Dog owners often express interest in knowing how long dry dog food can last after opening. This article has the answer.
How long does dry dog food last after opening? Dry dog food remains good for a maximum of 6 weeks after opening. But most experts recommend exhausting it within 2 weeks, whenever possible. That is before it loses freshness.
Of course, much depends on how one stores the dry dog food, after opening.
Thus in answering the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question, we also need to consider the storage.
Generally though, 6 weeks is the maximum that dry dog food can last, after opening.
But whereas 6 weeks is the maximum that dry dog food can last after opening, it is not ideal to keep it that long. You should endeavor to exhaust it much faster: ideally within 2 weeks.
The objective is to ensure that the dog gets to eat the food while still fresh. Another objective is to ensure that the dog gets to eat the food while it is still nutritionally intact.
But it is important to point out that the timelines we are giving are for opened dry dog food.
If the question was on how long does an unopened bag of dog food last, then the answers would obviously be different.
Similarly, if the question was on how long does kibble last while intact (unopened), the answers would be different.
But the question we are dealing with here is on how long is dry dog food good for once opened.
Before proceeding any further in answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question though, we first need to know how the dry dog is made.
How Is Dry Dog Food Made?
Before attempting to answer the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question, it makes a great deal of sense to understand how the dry dog food is made.
Once we have insight on the manufacturing process, answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question becomes much easier.
Now the process of making dry dog food begins with mixing of the dry and wet ingredients. The end result (after mixing wet and dry ingredients) is some form of dough.
The dough then undergoes extrusion. At this stage, there is heating of the dough. This heating is done under high pressure.
Thereafter, there is the slicing of the dough into kibbles. Then there is packaging in more or less airtight packets.
These packets’ design is such that it minimizes oxidation. Therefore as long as the food remains in an intact container, it remains good for long.
We usually get to buy the dry dog food in these airtight bags…
All these details will come in handy later, when answering the how long is dry dog food good for after opening.
The key detail, which will be helpful in answering the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question, is the bit where we say that it is packaged in ‘airtight packets’.
That detail will be critical, in answering the how long can you keep dry dog food before it goes bad.
All in all, with this background information, we can revert to answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question.
First though, we need to find out whether dog food (in general) goes bad.
Does Dog Food Go Bad?
A frequently asked question is as to whether dog food ever goes bad.
Many of the people who pose the how long does dry dog food last after opening question may have an interest in knowing whether, in the first place, dog food ever goes bad.
Therefore before proceeding to answer the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question, we first need to know whether dog food actually ever goes bad.
Some rephrase the question as, does dog food go stale, does dog food spoil, does dog food expire or generally, can dog food go bad?
So indeed, does dog food go bad? Does dog food get stale? Can dog food go stale? And does pet food expire? The answer is ‘yes’. Dog food does go bad.
For instance, if you buy a bag of kibble (wet), open it, and store it without refrigeration, it can go bad within a day.
Even with refrigeration, wet dog food goes bad within 5-7 days.
But our focus is on dry dog food. If you open dog food bag (dry), and store it in a non-airtight container, it may spoil within 2 weeks.
Even if you store the opened dry dog food in an airtight container, it still tends to go bad within 6 weeks max.
Therefore the bottom-line is that dog food does go bad.
What is responsible for the spoilage is mostly the dog food oxidation process. This makes the fats in it go rancid.
Exposure to bugs can also make it go bad. And the ingredients in the dog all have a fixed lifespan, beyond which they are no longer good.
Therefore the bottom-line is that dog food – whether homemade, dry or wet – does eventually go bad.
How Long Does Dog Food Last?
So far, we have established that dog food does go bad.
This naturally leads to another question, on how long does dog food last?
There are various dimensions to this question – like, how long does dog food last unopened and how long does dog food last once opened.
In other words, those other dimensions are, how long does dog food last in a bag and how long does dog food last when opened.
Generally, how long dog food lasts while intact (unopened) is between one and one and half years. Most long shelf life dog food varieties last for a maximum of 1.5 years (18 months) unopened.
Rarely will you have a kibble shelf life beyond 2 years.
To understand the exact dog food shelf life (unopened), you only need to check its expiration date.
Sometimes, you may find that the shelf life of dry dog food is shorter than for wet dog food. That is the general trend, with dry dog food shelf life.
But once opened, the dry dog food tends to last longer than the wet dog food.
All in all, the best indicator of shelf life of dog food is the expiration date indicated on its packaging.
For instance, you can check Purina Dog Food expiration dates, to know how long the packages are likely to last.
Similarly, you can check the Pedigree Dog Food expiration date, to know how long it is likely to last (unopened).
So that is how to answer the when does dog food expire question.
Beyond the indicated expiration date, you have to figure out what to do with expired dog food…
Generally though 12-18 months is the typical dog food shelf life: while the dog food is unopened.
Does Dry Dog Food Go Bad?
Sometimes, the appearance of dry dog food can easily give someone the impression that it is incapable of going bad.
This is what gives rise to questions like, does dry dog food go stale (or does dry dog food get stale ever)? Can dry dog food go bad? Does dry dog food expire (or does dry dog food go bad after a certain period of time)?
Others are more specific, and they ask, does dry dog food go bad after opening? And if yes, how long is dry dog food good for after opening?
So, indeed, does dry food go bad?
The answer is ‘yes’. Dry dog food does go bad.
Even without opening, intact dry dog food can go bad, once its expiration date passes.
Then after opening, the dry dog food goes bad even faster, due to exposure to the elements.
Thus, the question is not whether dry dog food goes bad. It does. The question is how long does dry dog food last after opening? Or, to put it differently, how long is dry dog food good for after opening?
That is still the question which some people rephrase as, how long is dry dog food good for after opening?
So the key thing to remember is that dry dog food goes bad. Before giving a dog dry dog you need to first ensure that it is in a good condition. That is because it can go bad.
How Does Dry Dog Food Go Bad?
In answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question, we have to consider the exact mechanism for the food’s spoilage.
That is critical, in exploring the how long is dry dog food good for after opening subject.
As it turns out, the main mechanism through which dry dog food goes bad is that of oxidation.
The fats and oils in it react with oxygen. Then they become rancid. The food becomes stale. Therefore it becomes unsuitable for the dog to eat.
This (oxidation) is the exact mechanism we explained earlier, while answering the how does dog food get stale question at a general level.
Thus in answering the how does kibble go bad question, you have to mention something about oxidation.
The oxidation factor is also critical in answering questions like, how long is dry dog food good for unopened, how long will dog food last after opening and generally how long dog food last.
So it is mainly oxidation of the fats and oils in the oil that makes the dry dog food spoil faster, after opening. This is why the subject of how to store dog food after opening is critical, as we shall see later.
How Long Does Dry Dog Food Last After Opening?
So far, we have established that dry dog food does go bad after opening.
This brings up other interesting questions like, how long will dry dog food last once opened?
Or to be more precise, how long does dry dog food stay good once opened?
How long can dry dog food last after opening? The true position is that, after opening, dry dog food lasts for a maximum of 6 weeks.
But ideally, you should exhaust it within a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks is how long the food is likely to remain fresh. Beyond that, it may still be edible, but not fresh.
Asking how long it lasts is quite different from asking, how long does dog food stay fresh after opening?
How long does dry dog food last once opened? That should be a maximum of 6 weeks. So that answers the how long is dog food good for after opening (dry dog food specifically) question.
That also answers the how long can dog food last (or how long does dry dog food keep) questions – for dry dog food specifically.
On the other hand, how long does dry dog food stay fresh once opened? That should be roughly 2 weeks: for optimal freshness.
Obviously, these answers are different from those given to the when does dry dog food expire question.
That is because once you have the dog food open, air goes in. Oxidation starts. Then the oils in the food get rancid. Therefore the food becomes stale.
Generally, answers to the how long does unopened dry dog food last and the how long does opened dog food last questions are vastly different.
Opening the food initiates oxidation, which then hastens spoilage.
How Long Does Purina Dry Dog Food Last For After Opening?
So far, we have been answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question at a general level.
But now, in answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question further, we will look at a specific brand: Purina.
So, how long does Purina dry dog food last after opening? That, as with other dry dog food brands, is typically 6 weeks.
But ideally, for optimum freshness, it’s best to try to exhaust your Purina dry dog food within 2 weeks after opening.
That is how we can answer the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question with regard to the Purina brand.
Thus the general guidelines we got, while answering the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question apply here as well.
How Long Does Pedigree Dry Dog Food Last For After Opening?
Sometimes, the people who pose the how long does dry dog food last after opening question may be having Pedigree Dry Dog Food in particular in mind.
Thus in answering the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question, we have to consider Pedigree as well.
Here again, the general guideline we gave, in answering the how long does dry dog food last after opening question applies. So that is maximum 6 weeks. But with a recommendation to ideally exhaust the food in 2 weeks, whenever possible.
So that is how we can best answer the how long does dry dog food last after opening question, with regard to the Pedigree brand.
Or if one were enquiring on how long is dry dog food good for after opening (specifically Pedigree), this would be the proper answer.
How Can You Tell If Dry Dog Food Is Bad?
Normally, alongside the how long does dry dog food last after opening question comes this one: on how to tell if dry dog food is bad.
Thus after answering the how long is dry dog food good for after opening question, we also have to answer this one on how to tell if the dry dog food is bad.
So, for instance, it wouldn’t be enough to answer the how long does Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food last question. We need to go further, and describe how one can tell that it has gone bad.
Similarly, it is inadequate to answer the how long does Purina Pro Plan last question. We have to comment on how one can tell when it goes bad.
This is similar to how it wouldn’t be adequate to answer the how long do dog biscuits last question. Beyond it, we would have had to describe how to tell when they go bad…
As it turns out, how to tell if dry dog food is bad is quite easy.
Firstly, such food will tend to have a sour/rancid odor.
Secondly, such food will normally have too much moisture. It may also have bugs and perhaps even mold.
And thirdly, the dog will tend to react negatively to such food. The dog will normally refuse to eat such food – or only eat it very reluctantly.
How Do You Store Opened Dry Dog Food?
This, in other words, is a question on how to keep dog food fresh, after opening it.
But first things first: how long can you store dog food (dry), after opening it? The answer is maximum 6 weeks. But you should aim to exhaust it faster: within 2 weeks.
Therefore if one had the question on how to store dry dog food long term, then that may not be viable.
Beyond 6 weeks, the food becomes unsuitable for consumption, and is best thrown out. That is even if it still looks ‘good’.
This is really in line with the answer we got to the how long does dried dog food last once opened question.
It also aligns with what we said in answering the how long is dog food good for question – in the context of opened dry dog food.
Now when it comes to storage, the key thing is to minimize the amount of air entering the food.
To this end, you need to keep the food in an airtight container. But this shouldn’t entail pouring the dry dog food directly into the airtight container.
On the contrary, you need to retain it in its original packaging. So, while it is still in its original packaging, you place it in an airtight container.
You therefore need to ensure that you learn how to open bag of dog food in a manner that keeps the bag as intact as possible.
Pour out the amount of dog food you need to use. Then close the bag with a clothes peg. Thereafter place the bag inside an airtight container.
Can dog kibble go bad while inside an airtight container? Yes, that is still a possibility. But it takes longer than if it was outside.
Final Verdict – How Long Does Dry Dog Food Last After Opening
After opening, dry dog food is likely to last for a maximum of 6 weeks. It is, however, best to exhaust it faster, within 2 weeks, while it still has some level of freshness.
What makes dog food go bad faster after opening is oxidation. This leads to the fats and oils in the food becoming rancid. Then the food becomes rather stale.
After opening it, it is best to store the dog food in an airtight container. Retain it in its original packaging, but then place that bag (containing the opened dry dog food) in an airtight container.
It may also be best to avoid buying large bags of dog food which can’t be exhausted in a few days.
Smaller bags of dog food, which can be exhausted soon after opening, without need for long storage, are usually more ideal.
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Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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