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Smart Ways to Store Your Dog’s Food

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Whether you buy your dog food and treats one bag at a time or prefer to buy in bulk, storing it properly is key to keeping it fresh, nutritious and delicious for your furry family member.

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How Long Does Unopened Dog Food Last?

You may be wondering how long you can keep and store PEDIGREE® dog food. Here’s what you need to know to store like a pro and keep your pup safe.

Start with the Shelf Life

Of course you want your dog to eat nutritious food, which is why you should know how long we guarantee our products. Unopened bags of PEDIGREE® dry dog food have a one-year shelf life, while unopened cans and pouches of our wet dog food are good for two years from the day we make them.

Note the Expiration Date

Your dog’s food has an expiration date just like your food does. That’s why we always make the “Best Before” dates on our packages easy to find and understand. For dry dog food and pouches of wet food, it’s on the back. For canned food, it’s on the bottom of the can and the date is clearly visible — there’s no “secret code” you have to crack. After that date has passed, though, swap out old food for new, because we can’t guarantee its nutritional integrity anymore.

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Store Food in Sealed Containers

Always store your dog’s dry food in an airtight metal, glass or plastic container. We prefer to keep food in the original bag, folded closed inside the bin because it helps protect food that has a fat barrier. Using an airtight container locks in freshness, keeps out pests and protects against food bandits like your hungry pooch or other pets. Keep your bin in a cool, dry place (under 85° F) and off the ground to help prevent mold.

Store opened cans of wet dog food in the fridge. The best way to keep them moist and stop odor from transferring to other food is to use a plastic pet food lid designed to fit the top of the can. If you don’t have one of those, you can use plastic wrap or a zip-seal bag, but those don’t trap odors as well as a lid.

How Long Is Dog Food Good after You Open a Package?

Once you put dry food in the bowl or open a can of wet food, how long can it stay out? Here’s what we recommend:

For Opened Dry Dog Food

You can leave dry food in the bowl until your dog eats it all, as long as the bowl is in a cool, dry place that’s not in direct sunlight or located where insects or vermin can reach it. We do recommend that you wash and refill the bowl every day.

For Opened Canned Dog Food

If it’s 50° F or warmer, you can leave wet food in your dog’s bowl for up to four hours. After that, you should throw it away.

Opened cans can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. After that, you should toss out any leftover food.

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Can You Freeze Dry or Wet Dog Food?

Unfortunately, freezing dry dog food and then thawing can cause mold to develop. DON’T freeze wet dog food because it changes the taste and texture of the food and can reduce its nutritional value.

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How Can I Tell If Dog Food Is Spoiled?

If your dog suddenly won’t eat or takes a few bites and walks away, they may be telling you something’s wrong with their food. Here’s how to tell:

  • There’s a sour or rancid smell.
  • The dry food is moist, moldy or has bugs in it.
  • The food has been exposed to high heat or humidity.
  • The bag is past its “Best Before” date.
  • Your dog seems sick or uncomfortable after eating.
  • There’s a change in your dog’s stool.

If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s food, don’t risk it. Toss out what’s left and replace it with a fresh bag.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

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    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

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    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.

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    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

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    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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