Are you aware that, by not using those pet food containers properly, your well-intended actions could in fact result in a very sick dog!
The moment you open that bag or can of dog food, lots of bad "stuff" starts happening. It's important to understand how to use pet food storage bins correctly, and to learn which are the best dog food containers to use.
Here, you'll discover how and why the quality of dog food deteriorates so rapidly upon opening, and when it can become unsafe to feed to your dog.
For the complete picture, please also see our article on dog food storage and shelf life of unopened dog food which gives the full scoop on what to look for before you grab that first bag of dog food off the shelf.
Our chart on the best pet food storage recommendations gives tips and pet food container do's and don'ts to ensure you're feeding your puppy safe and fresh dog food.
What is oxidation?
Let's begin by taking a look at this time lapse video, which captures a tomato rotting over a period of a few days. Imagine this reaction beginning to happen to your dog's food as soon as it becomes exposed to air. (Just a friendly warning - If you're eating your lunch, you may wish to finish up your sandwich first :)
Oxidation is what you just saw taking place in the above video. It is the number one cause of food "going off".
Simply put, oxidation is the reaction that occurs when chemicals in the food come into direct contact with air and the oxygen molecules. This reaction (as illustrated above) is very destructive. It causes changes in the food's chemical composition which leads to not only, a decrease in the nutritional value of the dog food, but it creates a perfect haven for mold, mycotoxins, and bacterial contamination.
Picture a banana and how quickly it browns once you peel it. This discoloring is actually a form of rust. The difference with dog food is that we can't physically see the warning signs of this "rust".
These potential health risks increase every time you open and close the bag of dog food!
Fats and oils are extremely susceptible to oxidation. When fat oxidizes, the nutritional quality of the food decreases, the food tastes less appealing to the dog, and it can also become rancid making it unsafe for your dog to eat.
Most dog foods contain high levels of fat and fat-soluble ingredients (including vitamins A and E).
Dog food containing all natural pet food preservatives immediately starts to react and deteriorate upon exposure to heat and oxygen.
This is also the case with omega fatty acids, which are now added to many holistic dog food recipes. Omega fatty acids have excellent health benefits for both humans and dogs. However, again, their quality diminishes rapidly after the food has been opened.
Dog food preservatives are used in all commercial dog foods to slow down the rate of oxidation.
The cheap, "junky" dog foods, such as the supermarket dog food brands use harmful, carcinogenic, artificial preservatives, such as BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin.
These toxic chemical dog food preservatives give the product a much longer shelf life than all natural dog food preservatives.
Note, "by Federal law", Ethoxyquin is a requirement for bulk fish meals which are transported by vessel in freight containers. However, dog food manufacturers who have obtained a special permit are allowed to use natural preservatives instead. The dog food companies are not required to list this toxic chemical on their labels. With this lack of transparency, the only way to know is by asking them directly. Please also be aware that they could change their policy at any time without us ever knowing.
Our dog food comparison chart shows you at a glance which brands use harmful chemicals.
The better brands, and certainly the premium dog food brands, all use natural dog food preservatives, the most common being Tocopherols (vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). These ingredients are completely safe, and the only option worth considering for our furry friends.
Undesirable environmental factors which contribute to dog food spoilage are:-
See here for a great selection of:
Glass and metal are both very effective oxygen and humidity barriers.
This gorgeous X-Large Brushed Stainless Steel Pet Food Storage Can is great for storing large bags of dog food up to 40lb.
This 69 Quart Plastic Airtight Pet Food Container is another convenient option for large bags of dog food. It can store a 50lb bag of dog food, has four wheels allowing for easy rolling around, and has a wide top for easy scooping.
Airtight SOFT Pet Food Storage Containers
are perfect for when you're on the road with your dog, or if you're short on storage space. It has a patented dual-gasket sealing system, and collapsible soft-sided bag.
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