 – Throwing Away the Packaging After Transferring the Food

I am guilty of this for sure! But if there is an issue with your dog’s food or the brand has a recall, you will need the lot number, date, and possibly the UPC from the bag for identification.

Solution – Before getting rid of the bag, take a photo of the lot number, UPC, and best by date, and just save it until you get your next bag of food.

Related: Victor Dog Food vs Taste of the Wild

Mistake #4 – Buying Too Large of a Bag of Dog Food

Sure we all want a good deal, dog food is expensive, but the reality is, dog food will go bad, and even in an air-tight container, it begins to stale after being opened.

Solution – An open bag of dry dog food should be consumed within 6 weeks.

If it is a price or convenience issue, consider signing up with Amazon’s subscription, where you can often get a discount and the food delivered to your door.

Mistake #5 – Adding New Food to Your Dog’s Food Bin Before it is Empty

This is an issue because the food on the bottom of the container will start to go bad and will end up contaminating the rest of the food.

Solution – Be sure to empty and clean the food bin before refilling it to avoid your dog’s food from getting stale or going rancid.


In addition to the above solutions for keeping your canine companion safe and following good food handling practices, the FDA recommends washing your dog’s food bowls and scoops after each use.

How we store our dog’s food matters, and since we’ve already taken the time to research and buy the food, we should take it just one step further and store it properly too.

By taking this extra step, we will better protect our pups from the possibility of food born illness.

Plus, by knowing how to store dog food the right way, we also ensure that it retains its superior nutritional value.


What is the best way to store dog food?

The best way to store dog food is to leave it in its original packaging inside an airtight container. Additionally, open bags of food should be kept in cool, dry places outside of direct sunlight.

What is the best container to store dog food?

The best way to store our dog’s food is in an airtight container that has a secure top to keep curious dogs out of it.

How long can dry dog food be stored?

You can keep an open bag of dry dog food for up to 6 weeks if properly stored.

Does open dry dog food go bad?

Yes, it can become rancid, get moldy, become contaminated with bacteria, or lose its nutritional value if not stored correctly.


How to Store Dog Food Safely Long term and short term - Pinterest

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