As responsible pet owners, we put a lot of thought into our dogs’ food. We do research and do our best to buy our pets the food that we think will be of most benefit to them. But have you ever thought about the way you handle the food after you bought it? A lot of research goes into the manufacture of your dog’s pellets, and it would be a pity to end up with spoiled food due to incorrect storage and handling. We take a look at the correct way of storing your dog’s food for ultimate freshness and safety.
The best way to store your dry food is to keep it inside its original bag, folding the top of the bag closed, and to store this in a plastic container with a lid. The benefit of keeping the food in its original packaging is that you will have the expiration date as well as other important information that is printed on the bag at hand. Also, high-quality packaging is often designed to lock in freshness. Another thing that is easy to forget: you need to regularly wash your pet food bin. The same level of cleanliness that you apply to your own food should always be in place for your dog’s food.
2. Wash your hands
We all know the importance of washing our hands before preparing a meal. A good habit to learn would be to do the same before and after handling our dogs’ food. Wash your hands with warm soapy water for about 30 seconds to ensure that you don’t unintentionally contaminate your pooch’s food with bacteria and other micro-organisms on your hands. While it is very rare, washing your hands after feeding your pet will protect you from illness and spreading disease, should something have gone very wrong and your dog’s food happens to be contaminated.
3. Doing the dishes
Just like you, your dog doesn’t want to eat off a dirty plate! Many dogs do a pretty good job of licking their bowls sparkly clean in an effort to get out every crumb of yumminess, but this doesn’t count as cleaning. You have to wash your dog’s food and water bowls every day to reduce the spread of bacteria. Use hot water and soap, and use a different sponge than what you use for washing your own dishes. If you are using a dishwasher, do make sure that your bowls are dishwasher-safe – you don’t want them to melt in there!
4. Mind the expiration date
The packaging of your dog’s food should contain an expiration date, which is specifically calculated to ensure that your dog gets all the nutrients he needs. After the food has expired, it cannot be guaranteed that it is still as nutritious as it should be to maintain optimal health for your dog, so it’s best not to feed your dog expired food. Some pet food labels can be a bit complicated. If you can’t find the expiration date, don’t be afraid to ask – it’s in your dog’s best interest.
5. Beware of sun and air
As mentioned before, your bag of dog food should be properly sealed after use. This helps prevent exposure to air and humidity, which can speed up the rate at which your food loses its freshness and quality. Exposure to air also increases the risk of bacterial contamination. Exposure to sunlight can have the same consequences, as the sun will cause the temperature and humidity levels inside the bag to rise.
6. No mixing!
So your bag of food is almost empty and you bought a new one. You might be tempted to add that last bit of food to the new bag. While this might be convenient, some sources claim that it’s not the best idea. Your old food might be close to expiring, or might have been contaminated in some way. Chances are slim, but when it comes to your dog, it’s better to be safe than sorry!