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Can Dry Dog Food Go Bad In Heat? 5 Questions Answered

Can Dry Dog Food Go Bad In Heat

Your pup is usually a muncher…

However, they start to refuse to eat their dry food in this hot weather.

That’s something strange, isn’t it?

So, you inspect their meal and notice that it has gone bad.

Does the heat have something to do with it?

Continue reading to discover:

  • If dry dog food can go bad in a hot car.
  • 5 reminders on storing your dog’s dry kibbles.
  • How to know if the dry dog food has gone bad.
  • What’s the best storage temperature for dry dog food.
  • And much, much, more…

Can dry dog food go bad in heat?

Dry dog food can go bad in heat. It’s because high temperatures cause fats to oxidize in the dog food. When that happens, the moisture content decreases and causes rancidity. With that, the dog food has now become contaminated with bacteria. Therefore, it has gone bad.

What is the best storage temperature for dry dog food?

The best storage temperature for dry dog food is room temperature. You must keep dry dog food in a dry and cool place. Keep it away from high-temperature areas as much as possible.

When storing your dog’s dry kibble, you have to be mindful.

First, be aware of the place’s temperature that you’re storing it in.

You must place the food somewhere cool. The FDA says that you must keep it below the temperature of 80℉ (26.6 ℃).

Then, if the food is exposed to a temperature of 120°F (48°C), it can start going bad after 48 hours. 

How dog food goes bad in heat

First, bacteria thrive in different temperatures. Some grow in cold, moderate, or extremely hot weather.

I’ll first talk about those that fall in the middle.

In microbiology, they call them mesophiles. They can grow best at temperatures between 98.6°F (37°C) to 113 °F (45°C).

For the latter, professionals call them thermophiles. Their temperature range is 122°F (50°C) to 176°F (80°C).

So, many bacteria can grow when you store your dog’s food in those temperatures.

That event is called microbial growth. If that takes place, it’ll cause faster degradation. Such will cause rancidity to your dog’s kibbles.

Warning: Vets tell us that heat increases the chances of Salmonella contamination. 

A study says that Salmonella is a biological hazard in dogs. More importantly, it’s a common bacteria that can manifest in dog treats and even chew toys.

So, if your pooch eats the tainted kibble, it might cause stomach problems.

Additionally, the food might lose its nutritional value when it’s stored in heat.

That’s because such a temperature causes nutrients to break down.

So, it might not go bad at first in its storage, but it loses its potential for your dog’s health.

With that, you must avoid storing kibble near the following:

  • Stoves.
  • Gas cookers.
  • Sources of fire.
  • Close to the window where sunlight can go in.

Moreover, you should also follow a recommended temperature when feeding your dog.

According to experts from AKC, you must serve room-temperature dog food to your pooch. Doing so will let your pup smell and taste their food even better.

Let’s put that aside and go back to the storage topic again…


That’s because the temperature isn’t the only thing you should be weighing on. Many factors can affect your dog’s food.

So, also consider taking notes of these reminders…

Storing your dog’s dry kibble

Keep their food in the bag you brought it in.

Keep Dry Dog Food In The Bag You Brought It In So It Won't Go Bad In Heat

This is one of the best ways to keep Fido’s kibble fresh. That’s because those bags are specifically designed to do so.

“Does that mean I shouldn’t use a food storage bin?”

No, not at all…

I recommend putting the bag of food in the bin.

The container can be useful, sure. However, it’s not the best option alone, especially if you have a smart scavenger of a dog.

There’s more to note if you’re doing reminder #1.

You must regularly clean the storage bin. 

Then, every time the bag gets empty, clean the bin again.

You must wash it and let it dry before putting a new bag on it.

Seal the bag or container properly.

For the bag, you can use a clip strong enough to close it right.

If you’re using a container, make sure it has an air-tight seal.

This is needed because exposure to air can cause the food to go bad. I will explain more about that kind of occurrence later in the article…

Place the bag or bin away from your dog’s reach.

That’s because they might chew on the bag to get the kibble.

If they do that, the food will be exposed to air. And as I said, such a thing can cause the food to go bad.

Moreover, it can make a mess. It can also lead to your dog being overfed.

Be mindful of the expiry date.

Before buying, choose a food that has the farthest expiration date.

By doing so, you won’t risk feeding your dog expired food.

The logic behind expiry dates lies in the usage of preservatives.

Those components help slow the inevitable microbial growth.

They also avoid fats in the food from going rancid.

And when preservatives lose that ability, the food will begin to spoil naturally.

Warning: PetMD warns dog parents to watch out for artificial preservatives.

The abundance of that ingredient in your dog’s food can lead to health problems.

Don’t forget to also read: 19 Easy Tips To Store Dry Dog Food Long Term (How-To Guide)

Is it bad to leave dog food in the sun?

It’s bad to leave dog food in the sun. That’s because doing so exposes the food to heat, making it rancid. It also lets air come into the food, which has the same effect as heat.

Leaving your dog’s food under the sun is a terrible idea…

It can still be in the bag or directly exposed to the sun and humidity. It doesn’t make a difference.

Even if it’s still in the bag, that can cause the food to go bad.

That’s because putting food under the sun can increase its temperature.

And as I mentioned, that also causes microbial growth to rise.

Then, that results in faster spoilage of the food.

Since it involves microbial growth, this factor can contaminate the food with bacteria.

That’s why you shouldn’t leave a bag of dog food under the sun.

Let’s approach another scenario…

This time, the food isn’t in the bag anymore.

Say that you’ve left the food in a bowl. Then, that bowl sits under the heat of the sun…

This scenario’s much worse…


That’s because heat isn’t the only thing that’ll cause the food to go bad.

Another factor that contributes to a food’s spoilage is air.

When dog food is exposed to air

Dog Food Exposed To Air

As I said before, you must keep your dog’s food sealed in a bag.

That’s because exposure to air can cause staleness.

Moreover, it makes the food more receptive to bacteria. That’s both due to the heat and the fact that the food is out in the open.

If your dog eats food that has been under the sun, it can cause stomach problems.

Food poisoning in dogs

This is a serious consequence of feeding your canine rancid food.

According to PetMD, these are the symptoms of food poisoning in dogs:

Can dry dog food go bad in a hot car?

Dry dog food can go bad in a hot car. That’s because heat can cause fats in the food to oxidize. With that, the food becomes rancid and unbearable for your pup.

Rancidity is when your dog’s food appears to be okay at first glance…

But when you take a whiff of the dry kibble from the bag…


It might smell sour or anything but good.

Then, its odor alone can tell you that it tastes bad. And you wouldn’t want to confirm if that’s indeed the case.

Now, that can happen if you leave dry dog food in a hot car.

Did you know? Harmful bacteria can double every 20 minutes, even at room temperature. Those bacterias can cause food-borne illnesses, the FDA says.

Let me repeat, that fact occurs under room temperature…

Imagine how much faster if the food is in a hot car? Which, by the way, can reach a temperature of 116°F (47°C).

The car’s dashboard is the most affected part. Experts say that it can get up to a temperature of 157°F (69°C).

A study says that hot cars can fry an egg and kill Salmonella

It can also make a human inside it suffer 3rd-degree burns.

So, again, imagine the intense effects of a hot car on your dog’s food that’s left in it.

With that, the dog food shouldn’t be ingested by your pooch anymore.

But, what if it’s still in the bag when you left it?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t change anything.

In fact, it might make it worse.

The plastic that the food is in can melt. The heat might not totally soften it, but it can still cause some harmful issues.

You might not know it, but that can also change the food’s flavor.

In your dog’s pallet, there will sit dog food that tastes like burnt plastic.

So, never leave dry dog food in a car.

If you have, take a sniff of it. Note if it smells rancid, and if it does, don’t give it to Fido anymore.

How do you know if dry dog food is bad?

You know if dry dog food is bad when it starts to smell rancid. Its shape and color will also change. If it’s gone very bad, you’d also notice changes in its texture and the presence of molds.

Food spoilage is a result of microbiological, physical, and chemical changes. 

That’s why spoiled food changes its properties like appearance, taste, and smell.

Every food is bound to experience those changes.

Then, that’s where preservatives come in. 

It’s the added ingredients that aim to prolong the shelf-life of your dog’s food.

As I said before, it assists in slowing the process of microbial growth.

Many commercial dog food products add preservatives into their kibbles.
There are 2 kinds of preservatives:

E.g., ethoxyquin
It can greatly extend the food’s shelf life for up to a year.
E.g., vitamin E and vitamin C
Effective only for a short time.

So, how can you know that these ingredients have run out of their power?

First, you will notice the smell.

The odor will be bad and irritate your nose when you take a whiff. 

If you let this slide, your pooch won’t.

You’ll notice that they won’t eat their food anymore.

It might shock you why your dog isn’t eating.

If that’s not the case, your pooch might be eating slower than usual.

It’s a peculiar sight for you. That’s because Fido’s usually a food chomper.

If that happens, you might want to recheck the food.

Do you still have the bag that you brought it on?

If you do, check the ‘best before’ date.

The most obvious sign will be the presence of molds on their food. If you see those, it’s best to throw the bag out.

Reading tip: 9 Signs That Your Dog Food Has Gone Bad