How to Store Food for Pets

Most people are very careful when storing food for their families. Unfortunately, many people don’t give much thought to how they store the food that they buy for pets. Dry dog and cat food generally comes in large bags that once opened, remain open in the pantry or garage for over a month until they are completely used. 

Dangers of Pet Food Storage

Pet foods are highly attractive to mice, ants, roaches and other pests. Leaving food open and accessible to rodents and insects creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Open containers of food also draw moisture, breaking down the nutritional content of the food and also creating an opportunity or mold and fungus to grow. In addition, the longer pet food storage is exposed to the air, the more oxidization occurs, which reduces the quality.  Each of these puts the family pet at risk for serious illness or long-term health conditions. If you notice a change in the color or odor of your pet’s food, throw it away immediately.

Pet Food Storage - Best Practice

Storing pet food properly can reduce the risk of infestation or contamination. Pet food should be stored in air tight glass or plastic containers, or sealed in #10 food storage cans with oxygen absorbers and desiccants which remove moisture. If food is stored in plastic storage bins or totes, it should be kept in its original packaging and placed inside the plastic container to minimize the risk of chemicals from the plastic leaching into the pet food. Purchasing small amounts of pet food that lasts one to two weeks minimizes the risk of contamination. Small amounts of pet food can be kept in half-gallon canning jars or large glass canisters.

When planning storage of pet food, don’t forget to keep extra food on hand as part of your family’s emergency preparedness kit. In the emergency kit, keep a three to five day supply of food for each of the family’s pets. Small packages of food can be stored in their original packaging, inside a smaller plastic container which can double as a food and water dish, or pre-packaged emergency dog food and emergency cat food can be purchased in Mylar food storage pouches. In addition, take a picture of each pet and keep it along with a complete description and copy of the pet’s license number in the emergency kit in the event that your pet becomes lost during an emergency.

Pet Food Storage Ideas

A great way to store pet food is to purchase it in small bags, and then store the small bags in a 5 gallon bucket with screw top lid.  Several options are available including gamma lids, which can be snapped on to a standard 5 gallon bucket, or Quck Seal buckets which have threads built into the bucket and the lid.  The important thing to remember is to keep the pet food in its original packaging when it is placed in the bucket.  This will extend the life.