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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.

  • The Serious Benefits of Play

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    Playing and having fun helps to eliminate stress from your life—and the same holds true for your dog. In fact, incorporating various forms of play into your dog's daily routine is vital to helping him develop a healthy, loving personality.

    The benefits of play

    Here are some of the ways that playing and having fun is important:

    • Physical health. Active play helps keep your dog's heart healthy, keeps the joints lubricated, and improves his overall balance and coordination.
    • Mental health. Games with rules force your dog to use his brain, not just his body. This can help keep his mind sharp and focused.
    • Social skills. When your dog plays with other dogs and other people, it helps improve his overall social skills. He learns basic rules and how to play by them.
    • Bonding. Even if it's only for a few minutes a day, playing with your dog helps strengthen the bond between you.
    • Your health. What better way to alleviate the stress of a busy workday and get a bit of exercise than to come home and play with your dog? It's a win-win for both of you.

    How to play with your dog

    There are right ways—and wrong ways—to play. The most important thing to remember is that you're the boss. You decide what games should be played and you set the rules. This helps establish your credibility as the pack leader. It also helps keep your dog from getting overly excited and out of control while you play. If your dog does become difficult to manage, simply put a stop to the game until he calms down again.

    When you're teaching your dog a new game, reward him when he does well. Remember, rewards don't have to be just treats. You can also reward him with his favorite toys or lots of hugs and praise.

    When you start out teaching your dog a new game, keep it simple and go through the game slowly, until your dog fully grasps the rules. Also, wait until he fully understands one game before you teach him a new one, otherwise it will end up confusing him.

    Playtime tips

    • Avoid games like keep away, wrestling, or tug-of-war. Those games encourage biting or dominant, aggressive behavior.
    • Stay in control of the game at all times. Show your dog that you're the pack leader, not just another member of the pack. Retrieval games are good at teaching control.
    • Don't include your body or clothing as part of any game.
    • Incorporate the SIT or DOWN and STAY commands in every game.
    • You decide when it's time to end the game, not your dog. The best time to stop the game is when your dog is still eager to play.
    • If, for some reason, your dog doesn't seem to understand the game at some point, go back to the beginning, or simply leave it and try again a few days later. Don't get angry if you're dog isn't "getting it" right away. Remember it's supposed to be a fun experience for both of you!

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