JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Dry Pet Food Storage

Warm weather and humidity can wreak havoc on a good bag of pet food! 

 Dry dog and cat foods usually have a one-year “shelf life.” That means the food is “good” for up to one year after the manufacturing date. Many dry foods stamp a “best if used by” date on the package. This applies only to unopened bags.   High-quality dog food companies use bags that provide protection from oxygen and moisture. If the bag is intact, not enough oxygen and moisture can migrate into the food in one year to cause significant oxidation or microbial growth problems. Though problems can occur between the manufacture of food and the customer opening the bag, it’s what happens after the bag is opened that we are most concerned with in this article.  

What happens after you open the bag of dog food?  As soon as you open a bag of food, oxygen, moisture, light, mold spores, storage mites, and other potential spoilers enter the bag.  

Oxidation of fats

Oxidized fats may cause cancer and contribute to many chronic health problems in humans. The same is true for dogs.
 
Dog food companies use antioxidants (sometimes vitamin E and other natural sources) to forestall oxidation. Every time the bag is opened, oxygen enters. Eventually the antioxidants are all oxidized (used up) and some of the fats are damaged, starting with the more fragile omega -3 fatty acids.
 
Degradation of all micronutrients

Vitamins particularly susceptible to oxidation and damage due to long term room temperature storage include vitamin A, thiamin, most forms of folate, some forms of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal),vitamin C, and pantothenic acid. The nutrition in the food at the bottom of a bag left open 39 days will be considerably less than the nutrition in the top of the bag. Fresh is best.

Molds and mycotoxins

Storing open bags of dry dog food for 39 days in warm, humid areas (most kitchens) promotes the growth of molds. Some of the waste products of these molds (mycotoxins) are increasingly being implicated as long-term causes of cancer and other health problems in humans, poultry, pigs and other animals. Dogs are particularly susceptible to these toxins.
 
When dry dog foods absorb moisture from the surrounding air, the antimicrobials used by most manufacturers to delay mold growth can be overwhelmed, and mold can grow. The molds that consume dry pet foods include the Aspergillus flavus mold, which produces Aflatoxin B1, the most potent naturally occurring carcinogenic substance known.
 
You can’t see low levels of mold, and most dogs can’t taste it.  While many dogs have died shortly after eating mycotoxin-contaminated foods, mycotoxins kill most dogs slowly by suppressing the immune system and creating long-term health problems in all organs of the body.
 
Infestation

Bugs, storage mites, mice, and other unpleasant invaders thrive on dry dog food.  Recent research has shown that allergic dogs are frequently allergic to the carcasses of storage mites, which may infest grains, especially those grains used in low cost dry dog foods. So, daily, allergic dogs ingest a substance to which their immune system reacts negatively.
 
Keep food fresh!
 
1. Keep food in its original bag, even if you use a container. Plastics can leach vitamin C out of the food. The components of the plastics themselves may leach into the food. Rancid fat, which lodges in the pores of plastics that are not food-grade, will contaminate new batches of food.
2. Buy small, fresh bags of food; only enough to last 7 days. Look for manufacturing or “best if used by” dates on the bag. If you don’t see one, or can’t understand the code, write the manufacturer and ask where it is or how to interpret their codes.
3. Keep food dry. If the food looks moist, throw it away.
4. Keep larger bags in the freezer. This is the only way we think large quantities of food may be kept safely.
5. If the food has off color, throw it away.
6. If the food smells rancid or like paint, throw the food away.
7. If your dog says no, do not force her to eat.
8. Don’t buy bags that are torn.  

Consider the value vs the risk of buying bags of food that are too large for your pet(s) to finish before the expiration date.  Sometime paying a little more to buy smaller bags as you need them can save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run!
 
Follow these simple recommendations to radically reduce the deadly toxins your dog or cat encounters. 



 For those of you that are relocating with your pet; ship some of your pet’s food ahead so you have it when you get there.  Not all brands are available everywhere.  This will save on an upset stomach in a new country or town.  

One of my favorite books on the right way to feed pets is “See Spot Live Longer” by Steve Brown and Beth Taylor.  Below is an excerpt from Ms. Taylor’s website that I thought was important to share with companion pet owners.

 

2000+ Dog Books And All Things Dog 

Monthly Feature: BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN DOGS

March 27, 2009 - Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] Dry Pet Food Storage […]

    Pingback by Pets and Toxic Plants « JustOneMorePet | May 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Dry Pet Food Storage […]

    Pingback by Pet Health Alert: Cancer Prevention in Older Dogs « JustOneMorePet | September 12, 2009 | Reply


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