The Open Bag

If a loaf of bread is left unsealed, it will become stale. Milk will sour if left un-refrigerated or if not used by its expiration date. Pet food is no different. If not preserved and protected from air, the fat in pet food turns rancid. All commercial pet food has a predictable shelf life based on several factors - ingredients, preservatives, packaging and storage.

"If a pet food has nutritious fats and oils, these must be properly preserved or they turn into toxins. Natural preservatives can protect these fatty acids but many other factors need to be addressed as well. Light, heat, time, and air all degrade foods. Light and oxygen barrier bags and smaller portion packing is ideal. Large paper bags left open for significant time is unwise. Nutritious food is fragile and needs to be properly protected and packaged; rocks and sawdust are fine for bulk or paper bag storage."  Quote by Dr. Randy Wysong

The expiration date or best by date on the pet food container refers to the product's freshness before it is opened. This date does not take into account the time that ingredients may have been stored prior to production. Before buying your pet's food, always check this date. Bagged naturally preserved pet food generally expires 12 months from the date of manufacture. Canned products keep longer. If the food or treat you are about to buy is within a few of months of its expiration date, the freshness and quality may be significantly lessened.  

bugpetfood.jpgStoring your Pet Food at Home - Most pet owners tear open the bag of dry cat food or dog food, and just start serving from it. The bag usually stands open for several weeks while they continue to feed their pet from it. When pet food is not properly sealed and stored it can attract mice, insects and storage mites. Freshness will be compromised by oxidation even to the point of being unsafe to consume.

Here are a few tips about proper pet food storage. 

Dry Food   

  • The ideal temperature for storing dry pet food is a constant 70 degrees and in an area of low humidity. This prevents the growth of mold and the spoilage of fat. Do not store in direct sunlight or in excessively hot places such as your car.
  • To freeze dry pet food products subjects it to moisture via ice crystals and is not recommended. Dampness is not good for dry food. If a bag of food gets wet - do not use it. Throw it out!
  • The best way to store dry food is in its original bag in an airtight container.
  • NEVER leave the bag open and exposed to air. Many products come in barrier bags with zip lock seals. Take advantage of this to extend your food's freshness. Large chip clips or bag seals such as Wysong's Nutri-Clip work well, too.
  • It is very important to keep the original bag even if you pour food directly into an airtight container. If your pet should get sick, you will need the bag, lot number and date of purchase.
  • When using a plastic container, rinse and dry the container between EVERY use. Oils that have perforated your container eventually go rancid and contaminate new food.
  • Feed dry food within 30-45 days of opening the bag. Throw away what you do not use by that time. Purchase smaller sized bags in order to use food while it is most fresh.

Canned Food

  • Canning is designed to be airtight and has been effectively used for centuries. Do not feed your pets from dented, bent or bulging cans. This means the airtight seal has probably been compromised and the food could be contaminated.
  • Canned food should be always stored in a cool location.
  • After opening, the canned food is good for about 3 days in the refrigerator. However, you must keep the can tightly sealed with a well fitting lid or transfer it to another airtight container.
  • It is perfectly fine to freeze freshly opened canned food in an airtight container for future use. Once transferred to the refrigerator it should be used within three days.

About Pet Food Containers - There are many benefits, brands and styles of pet food containers. Storage bins are great at deterring mice who have no trouble chewing though food_container.jpgbags and cardboard. Some containers conveniently double as a food dispenser. There are stacking, latching and wheeled containers made from metal, glass and various plastics, some even treated with antimicrobial protection such as microban. Against The Grain Pet Nutrition recommends these containers- the Kibble Keeper by Petmate and Vittles Vault by Gamma.

WARNING: Some dog owners have been given a false sense of security by using containers. Dogs are very smart and the smell of delicious food is hard to resist. Food containers that are not secured can easily be nosed open and the motivated pooch can then graze and graze and graze. Not only are the excess calories a problem but certain breeds are prone to bloating. Bloat is a life-threatening emergency that can kill your dog within a matter of hours. If you are lucky enough to get him to the emergency vet in time, you are guaranteed a VERY large bill. The easy way to prevent this it to keep your pet food behind closed doors.

Against The Grain Pet Nutrition is a company that does things differently. We are a small business that is excited about offering pet owners better choices in pet nutrition. We believe that choosing appropriate pet food (be it commercial, raw or home prepared) is the most important factor in any pet's preventative health, convalescence and longevity.  Our name - Against The Grain - reflects our strong passion to provide pet owners with the knowledge to make healthy decisions about pet care even if we go ‘against the grain' of popular thinking.

To contact us:
1024 County Road 109
Montevallo, AL 35115

Phone: 205-665-9026
Fax: 205-665-5683
[email protected]