how to store homemade dog food

How to Store Homemade Dog Food and for How Long?

While most people think keeping a pet dog is all rainbows and sunshine, they are in for a big shock. Wondering why? It’s because of the high cost of quality commercial dog foods available today.

Owing to it, most dog parents are now switching to making meals for their furry companions at home. It’s not only a cheaper alternative, but you can customize the meals according to your dog’s needs.

Wondering what’s the right way to store dog food and how long it will last? When kept in an airtight container in a refrigerator, dog food can easily last around 3-5 days. However, the timeframe depends on the ingredients you’ve used.

Please keep reading to learn more about storing dog food correctly to make it last longer.

Homemade Dog Food & its Benefits for Your Dog

Homemade Dog Food & its Benefits for Your Dog

Most people today lead a busy lifestyle and rely on commercial dog foods readily available in the market. These packed products can cost quite a bit. They might not even include all the essential nutrients that your dog requires, whether for overall health or some underlying health issues.

Although uncommon, many pet parents are now making dog food at home since it is cost-effective and even healthy for pets. An essential benefit of switching to a homemade diet is knowing what exactly goes into your pet’s food and being able to customize the food per specific dietary needs.

Another advantage of preparing dog food at home is that you can always make it in large batches and store it in your freezer. It’s a great alternative for people who have a packed schedule and don’t have enough time to cook daily.

However, it’s essential to remember that not every dog can eat and enjoy the same diet every day. Suppose you’re planning to cook dog food. In that case, you must ensure that it is nutritionally balanced and meets your furry friend’s dietary needs.

How do You Store Homemade Dog Food?

When it comes to cooking dog food at home, preparing it is easy but storing it is where you need to be cautious. It would help if you focused on correctly storing the large batches of freshly cooked meals to keep them safe, healthy, and nutritious for your pup.

Here are some helpful tips to properly store the meals you cook for your canine and keep them delicious and fresh for a long time.

1. Use An Airtight Container

Use An Airtight Container

The key to storing dog food is using airtight containers, whether you want to store it in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Pick an airtight container with a tight seal to help keep the bacteria and other contaminants away from the food. You can also put the date of preparation right on this container to help you track how long you have stored the food and decide if you should discard it.

2. Refrigerate The Food

A great way of preserving home-cooked meals for canines dogs is refrigerating them. Keeping the food in the fridge can help prevent it from spoilage and even extend its shelf life by several days if not weeks.

Before refrigerating the dog food, ensure that all the ingredients that make up the meals are thoroughly cooked. You must put individual portions in different airtight containers so that they don’t occupy a lot of space and don’t contaminate the others during storage.

Labeling the individual container along with its contents and date of preparation would help you keep track of the time within which you can give it to your dog.

3. Freezing Helps Store it For Longer

Freezing Helps Store it For Longer

If you don’t want the food to lose quality and taste nice over a long period, try freezing the meals. It can preserve the dog food and keep its freshness intact.

You must carefully check that all the ingredients used in the meal are properly cooked when freezing the batch of dog food you cook at home. If not, it may lead to the formation of bacteria inside the food, which might adversely impact your pup.

It would help to store small portions individually instead of in large batches to allow lesser thawing times to prepare the food for your dog’s consumption. Moreover, having a full freezer will save on energy costs.

Using only high-quality, airtight, and moisture-proof storage containers is essential. Besides that, rotate the food regularly to ensure your dog always gets fresh food. It means that you mustn’t keep one batch in the freezer for over a few weeks.

4. Dehydrate it

Many pet parents dehydrate the meals they cook at home. It is another option to preserve home-cooked dog food. It involves removing all the moisture from the foods through natural evaporation processes through the sun or dehydrators specialized for this task.

These dehydrators are ideal for pet parents who need maximum control of temperature settings during the dehydration cycle. It can help reduce the chances of bacterial contamination significantly, which occurs because of prolonged exposure to high temperatures during conventional oven baking techniques.

You should precook the meat and vegetables beforehand and use trays of the appropriate size and right temperature depending on the end product you need from the dehydration cycle.

How Long Does Homemade Dog Food Last?

How Long Does Homemade Dog Food Last?

The homemade food you cook for your dog can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and around two months in your freezer. If you wish to prolong the shelf life of the meals you cook for the pooch, keep these tips in mind:

  • Ensure the food is at room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • You can divide the dog food batch into smaller portions and freeze them in freezer bags or airtight containers. It will keep the meals fresh and also prevent them from turning bad.
  • Lastly, check the food for any signs of mold or foul odors that might indicate spoilage before you feed it to your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cooked dog food last in the fridge for 5 days?

Yes, while leftovers can easily last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, the risk of food contamination may start rising after that.

Can I give leftovers to my dog?

Yes, it is okay to feed leftovers to a pup. However, their entire meal should include more than just leftovers as it might offer only some of the ingredients that your dog needs.

What are the signs of dog food gone bad?

You may notice a different texture, appearance, or even an unpleasant odor from the home-cooked dog food, indicating that it has gone bad.

Which are the best ways to defrost dog food?

The three top ways to thaw frozen dog meals are – using cold water, in the refrigerator, and in a microwave.

Final Thoughts

As a pet parent, you’d always want your furry companion to be happy and healthy. The best and sometimes the easiest way to ensure that is through nutrition. Giving hygienic, safe, and nutritious food can do wonders for a dog’s health.

If you can’t find the right commercial food for your pup, you can always home-cook healthy meals for it. However, ensure you follow the instructions above on storing the food correctly and make it last days or months.

You can consult a veterinarian to better understand the dog’s dietary requirements before cooking and storing it at home!

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