Many dog owners are choosing to feed their dogs wet food; however, the most difficult part of transitioning a dog from dry dog food to wet dog food is that wet foods do not have a long shelf life once opened.
Since wet dog foods usually come in a can for portion control, wet dog food does not usually last very long. This is why most wet dog food labels will specify that the food is to be refrigerated after being opened and consumed by your dog within a certain number of days to maintain freshness.
In this article, we have compiled a list of great storage ideas for wet dog food so that you can ensure it is kept fresh for your dog’s next feeding.
How to Store Wet Dog Food – 5 Great Storage Ideas
The most popular and effective method of storing cans of wet dog food is to keep it in the fridge once it has been opened. Wet dog food should be kept cool in the fridge once it has been opened for more than 4 hours. This method can help keep the wet dog food fresh and boost the dog food to its expiration date.
Most cans of wet dog food will specify whether the food needs to be refrigerated, however, this method works with all types of wet dog food. Wet dog food that has been refrigerated can last between 5 and 7 days depending on how well you sealed the container the wet dog food is refrigerated in. If you are unsure whether it is hygienic to place wet dog food with the other foods in your fridge, you should ensure that the wet dog food is securely sealed and that the area is disinfected before and after being stored.
2. Plastic, Metal, and Ceramic Containers
Once wet dog food has been opened, the moisture content in the food can quickly dry, which results in the food becoming dry and stuck together. The ingredients such as vitamins, fats, and minerals can also spoil quickly if the food is not stored in an airtight container or bag. Once the can of wet dog food has been opened, you can transfer the contents into a BPA-free plastic container, metal tin, or ceramic container with an airtight lid that seals properly.
These containers can be placed in the fridge or freezer and help prevent the wet dog food from spoiling quickly. It is important to keep your hands clean when transferring the wet food into the container and to keep the container clean with washing after use to prevent cross-contamination.
You should not mix a bunch of cans of wet dog food together—only the can that has already been opened. The unopened cans of wet dog food can be stored in a dark cupboard up until the expiration date.
If you have opened a can of wet dog food, and your dog does not like it or you prefer to mix up the types of wet dog food they eat, you can freeze the wet food that is not needed in an airtight container. This can help push the wet dog food to last longer than it would in the fridge.
The only issue with this method is that the texture of the wet dog food will change, and the thawing process requires you to add boiled water into a metal or ceramic bowl and allow the mixture to cool down and thaw for a few minutes before being fed to your dog. Keep in mind that the freezing method can only help push the opened can of dog food to last for a week or two, and it should not be frozen past the food’s expiration date.
4. Zip Lock Bags
This idea is great if you are running short on space in your fridge and the container method will not suffice. Ziplock bags are typically inexpensive and come in a variety of different sizes. These transparent plastic bags seal securely at the top and wet dog food that has been opened can be poured into the bag. Before closing the bag, ensure excess air is pushed out.
The bag of wet dog food can then be frozen or placed in the fridge. Keep checking that the bag does not have any holes or tears in it and the top is closed securely to prevent air from spoiling the food.
5. Use Can Covers
There are options of can covers that can be placed on top of an open can to preserve the freshness of the food and prevent air from entering the can. You can either purchase a can cover designed for human foods or one that is custom-made for pet foods. The can cover will depend on the size and shape of the can, so ensure that the cover fits securely on the wet dog food can. By storing the wet dog food in its original can, you can easily see the ingredients, guaranteed analysis, and expiration dates on the food.
How Long Can Wet Dog Food Be Stored For?
Unopened cans of wet dog food can be stored in a dark, cool cupboard up until the food’s expiration date, which is usually printed on the top, bottom, or label of the can. The expiration date can also be read as the “best before” date of the food.
Once the wet dog food has been opened and you have placed it in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge, then it can be stored for 5–7 days. If you choose to freeze the food in airtight packaging, then it can last for 1–2 weeks. Always check for signs of spoilage (rancid smell, color changes, air bubbles, and ingredient separation) before feeding it to your dog.
Why Should You Store Wet Dog Food in a Fridge or Freezer?
Wet dog food spoils quickly when the can has been opened and sits in the heat or at room temperature for a few hours. Wet dog food can also lose its moisture content quickly which alters the freshness of the food, causing it to dry out when it is exposed to air. By freezing the food or keeping it cool in a fridge, you are helping to retain the freshness of wet dog food. If the food is not placed in an airtight container or bag before being refrigerated, the food will spoil more quickly.
Wet dog food may not be as easy to store as dry dog food, but once you find the right method, you can keep the open food for up to a week and feed it to your dog again if the food shows no signs of spoilage. Keeping open wet dog food in an airtight container in the fridge is a go-to method for many dog owners and it seems to work the best.
Never store opened wet dog food in a cupboard because once the can has been opened, the food will not last very long and the risk of introducing pathogens into the food is greater.