The importance of keeping Pet Food Safe
The right pet food and pet treats are crucial for your pet’s health. But did you know that the way you store them is as important?
Let us start from the beginning.
Every bag of pet food or treats has an expiry date on the bag. This is noted as “expiry date” or “best by” date. Premium pet food brands have 1-1,5 years shelf life. Supermarket brands of pet food and treats may have up to 3 years of shelf life. How come? This is due to addition of chemical preservatives in this food. Premium Pet Foods do not contain artificial preservatives. It is furthermore important to ensure that the bag of food is not damaged and its content not discoloured. In cans, do not take the cans that are bulging, have dents or rust. A bad smell is not always related to poor food quality, dogs and cats prefer their food to smell strongly.
Premium pet food brands use Vitamin C and E as natural antioxidants. In contact with air, these vitamins are oxidised, and they lose their value. Oxidation also destroys the fats and can make the food go rancid.
Humidity and high temperatures can cause the growth of molds. Early growth of molds cannot be seen and in general dogs would not refrain from eating it. Molds can produce mycotoxins that are very dangerous to your pets’ health. Mycotoxins suppress the immune system and are known carcinogenics.
Open or damaged bags are attractive to mice, rats or bugs. Whilst eating from it, they urinate and defaecate on the food, and can in doing so spread disease, e.g. leptospiroses is carried on by rat urine.
The best way to store pet food is in the original packaging even if you store the food in a plastic container as well. Premium brands of pet food use bags that protect the food from air and moisture and often offer easy re-usable closing systems. If not once opened, the top of the bag should be rolled and closed with a clip. Some brands even have zippers on the bags so they can be easily closed. The food container or the bag should be off the floor, stored in a cool, dry place and in temperature less than 26 Celsius (80 Fahrenheit). Best is to use the food in 6 weeks.
Canned food once opened should be stored in a fridge no more than 5-7 days after opening. You can seal the can with a plastic lid that fits the top of the can, or plastic wrap. This way the food is protected against odours and preserves the moisture. If a can is left open at room temperature, it should be thrown out after 4 hours.