Does Dog Food Expire? – Things Nobody Told you About your Dog Food

Is your dog eating healthy food? Sometimes we don’t check for expiry dates on food packets that we buy for our little furry friends. Dog food has an expiry date! Yes, you read it right, all the dog foods available in the market today do have an expiry date. This expiry date differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. It also depends on the type of the dog food you are buying.  The expiry dates are mentioned as the “ best used by” or “ sell by” on the food packets, cans, and tins. You should use the food before that date. Further use beyond the date might not provide with the nutritional values as given on the packet. If the food packets are unopened then it can be used past their expiry date depending on if it is dry food or canned food.

The shelf life of the dry dog food can vary from 3 months to 1 year whereas the shelf life of canned pouches/tins is from 1 year to 2 years. It should be noted that the expiry date also depends on the types of preservatives in the food. If there are natural preservatives in the food then it will expire faster comparatively. So it is advised that you should buy small quantities of the dog food having natural preservatives. Whereas the food containing artificial preservatives have a longer shelf life. In some cases, it is often seen that the food goes bad before the expiry date. The major reason of the dog foods going bad are:

Moisture: Excessive moisture in the environment can spoil the dog food as the moist environment serves as a medium for bacteria to grow. It can cause bacterial contamination which will degrade the food quality.

Heat: The storage of the dog foods should be such that it is not in direct contact with a lot of heat and sunlight. It should be stored in the bags it comes with as the dog food bags are designed such that it helps in storing the food for a longer period of time. It can also be stored in airtight containers in the kitchen pantry where the temperature is minimal. The temperature at which the dog food should be under 38 degrees Celsius.

There are some chances that the unopened dog foods lying around in your pantry have already crossed their expiry dates. However, dry dog foods can be used even after its expiry date if it is unopened. It can be used in 6 weeks maximum after its expiry date once it is opened. Canned food can be used in 3-4 days once opened beyond its expiry date. It should be noted that the nutritional value of the food decreases after its expiry date that is mentioned on the bag/tin. Expired foods shouldn’t be fed after such conditions to dogs as it can cause a lot of problems in the digestive system of your pets.

Does Dog Food Expire?


How to know food has expired?

Sometimes the dog food can expire and get spoiled earlier than the date specified on the packet. This food is fed to dogs can create problems. There are some characteristics of the food when it goes bad and is easily noticeable. When your pet sniffs the food and doesn’t eat it after taking two-three bites, there are chances that the food has gone bad. As the dogs have an excellent sensory system they can smell and know the odors better than humans. But one should check the food themselves before giving it to the pets as sometimes dogs can’t distinguish between healthy and unhealthy food.

Some of the common characteristics of the food  that has gone bad are as follows :

  • The sour or rancid odor is the first indicator that it has spoiled.
  • If the food is way past its expiry date then it is better to replace it with a new packet.
  • If it is kept in a humid environment for too long then avoid giving it to the pets.
  • If there are molds, moisture, bugs in the food then it should be discarded.

You should always feed your dog with high-quality food and see to it that you read all the information given on the packets before buying. Nutritional values and expiry dates are labeled on the packets which should be checked first. If there is no such information given then it is better to switch the brand. If by any chance you have already purchased it then you should contact the manufacturer and get all the details. Take care of your pooch by feeding them healthy food!


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