You’ve heard of dog food expiration dates, but should you feed expired pet food to your dog? Should you throw out your dog’s old food or give him some leftovers from the pantry?
Pet food expiration dates aren’t regulated by law, so manufacturers don’t have to disclose them. This means that you can’t always trust the date on the package. Even if the label says “Best By”, it doesn’t mean that the food has gone bad. Some foods may look fine, but they could be contaminated or even poisonous.
There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t feed your dog expired food. Not only does it contain dangerous bacteria, but it also contains a lower nutritional value and less protein. If your dog eats it, he’ll get sick and possibly die. In addition, there’s a chance that the food is contaminated, which will make your dog very ill as well.
If you’re worried about wasting food, consider donating it to rescue groups like Goodwill or local animal shelters. They’ll take care of the rest.
If you’re feeding your dog leftover food from the pantry, make sure that it’s been stored in an airtight container and kept away from heat sources. It’s best to use fresh food as soon as possible.
If you’d rather not feed your dog any food at all, try giving him bones instead. Bones provide more nutrition than dry kibble and are safer for dogs who suffer from bone cancer.
Understanding dog food expiration dates and shelf life
Whether it is dry dog food or canned pet food, all foods designed for dogs include an expiration date or “best before” date. Such information can give you information about how long the product will last, similar to food designed for human consumption.
Dates can be found on the bags or cans of dog foods. Look at the back or side of the container. The dog food may not have officially expired or be unsafe to consume because the date on the label does not necessarily indicate that.
It means that the food no longer provides the nutrients and quality that it promised in its guaranteed analysis. It means that the highest level of nutrition is provided to your dog before the product has officially expired. As for the food, you can expect it to be good, just not of the quality originally promised by the manufacturer.
In relation to a particular dog food’s shelf life and expiration date, keep in mind that this varies greatly from one manufacturer to another.
For instance, dry dog foods usually have a shelf life of four months to three years. In contrast, canned or pouched varieties have a shelf life of about one to five years. The shelf life of dog treats is not very different from that of dry food offerings from the same manufacturer.
However, the “best before” dates on dog food are not necessarily indicative of the product’s age. That does not mean that the food was manufactured before that date. Checking an expired food’s expiration date cannot tell you when it was manufactured.
You only get a sense of the exact date the manufacturer determined as the time the food will no longer be able to provide adequate nutrition for your pet.
Despite the “best before” or expiration date, there are still ingredients in the product that offer enough nutrition; however, the nutritional value of added ingredients has faded. It is therefore imperative that you check the expiration date of the dog food before buying it.
Use it within that timeframe as well, especially if you want your pet to receive the best nutrition.
If preservatives are used in dog foods, their shelf life and expiration dates may be affected. In comparison to artificial preservatives, natural preservatives, like Vitamin E, tend to degrade faster.
Thus, it should not come as a surprise that dog foods with natural preservatives have a shorter shelf life compared to those containing artificial preservatives. (3)
Buying those with natural preservatives and smaller packages is a great way to go all-natural. It allows you to give your pet the best care possible without exceeding the shelf life of the product.
Does Dog Food Expire?
You might ask yourself: Does dog food expire? Well, yes. Just like any other food, dog food expires. However, the expiration date of dog food is not the same as that of food intended for humans. This is because the expiration date of dog foods is determined based on the amount of nutrients they contain.
The expiration date of dog food also depends on what kind of food it is. Dry food tends to have a much longer shelf life than wet food. Canned dog food can last up to five years, while pouches can last even longer.
There is no set rule regarding how long dog food lasts. Some brands have a shelf life of two weeks, while others can last up to six months.
The expiration date of dog food can vary depending on the brand. One brand of dog food can last longer than another. So, it is important to read the label carefully to ensure that the product you purchase is safe for consumption.
How Long Can I Keep Dog Food?
Dog food is meant to be consumed regularly by dogs. If you feed your dog every day, then you need to buy new dog food at least once every month. If you feed your pet twice a week, then you should replace his food every two weeks.
When it comes to the expiration date of dog food, it varies from one brand to another. Some companies actually use the term “expiration” to indicate the end of the shelf life of the food. They include this information on the packaging so that consumers know when to throw away the food.
In most cases, the expiration date refers to the point where the food loses its ability to nourish your pet. The expiration date is usually printed on the package itself. You will notice that the expiration date is usually written in the past tense. This means that the food was produced a certain number of days ago.
Some people believe that the expiry date of dog food is just an indicator of the time left until the food goes bad. They think that after the expiration date, the quality of the food begins to decline. But this isn’t true.
What are the Issues With Expired Dog Foods?
As mentioned earlier, there are some issues associated with expired dog food. Here are some of them:
1. Your pet could get sick:
If you are feeding your dog food that has passed its expiration date, you run the risk of getting him sick. When you feed your pet expired food, he consumes more calories than usual. He could become overweight and develop health problems. Also, if you feed expired dog food, you may find that the flavor is off.
2. The nutritional value of the food could decrease over time:
Expired dog food contains less protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber than fresh food. As a result, your pet’s body won’t absorb these nutrients properly. This leads to malnutrition. In addition, the taste of the food could change. It becomes bitter or bland.
3. The ingredients could change:
You don’t want to feed your pet expired food because it might contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals could cause serious health problems. For instance, they could make your pet allergic to other foods.
4. The expiration date could become inaccurate:
Sometimes, manufacturers add an extra layer of protection to their products. This makes it harder for consumers to determine whether the food is still good. As a result, the expiration dates of dog food can become inaccurate.
5. The taste could deteriorate:
The smell of food doesn’t always mean that it tastes great. Sometimes, the odor of the food indicates that it is no longer edible.
6. The texture of the food could change:
It is possible that the texture of expired dog food changes. This could lead to gastrointestinal upset.
7. The smell could fade away:
The aroma of food is very important for pets. If you feed your animal expired food, he may not have any scent. This could affect his appetite.
8. The color of the food could turn brown or yellow:
Your pet could consume spoiled food without realizing it. This happens because the food turns brown or yellow.
9. The expiration date could be misleading:
This is a common problem among pet owners. Many times, the expiration date of dog food does not indicate how long the food should last.
Can Dogs Eat Expired Dog Food?
Yes, your dog can eat expired dog food. He would probably consume less calories if he did, but he can still get enough nutrition from the food. In fact, some experts recommend feeding your dog old dog food because it contains more protein and fat than fresh food.
If you want to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat too many calories, you can always add a little bit of water to the food.
If you see that your dog has eaten some of the food before the expiration date, you can simply pour out the rest of the food and put the remaining portion into a bowl.
Expired dog food is still safe to feed to dogs?
Dog food that is past its prime is generally safe to eat. Airtight containers make it particularly safe to eat. It’s not always a good idea to feed expired food to your dog. It is important to note that dog food is manufactured in a unique and different way.
Effectiveness and longevity are often considered. A nutrient-dense formula is also used, incorporating a variety of ingredients to ensure that your dog can survive on it.
Additionally, preservatives are added to dog food to prevent mold and bacteria from growing. In addition, such ingredients also tend to degrade over time. Once the food starts aging, it is also more prone to change. The changes in your dog’s food are often invisible, but depending on its age, he may begin to notice the changes and their effects.
Also Read: What kind of yogurt can dogs eat?
After the expiration date, how long is dog food really good?
The dog’s general consumption of such food should be safe a few months after its expiration date in most cases. It differs from the effect on humans, who will likely refuse to eat expired food, even if it is only a day past its expiration date because dogs have a greater tolerance for digestion and food than humans.
Make sure, however, that the expired food is thoroughly checked for bacteria and mold before feeding it to your dog.
In general, mold grows on the upper layer of the food, and the resulting odor is offensive to dogs. You can, however, let him eat the food even though it has expired if you see that it doesn’t have the above-mentioned issues. After its expiration date, it is safe for consumption within a few months, but make sure you inspect it for mold and bacteria.
Can expired dog food cause health problems?
You should not feed your pup expired food since it can cause both minor and severe health issues. Taking the risk of your pup getting sick by eating food that is slightly out of date may be fine, but you will have to clean up after him if he gets sick.
If Fido’s food is bad, you will experience diarrhea and sickness. There may be bacteria present in spoiled foods that disturb the balance within the gut and intestines, causing the body to expel extra fluids in an effort to flush them out. (4)
It may take a few days for symptoms to appear. In most cases, nausea and loose stools will disappear within 24 hours, but they may persist for a few more days. When this happens, you must discard all expired food and feed him chicken and rice to avoid upsetting their stomachs further.
When your puppy consumes spoiled food, there is a risk of serious bacteria breeding. Through the bloodstream, bacteria such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Botulism can spread. If left untreated, this can cause many health problems, which could mean that your dog is facing a life-threatening battle. (1)
When food is fed past its best, malnutrition is still serious, though less severe, consequence. The vitamins and minerals in degraded foods are often lost before they rot or go moldy. Even if it doesn’t upset his stomach, they are not delivering what your pup needs.
The neglect of his daily needs can lead to a slow decline in his health that isn’t immediately apparent. A lethargy or weight loss over time could be mistaken for laziness. The condition can eventually lead to bone problems and organ failure if not detected early enough as malnourishment.
How To Know When Dog Food Is Expired?
There are several ways to know when your dog’s food has expired. First, check the label on the bag or box. Second, look at the expiry dates on the cans. Third, look at the expiration date written on the container itself. Fourth, check the expiration date printed on the product packaging. Fifth, check the expiration date stamped on the package. (2)
You might need to take action if you find any of the following:
- The expiration date is longer than six months — this means that the food has been sitting around for a long time. This could mean that the manufacturer didn’t use the best methods possible to preserve the food and that it was exposed to environmental factors.
- There is no expiration date — this means there is no information about when the food should expire. It could mean that the manufacturer did not follow proper procedures to keep the food fresh.
- The expiration date on the food is older than six months — this indicates that the food has been stored improperly. If the food is still in its original packaging, throw it away immediately. Otherwise, discard it as soon as you open it.
- The expiration date printed on the food packaging is older than six months. This indicates that the food has sat around too long. Throw it out immediately.
- The expiration dates on the cans are older than six months. Discard the food immediately.
- The food contains unusual odors. These odors could indicate that the food has spoiled. If you notice any unusual smells, throw them out immediately.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten expired food, call your vet right away. He may be able to recommend some alternatives.
While expired food that is not at its best may be safe for Fido, it does not mean you should feed it to him. Good quality food is better for us and our dogs. (5)
Check for the issues above before finishing that bag of food that went over its best by date to ensure tummy upsets won’t occur. Worse yet, severe bacterial infections may occur.
If you are buying food for your dog, make sure to purchase enough to last about a month. It is, therefore, highly unlikely that it will spoil before it expires even if it does expire shortly. However, keeping your pup healthy and fit is your first priority, so there is no need to do so.