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Does Dog Food Expire?

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Dog food does have an expiration date, and it varies by brand, ingredients and if it’s canned or packaged dry dog food. Most dog foods have a long expiration date because you usually buy a large bag at a time, it would not be feasible for dog owners to buy food that expires within ten days. Any food exposed to water, humidity, or extreme heat will spoil it and create harmful bacteria that can immediately turn food rancid.

When buying your dog’s food, always check the bag for the “sell by..” date, good companies will have this information displayed right on the bag. Dog food with artificial preservatives have longer expiration dates; because of the artificial preservatives, they are less susceptible to quick breakdown. Dog food that is moist, like the canned dog food options are more likely to expire before the dry dog food because of their state. Water can quickly build bacteria in an opened dog food can, so usually once opened, their shelf life is good for a week at most. Dry dog foods usually have a shelf life up to 1 year; most contain artificial preservatives for the sole purpose of keeping it fresh.

If you prepare your dog’s food, using natural ingredients you should follow typical storage time for those. Meat is about five days after preparation, stored in a cold place; Vegetables may go longer, when stored properly in a cool place, as well.

Never store any food in the garage, where it’s prone to rodent or bug infestation or extreme climate and temperatures. Your dog’s food should be taken care of just like you would take care of your leftovers, to ensure your dog’s safety. Dog foods left in wet, moist places or exposed to air regularly may grow bacteria far before it smells bad; this can be a bad experience for your pup who has been eating moldy food for a week before it’s found. Always read the labels and be mindful of where you store your dog’s food.


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