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How to Store Dog and Cat Food

How to Store Dog and Cat Food

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Just like us, dogs and cats need food that’s healthy, tasty and fresh—and smart pet food storage is one of the most important ingredients.

Feeding your pets a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to keep them healthy and happy—and storing their food properly is a key part of it all. Handy storage containers for dog or cat food not only prevent the kibble from going rancid and help preserve its nutritional value, but they also make it easier to get the food into your pet’s bowl. Best of all, a handy storage system will ensure your dog or cat food stays tidy and clearly labeled, and will keep your pantry looking beautiful and well-kept so you can feel a sense of ease and satisfaction when you walk into the space.

Taking pet food out of the packaging it came in and putting it into clean, airtight—and much more attractive—containers will ensure the food stays fresh, not to mention visually appealing. No more unsightly, messy-looking pet food bags everywhere.

Plus, if you have multiple dogs or cats or a mix of both who eat different types of food (say, puppy kibble and a senior pet formula), well-designed containers can help you easily find the specific food you’re looking for. Read on for more tips on how to store dog and cat food, and how to choose the best products for the job.

guide to storing pet foods

Dog and Cat Food Storage Ideas and Best Practices

Here are tips for how to store dog food, and how to store cat food, to keep it all organized and ready to serve up to your pets:

  • How to keep dog food fresh? How to keep cat food in tip-top shape? In general, dry pet food should be stored in an airtight container that’s placed inside a cool and dry place. A tight seal limits the amount of air that the food is exposed to, and helps keep it from getting contaminated by bacteria—so it can last as long as possible.
  • Avoid storing pet food in a way that exposes it to the elements. Placing the food outside in the shed or in the hot sun, for example, can make it spoil faster. Keep in mind that dog and cat food is fortified with vitamins and minerals—similar to a multivitamin—and extreme temperatures can cause the nutritional value to break down.
  • If possible, decant the entire contents of the dog or cat food bag into a container. Before you throw the bag away, be sure to keep the expiration date on hand so you can toss out any expired dog food when the time comes. Keeping the UPC code and lot number can also be useful in case of a recall.
  • If you have multiple containers, be sure to label each one with whatever is inside so you don’t get mixed up. (You’d hate to give your cat the dog food, or vice versa. It happens!)
  • Cleaning the container out regularly helps prevent contamination. Wash the container out with soap and water or white vinegar before refilling it, or check to see if it’s dishwasher-safe. After cleaning, you’ll want to ensure that the container is completely dry. If any moisture is left in there, it could lead to mold and spoil the food.
  • Pets love food. They also love trying to eat as much food as possible, which can hurt them. So store the food in an area where your dog can’t reach it.
  • Pests tend to love munching on dog or cat food as much as, well, dogs and cats themselves. Store food off the floor to help prevent bugs, mites, and insects from getting to it.
  • How long does dog food last—and how about cat food? Well, dry pet food (typically) only lasts for up to three to four months, and it’s best not to buy more than you need in that timeframe so you don’t end up throwing it out. Check the manufacturer’s expiration date that’s on the dog food or cat food bag for the most accurate information.
  • Store the pet food with a scoop to make it easy to serve up.
  • It’s best not to mix old food with new food. If the old pet food has expired or turned rancid, you might accidentally contaminate the fresh food.

No matter what kind of dog or cat food products you buy, here’s how and where to store them to make your life easier:

If You Buy Pet Food in Bulk

When you’re buying a ton of pet food at once, you want storage containers big enough to hold it all. A tall, deep container like this one can store up to six-and-a-half pounds of dry food—making it ideal for dog or cat food products you buy in bulk. Plus, the modular shape is great for small pantries that might not have a ton of space, and the push button makes it easy to keep food fresh. Simply push once to seal the container, and then push again to release. The button also pops up and can serve as a handle.

If You Need to Store Teeth-Cleaning Chews

For your dog’s teeth cleaning treats or chews, you’ll need a smaller container that will keep them fresh without taking up too much space. A square-shaped, shallow container is a great option, especially for smaller spaces or limited counter space. Bonus: You won’t have to reach deep inside for the chews.

If You Have a Larger Dog

No doubt about it, big dogs have big appetites. If you’re looking to store all of that food, a larger dog food dispenser will come in handy. This container holds up to four pounds of dry dog food, and its narrow shape makes it easy to store in even the smallest closets. The pop-open lid and rounded pour spout make pouring out dog food a breeze, too. Two silicone seals help keep the contents fresh.

If You Need to Store Cat Food

Since cats are (typically) smaller than dogs, cat food will typically require a smaller container. Plus, a smaller one will take up less space in your pantry. The same rules apply to dry cat food as they do to dry dog food. Be sure to keep the kibble in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

If You Need to Store Opened Wet Cat Food

As soon as you open a can of wet cat food, it’s a race against time. Wet food that’s left out in the open will spoil unless it’s properly sealed and refrigerated. Store your cat food in an airtight and sealed container and place it in a visible spot in the fridge, to help ensure you don’t forget about it. As for how long to keep the pet food once it’s opened, make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. For example: Pet food manufacturer Hill’s Pet estimates that cat food will last five to seven days after you open it.

If You Have Multiple Dogs or Cats

For a household with more than one pet, a set of roomy, cylinder-shaped canisters like these will create a modern, uncluttered look when placed side by side—and each canister can hold up to three pounds of food.

If You Have Lots of Dog or Cat Treats

This aesthetically appealing jar (check out the round fishbowl shape) would perk up any kitchen counter. The flat back allows the jar to sit flush against the backsplash or wall and takes up less counter space. Reward your dog for a trick with a simple touch of a button to open and close the container. The jar can hold up to two pounds of treats, and the airtight seal keeps them fresh.

If You’re Busy During Feeding Time

If you’ve ever tried (and understandably failed) to pour dog or cat food out of a bag, a dispenser like this one can help. It has a contoured grip that’s easy to hold, and the spout makes pouring out food simple and mess-free. The vertical shape means it’s easy to store in a packed cabinet or pantry. For added convenience, the entire container can be popped into the dishwasher when it’s time to clean it.

Need more organization tips? Here are ideas for how to keep every drawer in your kitchen neat and tidy.

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