The popularity of Costco is testimony that Americans like to save money by purchasing in large quantities. Why not? If you have the storage space for paper goods, dry goods, processed and frozen food, it makes perfect sense to stock-up. Buying the giant economy bag of dog food may save money, but it may affect Fido’s health. All savings may be wiped out by a visit to the vet.
What Happens to an Open Bag of Dog Food?
Dog food packaging has come a long way since the 1860’s when commercial dog food was introduced. But once the bag is opened, the packaging doesn’t matter. Oxygen in the air immediately begins to oxidized or denature fats, vitamins and some minerals in the food.
Putting the bag in an air-tight plastic container will help but will not prevent the changes in the dog food. Nutrients can become airborne and adhere to the plastic of the container. Foods stored in the bag alone are more susceptible to the rancidity of fats and vitamin loss. As food becomes more rancid and spoils it can become contaminated with bacteria and fungus. These could make your dog ill and require veterinary care.
What is the Best Size Dog Food Bag to Buy?
There are not many studies that clarify exactly how long it takes for dog food to degrade. The process can be accelerated in warm, humid climates and conditions. For maximum nutritional value, a bag of dog food should be finished within 2-3 weeks. Dog owners living in warm, humid areas may need to refrigerate their dry dog food or purchase every week to week-and-a-half.
Also important, always leave your dry food in the original bag even when stored in plastic containers. In case of a food recall you will need the lot number on the bag. Dog food companies will not replace food or compensate owners for damages if the original bag cannot be documented.
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN