It’s hot out, no?
I find myself lingering in the 7-11 longer than is really necessary, just to soak up a little more air conditioning. Going to the movies lately have been less about entertainment, and more about the glory of 2-3 hours of uninterrupted A/C.
My cat has found the coolest, darkest corner in my apartment (the hall closet) and has permanently camped out there. She looks at me with disgust when I ask her to come eat her breakfast or dinner in the kitchen.
With the temperature rising it’s more important than ever to make sure that you are storing and keeping your pet’s food safely. In the Hawai’i heat and humidity, improperly stored food could at the very least impact your wallet — wasted, spoiled food — and at the very worst result in a sick pet.
So here are a few easy tips for storing your pet’s food. With some simple steps, you’ll find it’s easier than you thought to keep your pet’s food fresher, longer.
We get asked a lot at the store, “What’s the best way to store kibble?”. Our answer, usually across the board is to keep it in it’s original bag.
A lot of people choose to put their pet’s food in an airtight container or trashcan with a lid. That is a great way to store food IN ADDITION to keeping the kibble in it’s original bag. Let me explain.
By pouring a bag of kibble into a separate container, whether it’s airtight or not, you expose all the kibble, to air. Air, and moisture in the air, makes kibble go stale or rancid. Keeping it in it’s original bag keeps the kibble at the bottom less exposed to air, thus keeping it fresher.
Many high quality pet food bags (like the kind we sell at Calvin & Susie!) are now designed to keep kibble at it’s freshest longer.
So if you decide to use a trashcan or airtight container to store your kibble, we suggest that you:
put the whole bag into the container
roll up to close the open top of the bag, some bags even have ziplock tops now
put the lid on the container
store it in a cool place out of direct sunlight
Canned food is great for a long shelf life. If you don’t open that can, it can stay safe and edible for years.
However, once you do open that can, be sure to cover it up and put in the fridge. You can get canned food lids (we sell them) that will nicely seal up the top of your pet’s food.
Once the can is opened, and stored in the fridge, it’s best to toss it after about 5-7 days, depending on the food and your fridge. In my opinion, if the food starts discoloring or putting off a foul odor, THROW IT AWAY.
I generally don’t keep pet food in my fridge longer than I would keep my own leftovers from a restaurant.
This brings me to…
Smell your pet’s food!
When you first open a fresh bag or can of food do this one simple step: smell it.
You should know what your pet’s food is supposed to smell like when it’s fresh. And food SHOULD be at it’s freshest when it’s just been opened. (NOTE: This is also a good way to avoid feeding your pet food that has been inadvertently compromised. If you know what your pet’s food is supposed to smell like, or at least you’ve developed a “nose”, you’ll may be able to tell if a new bag or can of food has problems i.e. rancidity, contamination, staleness, etc. )
If you know what your pet’s food should smell like, then you’ll be that much more adept at figuring out if it’s gone past it’s shelf life. Trust your nose! If it smells bad, it probably IS bad! (Except in the case of tripe foods. Tripe stinks no matter what, so you may have to be more vigilant with that one!)
Along with your sense of smell, use your other senses, like your sense of touch and sight. Know what your pet’s food is supposed to look like, and take note if it starts to change color. This could indicate staleness or rancidity.
Also, note the texture of your pet’s food. Is it supposed to be firm? Mushy? Oily? Very dry? Soupy? Crumbly? If the texture is off, the food might be too.
Lastly, a few words on raw food…
A lot of people are wary of feeding raw, frozen food to their pets because they worry about contamination and keeping the raw meat. The simplest answer to this concern is to treat raw meat pet food the same way you would treat raw meat in your kitchen.
Wash your hands after handling raw meat
Wipe down counter tops that have come into contact with the raw food
Store the raw meat in a sealed container (either a sturdy ziplock bag or a Tupperware-type container with a lid) in the fridge. It helps to portion it out so you can just grab for a container and thaw or serve.
Don’t keep it in the fridge or freezer any longer than you would the meats that YOU intend to eat. I don’t keep my thawed raw pet food in the fridge longer than 3-4 days.
ALWAYS wash your pet’s feeding dish after feeding them their raw food. Preferable is a metal dish, as it is less likely to harbor bacteria. This goes for all foods really, but especially wet and raw!
Don’t let your pet’s raw food sit out all day! Would you want to eat ground beef that’s been sitting out for a few hours on a warm day?
And as always, the same rules apply to raw that apply to kibble and canned foods: if it looks bad, and smells bad, IT PROBABLY IS BAD. Don’t take chances, it’s not worth making your pet sick.
Not too hard right? All it takes is a little care and a little awareness, and your pet can have fresh, healthy food, all year round!
~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger
NOTE: Please, always check with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet. The Calvin & Susie Blogger always researches to the best of her ability, but she is not a vet. This blog is not in any way meant to replace veterinary advice or care. When in doubt always ask a vet.