FDA Recommendations for Storing Pet Food

December 16, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

For your pet’s health, it’s important that you safely store food and treats. Proper storage helps prevent your pet from having health problems related to overeating or eating pet food that isn’t fresh or is meant for another pet.


Proper storage of pet food and treats maintains the products’ nutritional value and keeps information handy in case there’s a problem. Help keep your pet healthy by following these safety tips for storing pet food and treats:


  • Store pet food and treats in the original container or bag. This allows you to have the UPC code, lot number, brand and manufacturer, and “best by” date easily available in case of a product defect or recall. Less than 25 percent of the pet food complaints that FDA receives include the lot number. The lot number helps FDA identify when and where the pet food or treat was made, making it easier and faster for the agency to address problems with a specific product.


  • If you want to store dry pet food in another storage container, put the entire bag into the container rather than pour the kibble directly into it.


  • If you need to pour the dry pet food into another storage container, make sure it’s clean, dry, and has a lid that fits snuggly. A lid helps maintain the food’s freshness and prevent your pet from getting into it. Be sure to save the UPC code, lot number, brand and manufacturer, and “best by” date. You can tape that information to the outside of the container so it’s handy (but remember to change it when you open a new bag of kibble). Wash and dry the storage container between finishing up one bag of kibble and filling it with another to get residual fat and crumbs off the container’s surfaces.


  • Store dry pet food and unopened canned food in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be less than 80 F. Excess heat or moisture may cause the nutrients to breakdown. If your pet is overly persistent or clever at getting into pet food, store it in a secure location.


  • Promptly refrigerate or throw out unused or leftover canned and pouched pet food. Set your refrigerator to 40 F or below.


  • Wash and dry pet food bowls and scooping utensils after each use. The FDA recommends that you wash water bowls daily.


  • Keep pet treats in a secure location to prevent your pet from eating an entire supply of treats at once.


  • Pet food and treats, like many other types of food, can be contaminated with harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. You can lower your risk of getting a foodborne illness from contaminated pet food by treating pet food as if you just handled raw meat. Clean any surfaces that came into contact with the food. Wash your hands after handling pet food, and don’t touch your face before washing your hands.


If your pet has a health problem related to pet food or treats, stop feeding the food or treat and call your veterinarian. The FDA encourages pet owners to report adverse reactions and other problems with a pet food or treat as soon as possible.

Pet Food Storage

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