4 Pet Food Storage Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe

By PetMD Editorial on Apr. 8, 2015
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4 Pet Food Storage Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe

Pet food recalls are abhorred by both pet parents and pet food manufacturers. However, pet food recalls don’t happen quite as often as you might think. Of the more than 8 million metric tons of dog and cat food sold in the U.S. in 20141, there were less than 10 pet food recalls2 reported by the FDA. This is because pet food manufacturers set high quality control standards to limit the chance unsafe food ever reaches your pet’s bowl. A bigger health concern may, in fact, be the food spoilage occurring in your own home due to improper food storage. Here are a few pet food storage tips to help keep you and your pet safe.

1 Pet Food Institute


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1. Keep Unused Pet Food in Sealed Container

Store dry pet food and treats in a cool, dry place (under 80º F). If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed. Always wash and dry your pet’s storage containers before refilling them with new food. Storing food in the original packaging also has the added benefit of retaining the pet food’s barcode, expiration date, and batch code – all of which are important information to have, especially in the event of a pet food recall. If the pet food is moist, refrigerate promptly or discard any unused, leftover wet pet food.  

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2. Wash Your Hands Before/After Handling Pet Food

“We all know that we’re supposed to wash our hands before handling and preparing food,”  says Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, but what you may not know is that the same is true for before and after handling pet food and feeding your pets.”  Washing your hands with warm soapy water for about 30 seconds this helps keep pet foods from being contaminated with bacteria and other microorganisms such as Salmonella. If the food is inadvertently contaminated with an organism that causes disease, washing hands after handling pet also helps to prevent anyone handling the pet food from becoming ill and possibly spreading the disease to others.

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3. Wash Pet Food Bowls, Too

You wouldn’t eat off the same plate or drink out of the same glass, day after day, without washing them between meals, right? Well, the same goes for your pet’s food and water bowls. The FDA recommends washing your pet’s food bowl between meals every day and the water bowl every day or two.

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4. Don’t Keep Pet Food Past Expiration Date

Dog food expiration dates (sometimes known as “best by” or “use by” dates) are established to ensure the safety of your dog. These are often found on the side or the bottom of the pet food package or can. Can’t find the date? Call the pet food manufacturer. They can easily instruct you as to where the expiration date can be found. Don’t take the risk by feeding your pet expired food.