Pet Food Storage and Handling 101

It never hurts to review the basics so here are the fundamentals on how to safely store and handle pet food.

  • Avoid purchasing dented cans or dry food with torn packaging – these have an increase risk to having been exposed to harmful bacterial
  • Check the expiration date on the food you’re purchasing and ensure you’ll use it all before that date, especially when buying in bulk
  • All pet food should be stored in a cool dry location free of pests -pet food can spoil in high temperatures or with greatly fluctuating temperatures (such as occur in a garage or outdoors) and excessive heat can also degrade food and destroy some nutrients
  • To prevent pests from getting into dry food, store open bags of food in a plastic container
  • Plastic food containers should be washed in between new bags of food – small food particles will adhere to the container and eventually spoil, contaminating the rest of the food inside
  • Be vigilant for the presence of molds in dry food left out for free feeding
  • Wash water and dry food dishes ideally once daily but at least once a week and dishes used for canned food after each use, with soap and warm water, ensuring all soap residue has been thoroughly rinsed from them before reusing
  • If the temperature is greater than 50 degrees, discard uneaten wet food after 2 to 4 hours
  • Cover and store open wet food cans in the refrigerator – discard after 3 days
  • Wash your hands and food prep counters well after handling pet food

For more information on safe food storage and handling watch the FDA’s video on pet food and treats in your home: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm386615.htm

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