Plenty of research and care goes into finding the right food for your pet, which is why it's just as important to make sure that food stays fresh and lasts as long as possible. Just like human food, you should properly store meals for furry friends to not only maximize longevity but ensure that it is still the tasty, nutrient-rich formula they deserve.
Particularly in summer, when the weather may grow hot and humid, it’s essential to store food safely. While this guide regularly references dog food, the same rules and recommendations apply to any dry or wet cat food, too. Proper storage will save both money and energy, and most importantly, preserve your pet’s healthy and happy lifestyle.
Many dog owners prefer to feed their pets dry food, often referred to as kibble. It has a longer shelf life than wet food, tends to be cheaper and can help keep teeth clean. It also makes less of a mess than wet food when it comes to serving and cleaning.
Dry food allows pet owners to buy in bulk and save money by opting for larger bags they know their pets will enjoy. However, finding the most cost-effective option also means keeping preservation in mind.
You should store dry food in a cool, dry place. Humidity, high temperatures and sunlight, especially present during the summer months, can adversely affect the food. Moisture, in particular, can quickly ruin the food.
Seek out appropriately-sized food storage containers with an airtight seal; exposure to the air will accelerate the food’s breakdown. Avoid cheaper plastic models, as these can wear out over time and potentially leech bits of plastic into the food. We also like metal options with an airtight seal.
Containers are best stored in cabinets or pantries. Basements may suffice depending on how exposed they may be to condensation and heat changes. If you have an unfinished basement that may grow humid in the summer and potentially attract pests, avoid storing dry food there.
Some pet owners prefer wet food, or rather, pets may prefer it. As wet food is more aromatic, it can entice pickier eaters. It also helps pets that have issues with teeth or gums, as well as furry friends that don’t drink and hydrate enough.
While serving wet food may be a bit messier than dry, the storage is simple. Wet food comes in sealed cans, and unopened canned food can last for months, even years. Once opened, the longevity significantly decreases. It will be suitable for three to five days, although most pets will go through a can within that time with a regular feeding schedule.
After opening, keep canned food refrigerated with a sealed lid to avoid exposure to air. Tightly wrapped foil may suffice in place of a fitted lid. Do not put the opened wet food container back in a pantry.
Some pet owners may research that raw food is best for their pets. Store raw food the same way you'd store for yourself. Meat should be kept frozen and in a sealed container or bag.
You can keep some raw food in the fridge temporarily, but it should not exceed 40 degrees. Exercise extra caution for fridge storage and ensure the container is sealed: any leaks can contaminate other items within the fridge. It’s best to store raw food on the lowest level or any contained shelf.
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after serving raw food, as well as the counter spaces and utensils used to serve it.
Gamma2 Vittles Vault Stackable Pet Food Storage
A large, heavy-duty food storage container that seals in air and freshness. Allows for easy access and placement.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy
Simple and effective wet food can toppers. Standard size protects and preserves refrigerated food.
Where to buy: Sold by Chewy and Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.