Buying dry dog food in bulk is a great way to save money and plan ahead. But sometimes we order too much. It is only then when we check expiry dates that we soon begin to question what are options are. But what about freezing? Is this a good way to preserve dry dog food and enable us to keep it fresh longer? Intrigued as to whether it was possible, I spent some time researching and would like to share my findings here with you today.
So, can you freeze dry dog food? It is possible to freeze dry dog food. In fact, it is considered to be one of the best ways to keep dried dog food fresh and preserve the vitamins and minerals for longer periods of time. You do however, need to ensure the food is placed in an airtight container. This will prevent moisture from degrading the food and limiting how long it can be generally kept and preserved for.
Many owners actually report that freezing dog food is one of the most economical things you can do when owning a dog.
By freezing food, you can look to purchase larger bags of dry food (that often are available at discounted prices), ensure that you save on additional delivery costs and save on the time and effort involved with regular purchases.
Besides, dog food is heavy and it certainly takes up a lot of space in the trolley and in the back of the car!
Let us now take a closer look at some of those similarly related questions that you may be having regarding dry dog food, such as how long it lasts without freezing.
We also look at how to go about freezing your own dry dog food to keep it fresh and intact, before turning to signs it has gone rancid and bad.
So, be sure to keep reading if you have spare food and do not want it to spoil and go to waste!
How Long Is Dry Dog Food Good For?
How long dry dog food is good for depends on whether or not the bag has been opened.
Dry dog food in unopened packaging generally lasts for up to 12-18 months, whereas once open, it can last from a few weeks to a couple of days.
It does depend somewhat on the brand, and the ingredients used in the dry dog food.
This is because, most dry dog food is a combination of carbhodrates, proteins and fats.
It is in fact, the fat that causes the food to go rancid when exposed to air and temperature.
Once fats begin to react with moisture and heat, mold can grow. It is this mold that causes the food to spoil.
This is why it s generally advised to store dry dog food in an airtight container once it has been opened.
Whether it is then placed in a dry cupboard or in a freezer will depend on how long you want to keep it for.
Generally, keeping it in the freezer will keep it fresher for longer.
How Do I Freeze Dry Dog Food At Home?
Freezing dry dog food is relatively simple and straightforward. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that you have sufficient freezer space!
Nevertheless, it comes advised to follow the recommendations below to ensure you keep the dry dog food as fresh as possible and to retain the maximum amount of nutrition as possible.
Use Air Tight Containers
As with freezing any type of food, it is strongly advised to place it in an airtight container.
Ziploc bags, which you can get for a great price on Amazon, are an excellent choice, as are Glass food storage containers if you are trying to avoid the use of plastic and want a longer-term solution.
For glass containers, these are the ones to get from Amazon.
Either way, by storing the dry dog food in either of these airtight options, the food will remain fresh.
One of the benefits of using smaller and separate containers, is that you can portion your dogs food out in advance.
Label Your Containers
It also comes strongly advised to label your containers before you place them in the freezer.
You do not want to confuse your dogs dry food with something else!
Besides, if you are looking to freeze a lot of food, you will likely have several different containers. Once they are placed in the freezer, they are equally hard to differentiate as they will fog up, and you’ll soon forget what is in which.
For Ziploc bags, all you need is a permanent marker, but with a re-usable container label stickers work much better.
Nonetheless, you’ll want to label each food container with the content, the amount of food, and the date of freezing.
From there, you can quickly detect and take the oldest dog food when it comes around to using it.
Remember that frozen dry dog food can last for upwards of 8 months; so just take this into account.
Defrost and Thaw
When you want to use the frozen dry dog food, you will need to factor in some additional time for defrosting/thawing before providing to your dog.
It can take anywhere from 6-12 hours to do this. So, the night before you want to serve it is a good approach to follow.
Once defrosted, you can offer to your dog. Easy as that.
How Can You Tell If Dry Dog Food Is Bad?
While generally lasting longer than canned or wet dog food, dry dog food can still spoil and go bad.
It will unfortunately, not stay fresh forever. Even despite your best efforts to preserve it.
It is therefore important to be aware of the signs of spoilage. This way you’ll know exactly whether it is still safe to feed, or if you need to consider purchasing more.
Below, are the most common tell-tale signs dry dog food has spoiled:
- There is a foul or rancid smell/odor coming from the food,
- You notice specs of moisture or mold,
- The food is somewhat warm,
- Your dog refuses to eat it,
- Your dog experiences signs of illness, discomfort or unease after consuming it
Ultimately, it should be relatively clear that food is no longer fit for purpose.
If in doubt; do not offer or serve it.
Its not worth the risk and can make your dog seriously ill.
Its great that you can freeze dry dog food. It makes the whole process of purchasing and storing much easier. Not to mention it can make feeding your dog much more economical!
Nevertheless, there is a right and a wrong way to do it.
If you want to freeze your dog food; be sure to invest in some high quality airtight containers and/or Ziploc bags.
This will ensure the food remains fresh and does not spoil – which can still happen if not stored correctly in the freezer!
From there, be sure to label up your containers, and use the oldest first.
Give sufficient time for the food to defrost and thaw when yo do decide you want to use it, and, look out for any signs of spoiling.
If in doubt, chuck it out!
Ultimately, freezing dry dog food is a great, practical option.
So, you can look out for those massive discounted bags of dog food, and not ever have to worry if you will get through it all by the expiration date on the packaging!
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I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.