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19 Easy Tips To Store Dry Dog Food Long Term (How-To Guide)

How To Store Dry Dog Food Long Term

Are you planning on stocking your survival kit up?

Or do you want to prolong your dog’s food?

It can be confusing how to keep their meals fresh.

If you’re not sure what to do…

Continue reading to discover:

  • 19 easy tips to store dry dog food for the long term.
  • What natural preservatives you can use to preserve kibble.
  • Why you shouldn’t top off your fur baby’s food container until it’s completely empty.
  • And this is just the beginning…

How to store dry dog food long-term?

You can store dry dog food long-term in sealed containers. Or you can use the dog food’s original packaging, too. It’s also important to put the containers or food bags in a dry and cool place. This way, the elements won’t damage the kibble. Air also needs to be kept out of dog food containers.

How long can dry dog food be stored?

Dry dog food can be stored between 12 to 18 months. This is for kibble bags that haven’t been opened. But, if stored well, you can also make kibble last long in an airtight container.

19 tips to store dry dog food long term

#1: Choose dog food with preservatives (natural)

One of the best ways to preserve food is to use chemicals. After all, the rotting of food is a chemical process. Which can be stopped by certain preservatives.

Few of the most commons artificial ones are:

  • Ethoxyquin.
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

In controlled amounts, it’s safe to use these chemicals. After all, some dog food brands use these to lengthen their products’ shelf life.

But, a paper states that ethoxyquin can cause kidney damage in animals. And this preservative has been a focus of the FDA.

This is because of the increase in its usage in animal feed. The amount has been found to be around 150 ppm.

Given the potential risk, some fur parents would rather choose to avoid chemicals.

“I wanna avoid those, too. What else can I use?”

You can buy ones with natural preservatives. Here are some suggestions from PetMD:

  • Vitamin E.
  • Vitamin C.
  • Rosemary plant extract.

You can also buy organic kibble. Here’s one from Amazon: Castor & Pollux Organix.

Note: Naturally preserved doggy meals wouldn’t last as long. This is in comparison to ones where artificial preservatives are used.

Chemicals can preserve food for around 1 year. This number lowers if you use natural preservatives. But still, they do their job as a preservative.

Some fur parents are okay with it. Most of them don’t mind it as long as their baby’s health is in top shape.

#2: Separate old food from the new one

It’s tempting to store all your dog’s meals in one container. You’ll save money with this method. But, this may not be the best option if you want dog food to last longer.

If you mix old and new kibble, you could contaminate the new bag. Bacteria, moisture, and other contaminants should be kept out of containers.

What you can do is feed your dog the last meal serving. You should only open the new bag once the old food is consumed.

Some fur parents want to keep their place tidy by throwing dog food packages away. If you’re like this, then you can opt to buy a dual container.

This way, you can store both old and new food separately. The Richell Pet Stuff Tower is perfect for this purpose. It has 2 separate secure bins to keep pests out.

It would also be beneficial if you label each compartment. This way, you won’t get confused. Include the expiration date so you’ll remember which kibble should be used first.

#3: Only buy sealed dog food

Only Buy Sealed Dry Dog Food To Store It Long Term

Ever seen dog food sold in open containers? They usually come in bins and basins. You’ll find these in flea markets. Discount places sell these, too.

And they usually have low prices. Which makes buying this dog food in bulk tempting. I get the appeal.

But, the risk is far too high for your pooch. I mean, does anyone know what these foods contain?

They might have too much sodium. 

Also, open containers are welcome breeding grounds for bacteria. Flies and other pests can access the food displayed, too.

Plus, you may also find it hard to find the expiration date of these kibbles. So, you’ll never be sure when you should let your dog consume the food.

And worse, you might buy an already expired batch of unsealed kibble. This can cause tummy problems like bad gas.

You may also wonder: Top 9 Foods That Give Dogs Gas (Avoid #3 At All Times)

#4: Keep dog food in different containers

Have you ever heard the saying, “don’t put your eggs in one basket?” This mindset can also be applied to storing dog food.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping your dog’s meals in their original packaging. As long as it’s going to be sealed.

And it has its own advantages. Which I’ll talk about in a while. But, if you want to increase a dog food’s shelf life, using separate containers works.

Imagine this: you buy 3 meal canisters and store kibble in each.

Then you got contamination in the 1st canister. Good thing is, you’re still left with the 2nd and 3rd containers.

Here are good ones you can buy off Amazon:

The good thing about these containers is that they’re air-tight. They also come in different sizes depending on your dog’s size and appetite.

To level up this method, you can then choose to store the canisters in different locations.

Make sure that all the areas are good for storing. Meaning, there’s no moisture. Places like the bottom of a sink or the basement are not good options.

These locations are usually humid. And it will damage your dog’s food.

#5: Limit the amount of food in meal dispensers

Meal dispensers are a godsend to some fur parents. They can help them feed pooches without having to spend a lot of time prepping.

But, this doesn’t come without any downsides. Most dispensers don’t have any control of the air and moisture that comes in.

In some cases, your dog’s saliva can contaminate the kibble, too. Ants and other pests can also crawl into the dispenser.

There’s a chance your pooch would ingest these insects if they died inside.

If you give your dog their food, you’ll be able to protect the feed from contaminants.

“How much kibble should I put, then?”

A good estimate would be 2-3 days worth of meals. And clean the dispenser at least once a month to keep it sanitary.

This can also be helpful in keeping your pooch at a healthy weight. If canines have unlimited access to food, they tend to overeat.

Check out next: 9 Ways To Deal With A Dog That Is Always Hungry

#6: Clean your hands before handling food

I know this seems basic. But some fur parents do forget to clean their hands first. As we go through our day, we get into all kinds of things.

And these can contaminate our hands. An example would be when you’re cleaning your pooch’s fur.

Food requires a high level of hygiene. Fur parents shouldn’t take this task for granted. A quick washing of your hands can go a long way.

Research says that even washing with water alone is already a huge help.

It’s better too if you use antibacterial hand soaps. And as much as possible buy a non-scented one. Canines don’t like the scent of detergents. I’ll talk more about this later.

This can cause them to scratch their nose excessively. That’s why you’ll need to use a mild detergent.

The Seventh Generation Hand Soap fits this criterion.

If water isn’t accessible, you can use wipes to clean your hands. These can be helpful when you’re on the road and are about to feed your pooch.

It’s best to carry a pack around in your bag or car.

You can buy the Earth Rated Dog Wipes from Amazon. This product is dog-safe and made from plant-based materials.

#7: Use insect repellants

Use Insect Repellants

Keeping insects out can be a tiring chore. Especially if you live somewhere near the woods. Creepy crawlies are prominent in these areas.

Another location where insects are present would be in farms. If you live in these places, then you might need to stock up on herbs.

These plants are effective in warding off pests. You can choose either:

  • Mint.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Cayenne or black pepper.

Warning: These can be dangerous to dogs if ingested.

Mint essential oil is toxic to canines according to the ASPCA. The AKC states that cinnamon can cause difficulty in breathing if ingested in large quantities. Pepper can also upset dogs’ tummies if they eat a lot.

It’s best if you put herbs somewhere not accessible to your canines. Places like a locked cupboard would be a good option to store these in.

“Why can’t I use store-bought aerosol sprays, instead?”

Those are effective, too. But, it can have a negative effect on your pooch. The smell irritates their noses.

And if you use herbs, at least you can control the location where you’ll put it. They’re safer for humans, too.

#8: Wash your food containers

One reason why mold builds up in dogs’ kibble is the dirt in the container. If the canister is left unwashed for a long time contaminants will stay. Examples of these are:

  • Dust.
  • Insects.
  • Dog food residue.

That’s why it’s important to wash containers at least once a month. When cleaning, use antibacterial soaps. this way, you’ll get an extra layer of protection from germs.

The Dial Antibacterial Deodorant Soap is a good choice for this. It has antibacterial properties and removes odor from your containers.

After washing, air-dry the canisters. And remember, don’t expose them to the sun. You can also use dishwashers for drying. 

Wiping the containers down with towels is good, too. This way, you can do it quickly and in a more efficient manner.

Make sure that the containers completely dry out. Excess water, even if it’s not visible, can spoil your dog’s food. Bacteria can also build up in closed damp containers.

Note: If you have plastic canisters, use brushes with soft bristles. Or better yet, utilize cloth instead.

But, some containers have hard-to-reach areas. Soft bristle brushes are perfect in these situations. You can also use toothbrushes. Be sure they don’t scratch your containers.

#9: Store the dog food in its original packaging

Like I said earlier, there are pros to using the original packaging of your dog’s kibble. But don’t leave the bag without sealing it.

Once opened, you need to roll the open part and clip it. Then place the whole packaging inside an airtight container.

One of the pros of doing this is that you won’t have to clean the canister as much. Since the kibble only touches the inside of the bag.

All the dust and particles that can rot will stay in the packaging.

Here are other upsides in keeping the original bag:

  • You’ll keep the dog food fresher. Some manufacturers put special materials that can wick moisture away from the kibble.
  • You’ll always see important information such as expiring dates and manufacturing codes on the packaging. Especially if the brand announces recalls and other contamination issues.
  • Storing dog food will be easier for you. No longer will you try your best not to spill kibble. Open the bag and chuck it in the container.

#10: Use high-quality clips to seal bags

I’m a strong believer in going all out when it comes to nutrition. And this also applies to your dog’s meals.

What good is having a kibble brand that’s loaded with nutrients if it’s going to spoil? And worse, the reason why spoilage happens is because of poor storage habits.

One of these is using cheap products. And a commonly ignored food storage item is the bag clip. Sure, you can save money by buying cheap products.

After all, “it’s just a clip.”

Or is it…?

What fur parents need to remember is that clips are the first line of defense against spoilage.

And with this in mind, it’s important to buy good-quality clips.

Here are a few ones from Amazon:

These are durable clips. It’s good to buy ones that can withstand heavy usage. Since you’ll be opening the clips every day.

#11: Use silica gel packets

Use Silica Gel Packets

One of the causes why dog food spoils is oxidation. This happens when air and moisture are present in its container according to VCA.

You can counter this by using silica gel packets. These packs absorb moisture and keep your dog’s kibble dry and fresh.

It’s also used in keeping rice crackers dry. Research shows that silica gel packets have kept these dry and safe for 6 months.

Oxidation attacks the fat content in your dog’s kibble. And when this happens, it leads to an unpleasant taste of the food.

Oxidized kibble also smells terrible which means your pooch won’t eat it anymore. Bacteria can enter your dog food, too. Which then can remove all the important nutrients in the kibble.

Warning: Rancid food can become toxic to canines. If your pooch ingests spoiled kibble, it can lead to further health issues.

If you think your dog ate rancid food, try to see if they have a bad reaction to it. Here are some signs you need to watch out for:

  • Nausea.
  • Shaking.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Drooling.
  • Vomiting.

Some fur parents try to induce puking when they think their dog got poisoned. If you’re in the same situation, avoid doing this. Unless your vet tells you to do so.

#12: Use high-quality containers

This is similar to using high-quality clips. But this time, let’s talk about the containers themselves. You might find that there are tons of choices of dog food canisters out there.

But not all manufacturers use good quality plastics. Some even have chemicals that can contaminate your dog’s meals.

Another problem is their build quality. They come in thin plastics and will thus damage easily.

For example, rats can chew through the container. And will then eat the kibble.

Other cheaper containers also aren’t air-tight. Their label might have the words printed on it, but it doesn’t actually work.

If you’re looking for good container brands, you can try buying these:

They’re designed to be air-tight. Having this feature will help keep your kibble fresh.

The Simplehuman Storage is made from stainless steel. This is the better option if you have hyperactive dogs.

They have the tendency to be destructive and might damage their kibble container.

#13: Use a vacuum-sealed container and freeze the kibble

Do you have a freezer at home? If so, then that’s a good tool to lengthen the shelf life of dry dog meals.

There’s a reason why we store our food inside freezers. Research shows that this storage method helps slow down bacteria.

The study went on for 60 days. They observed cuts of chicken and found that freezing them was beneficial. And vacuuming also helps.

You can apply this method to your dog’s kibble, too. To start the process, you’ll need a vacuum sealer. You can buy the FoodSaver VS0150 PowerVac Compact Sealing Machine from Amazon.

Next, you’re going to need vacuum seal bags. Here are a few well-reviewed ones:

Another option would be to use hand-pump vacuum containers. Amazon’s Basics Vacuum Compression with Hand Pump is a good option. You’ll save on electricity since it’s hand-operated.

And watch how easy it is to use:

#14: Buy glass dog food containers

Another good option in storing your dog’s food is by using glass containers. It’s better to use them for your canine’s safety.

I’m not saying plastic containers are all bad. But, they bring more risk to your dog as compared to using glass.

As mentioned, there are chemicals present in plastic containers. They also get scratched. Kibble is hard enough to make hairline dents on a plastic container.

And if this happens, bacteria and other contaminants can hide there. Pieces of kibble will also get stuck in the scratches. 

These tiny chunks can then reach their expiration date. And will then be toxic for dogs. These can also spoil the fresh bag of kibble you’ll put inside for refilling.

Glass containers may be more expensive. But what’s a few more bucks for an upgrade in your dog’s food storage.

Glass mason jars are perfect for this purpose. Here are a few suggestions I have:

Note: Make sure the cabinet you’ll put these in is locked. This is to keep your dog from breaking the container and hurting themselves.

#15: Check the containers before using them

This might seem pretty obvious. But, an unchecked container can be the reason for food spoilage. It’s important you do a routine inspection regularly.

Before you put in a new dog food bag, wash the containers. Then, while the water is inside the container, close it.

Wipe the outside of the canister dry. Then move it around. This way, you’ll see if there are any leaks or holes in the container.

Checking an opaque container

Another way to check for damage is to use a flashlight. You can do this in a dark room. 

Once inside, try to direct the flashlight on the container’s body. If any light leaks out, then it’s already damaged and shouldn’t be used.

#16: Keep their food in dry and cool storage areas

It’s best to keep your dog’s food somewhere with a stable temperature. If you put their meals outside, the elements can affect their freshness.

Let’s say for example you live somewhere humid. This type of weather can create moisture inside the bag. If water is present, doggy meals tend to expire quickly.

It’s also important to keep the storage area closed. This way, pests won’t get into the food. Here are some you need to keep out:

  • Flies.
  • Rats.
  • Moths.
  • Cockroaches.

Extreme heat can also degrade dog food. If this happens, its nutrients will break down, too. Dog food becomes useless if it can’t serve the nutritional needs of your fur baby.

#17: Keep it away from sunlight

As mentioned, heat isn’t good for your pooch’s meals. That’s why sunlight is another thing you need to watch out for.

It’s easy to forget where the sun hits in your home. Fur parents automatically think that if the container is inside a cabinet, it’s already safe.

You still need to check if your storage area is going to be hit by sunlight. Because if it does, then the whole space can still become warm. And rise to such a temperature that will cause moisture.

Some cabinets also have glass panels. It’d be better if you don’t put your dog’s meals inside these areas. Since sunlight can still enter and damage the kibble.

#18: Don’t store it near soaps and detergent

Sure, keeping dog food in the same space as cleaning items might save you space. But, there are downsides to doing this.

First, there’s a chance that the kibble will smell like soap. Especially if you use ones that have a strong scent. Or have chemicals that are pungent. Examples of these are:

  • Acids.
  • Solvents.
  • Bleaches.

Second, the smell can make your dog nauseous. Canines have very sensitive noses. One whiff of strong scents can irritate their noses.

Here are some symptoms that your pooch inhaled too much cleaning chemicals:

  • Retching.
  • Vomiting.
  • Coughing.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Excessive drooling.

Warning: Immediately call your vet if you think your dog is experiencing these. Or, better yet, bring them to the clinic. This way, a medical professional can give the correct treatment.

Lastly, your dog could reject the food because of any foreign (chemical) smell.

Check out next: 9 Odd Reasons Why Your Dog Sneezes In The Morning + 5 Tips

#19: Use a scooper when getting kibble from containers

Some fur parents use their hands in scooping dog food from containers. And why wouldn’t they? It’s quick, easy, and requires no other tools.

But, the downside here is, you’ll be touching your dog’s food. You can wash your hands, sure, but there might still be dirt and bacteria in them.

Contaminants can stay in your nails. And when you grab a handful of dog food, these might contaminate the whole container.

As much as possible, keep your hands away from your fur baby’s meals.

Scoopers are also a good way to properly measure your dog’s food intake. Some have built-in measurement lines. You’ll be able to see the amount of kibble you’re giving to your pooch.

This can help in mitigating obesity caused by overeating.

How do you store large amounts of dry dog food?

You can store large amounts of dry dog food in a sealed container. Remember to keep the whole bag in – don’t throw it out. 

You should then put the airtight container in a cool, dry place. 

Moisture can damage dog food so you need to keep it out. Direct sunlight and extreme heat should also be avoided. As much as possible, use a glass container. This way, you won’t scratch the container from the sharp edges of the kibble. This usually happens to plastic canisters.