Can cat food expire? Or how long is dry cat food good for? are questions of concern to many cat owners.
When you leave the original bag unopened and store it in a cool place, the dry food can stay from six months to one year after the date of manufacture. Once opened, you should use it within 14 to 21 days.
Dry foods are the favorite choice of many pet owners since it’s less expensive and convenient for preserving and feeding. However, you should ensure you keep them properly and always pay attention to the expiration date to protect your kitten from health issues when consuming rotten products.
How Long Is Dry Cat Food Good For?
The “Best By” date of dry cat food is from six to twelve months with the condition of an unopened package. When the seal is out, try to finish it within two to three weeks. Furthermore, throwing away what’s left outside for more than 48 hours is highly recommended to avoid becoming stale.
As long as you keep the package (without any defect) in ideal storage conditions, you can expect its shell life to be for about six months or even one year.
Keep in mind that the freshness of the product depends on the place it stays. Cool and dry are two key elements you should care about.
The temperature should not be more than 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit); otherwise, the heat can cause vitamin degradation.
Furthermore, you may face bacteria or parasite infestation growing in your food, leading to deterioration. Plus, it’s quite common to have rancidity due to the irradiation that breaks the vitamins and forms fatty acid oxidation.
After opening, the dry food can last about six weeks, but it’s better to consume it during the first 2-3 weeks, especially if you are unsure about preserving conditions. Plus, ensure you know what to do with expired dry cat food.
Again, a dry, cool place with a low temperature is key. When you tear the package, keep the food fresh with an ideal temperature of below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides the fatty acid oxidation and vitamin loss mentioned above, the high temp can also lead to the deadly carcinogens – aflatoxins, causing serious health warning signs for your cat.
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How To Know If The Dry Cat Food Goes Bad?
There are ways to tell if your cat foods are consumable or not. The decay one will have signs on it such as changes in appearance, texture, and smell, giving you clues if it has passed the expiry date.
If the food is exposed to moisture, it’s likely to be softer. When staying in the room too long, you may see some molds appear on the pieces and feel the foul odor. Plus, hot summer days are the time when the foods can be rancid faster than in winter.
Another way to assume a bad product is to watch your pet’s reaction. Just like dogs, cats are sensitive. When you see a hesitation to eat and the plate is leftover untouched, there’s likely something wrong with what you feed your kitten.
What Are The Tips To Store The Feed?
Store In A Dry And Cool Place
Air, light, and humidity are the culprits for making the product go bad. Always prioritize keeping them in low humidity and constant cool temp places.
Somewhere with a temperature that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit is totally unacceptable as it will speed up the spoiling process. Consider the pantry or laundry room as an option for storing and avoid keeping it in the garage since moisture and heat can increase the chance of spoiling.
Keep In The Original Package
Some pet owners prefer to transfer the food to different containers. In fact, it’s not really advisable to do so, but keep it in the original package.
There are fat barriers inside the bag to retain its freshness, quality, and flavor. Plus, it’s useful to have the package’s expiration date and other information for your reference.
One bonus tip here is to inspect the bag carefully before buying. Don’t buy it if it has tears, scratches, or is wrapped with tape. The package with defects can affect the quality of the content.
Moreover, remember to fold the top and use a wide chip clip to secure the bag after opening.
Choose A Sealed Container
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The best way to store dry food for your feline is to put the original package in a tight container. This solution prevents the content from contamination.
For whatever reason making you use another container instead of the original bag, ensure you have a well-sealed one. Label and wrap it with tape for better preservation.
While plastic material is popular, metal and glass are better options as the odor from plastic may affect the taste of what’s inside.
Consider The Freezer
You can consider the freezer to preserve the feeds, especially if you live in a hot and humid environment. A layer of paper or plastic should be wrapped outside of the bag as well. Lastly, make sure you give it some time to thaw before offering your kitten.
Store Off The Floor
It’s not a good idea to leave the package on the floor as it will create chances for insects, bugs, and rodents to enjoy the content instead of your cat. A raised storage place with medium height is ideal.
How long is dry cat food good for? It can stay up to six months if you don’t unseal it. After opening, you should finish the package within 2-3 weeks.
The feeds do go bad, and the spoiling speed depends on how you handle it. Avoid keeping the bag in areas of extreme temperature and humidity.
Cool and dry places are always recommended as they can limit the risk of rancidity.