Have you ever bought a bag or cans of pet food only to get them home and notice the “Best By” date is already past or is close at hand? As an item in the April 2013 issue of Catnip points out, the pet food expiration date is important in determining if it’s safe to feed the food to your pet.
The pet food expiration date is set by manufacturers based on how long the ingredients in the food will last before beginning to degrade. Once degradation starts, the food loses its nutritional value. The article recommends replacing any food once it’s past the expiration or “Best By” date.
Another issue is how long food can be stored safely once it’s opened. For dry food, it’s best to buy a bag that will be consumed within a month. The mega bags may be cheaper, but if it will take four months to finish it, it may become stale or rancid and lose nutritional value. It’s best to store dry food in the original bag if possible, tightly closed and not exposed to light. If it isn’t possible to store using the original bag, keep the bag or at a minimum the portion of the bag with the lot number, expiration date and manufacturer in case of a recall.
For canned food, once opened refrigerate any leftovers and put a lid on the can. This keeps the food fresher and minimizes odors in your refrigerator. After opening a can of food, it’s usually safe to keep for 3-7 days.
If you have questions regarding a pet food expiration date or pet food storage, contact the manufacturer and they should be able to help.