Being the responsible pet parent that you are, you’ve likely spent a significant amount of time properly researching the right food for your pet. Maybe you even did a bit of trial and error, determining the right brand to provide them to ensure proper nutrition so all of their health needs are met.
But finding the right food to bring home is just the first step. How you store it once it gets home is another critical factor in keeping your pet healthy. With dog food recalls due to common bacterial contaminants, like Salmonella and Listeria, becoming more and more common, you may be questioning how you can ensure your dog’s food is safe and bacteria free. A great start is to be sure you are handling and storing your dog’s food in a safe manner.
Read on to learn why food storage is so important, and the common mistakes to avoid to ensure you keep your pups food free of bacteria and disease-causing contaminants.
Why Food Storage is Critical
When you get home from a grocery store trip, one of the first things you do is properly store your food – from washing your produce, to placing your perishables in the fridge or freezer. This keeps your food fresh and strips them from any lingering bacteria and chemicals they may have picked up in their travels to the grocery store.
So why wouldn’t you do the same for your dog’s food?
By taking the time to properly store your pet’s food, you not only help keep it fresh and tasty, but also help to avoid spoilage by protecting it from mold, bacteria, and potential pests or rodents. However, not all storage solutions are created equal, and many pet owners fall victim to common, but completely avoidable, food storage mistakes.
Mistake #1: Storing Food Outside of the Home
By storing pet food outside of your home (like in the garage or backyard), you’re unwillingly inviting rodents or pests to feast on fido’s food. The smell of a bag of dog food alone can attract rodents and bugs, which can infect your pet’s food with diseases and bacteria they host when they come in contact with the food.
Whatsmore, areas outside of the home aren’t temperature controlled, exposing your pup’s meals to excess heat or moisture during warmer months, which can break down the essential nutrients in the food that your dog needs.
Solution: Store your pet’s food in the pantry just as you would your own food to keep it out of reach from pests, and ensure it doesn’t undergo drastic changes in temperature which can rid the food of its essential nutrients and oils.
Mistake #2: Unpackaging the Food
Your pet’s food manufacturer puts a lot of time and effort into the packaging of your dog’s food – and not just for aesthetic reasons. Dog food bags come protected with oil-resistant liners, designed to keep food fresh and retain flavor. The bags are also designed to be airtight (when properly sealed) so food stays fresher, longer.
By pouring your dog’s food into storage containers, food can actually spoil faster, and the storage containers can hold onto bacteria and grow mold, especially if they’re not wiped down regularly.
Solution: Keep your pets food in its original packaging, and be sure to properly seal it between feedings to keep it at its freshest.
Mistake #3: Buying in Bulk
One of the most common mistakes pet parents make is buying too much food at once. While bulk bags of dog food may save you a few dollars, you could be putting your pet at risk if it spoils before they can finish it.
Solution: Only purchase bags of food that your pup will be able to finish in three to four weeks – the optimal amount of time to ensure food remains fresh and bacteria-free.
If your pet’s food has become victim to any of these three common mistakes, it’s best to toss it and start fresh to ensure it’s contaminant-free. Afterall, their health depends on it!