Pet food is a considerable expense, particularly for owners with many or large pets. For those who take special pains to provide their pets with high-quality food, waste due to spoilage can be a real pressure on one’s budget and time. Moreover, even food that is not visibly spoiled can lose its nutritional value if not stored properly. Proper storage of your pet’s food is a smart choice for any pet owner.
Pet food storage aims to ward off a variety of threats to the integrity of the food: mold, bacteria, insects, even oxygen itself. The presence of oxygen causes oxidation- the same chemical process that causes iron to rust. This will deplete the nutritional value of food. Although oxidation can’t be perfectly prevented, short of vacuum-sealing the food, it can be reduced. Whenever possible, keep food in its original container, and place that inside a sealable container. This will reduce airflow to the food, keeping it garden cup fresh longer.
Bacteria are the second major threat to the quality and safety of your pet’s food. Bacteria thrive in conditions that are warm, moist, and dark. Darkness isn’t a factor that can easily be removed from pet food storage, but you can certainly control temperature and moisture to some degree. Find a cool, dry place in your house to store your pet’s food. Avoid basements and bathrooms, as these tend to attract moisture- perhaps a shaded area outside that remains dry, a garage, or under a counter in the kitchen (not under the sink!). The same guidelines apply to mold prevention. Keep in mind that while refrigeration will help protect the nutritional value of pet food, it may cause it to become less appealing to the pet, even after being re-warmed.
Insects can be a major pest when it comes to storing your pet’s food. Hopefully, your container seals tightly enough to prevent them from entering. Otherwise, try surrounding your container with a barrier of baby powder, or another fine powder. Ants and other non-flying insects have difficulty crossing such barriers. You can also use a bug spray such as Raid, but make sure it has completely dried before placing the container in the area- you don’t want fumes from the spray contaminating your pet food.
Finally, no matter how scrupulously you attend to your pet food storage, all pet food has a limited lifespan. Look for the “Best Used By” date on your pet food packaging, and don’t buy more food than you can use in that time.