closeup on a can's expiry date

Is My Dog’s Food Expired?

As a dog owner, one of your most important decisions is selecting the proper food for your pet. Pet food can expire, and it’s essential to know if your dog’s food is expired to keep them healthy and safe. Read on to learn how to tell if your pet’s food has expired and what happens when a dog eats expired pet food.

How To Tell If Your Dog’s Food Has Expired

Most commercial pet foods have an expiration date printed on the package or contained in a code stamped onto the container. The expiration date is usually expressed as a month, day, and year, such as “Best By 07/21/2024.” It may also be described as a “Use By” date. 

The expiration date may sometimes be stamped with a “Best Before” or “Best If Used By” label instead of an expiration date. This indicates that while the product is still safe after this date, it may not have its original flavor or texture.

If you are still looking for an expiration date on your pet’s food container or bag, contact the manufacturer directly for information about when it was produced and how long it should last. 

You can also check for a production code (also called lot code) on the packaging, which typically includes numbers indicating the production month and year or other information such as “Date Code: 0331A,” which would suggest that the product was produced during March of 2021 (03), 31st day of March (31), A shift (A).

Signs of Spoiled Food

Identifying spoiled pet food is essential for your dog’s health. If the food has changed color, developed an off-odor, or shows signs of mold, it’s best to discard it. Another tell-tale sign is the presence of pests like insects or mites in the food. These physical changes often indicate that the food is no longer safe for consumption. Trust your senses; if something about your dog’s food seems off, it’s better to err on caution and not feed it to your pet.

What Happens When A Dog Eats Expired Food?

Eating expired pet food can cause digestive issues in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and dehydration. Some pet foods contain preservatives to help extend their shelf life, but these preservatives become less effective over time, so eating old food can cause more harm than good. 

Old pet foods may also contain pests like mites, which can further exacerbate dog health issues if ingested.

Health Monitoring After Consuming Food Near Expiration

After your dog consumes food close to or just past its expiration date, careful monitoring of its health is critical. Watch for signs of digestive upset, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a lack of appetite. Changes in behavior, like increased lethargy or a lack of interest in usual activities, also warrant attention. 

If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s prudent to consult your veterinarian. Even if the food appeared fine, being cautious about your pet’s health and well-being is better. Remember, your dog’s health can offer valuable clues about the suitability and safety of its food.

Nutrient Degradation in Pet Food

Over time, the essential nutrients in pet food can degrade. This process reduces the food’s nutritional value, even if it doesn’t show visible signs of spoilage. Essential vitamins and fats are particularly susceptible to degradation. 

Feeding your dog food that has lost its nutritional integrity could lead to deficiencies despite your best efforts at providing a balanced diet. Always check the expiration date and store the food correctly to ensure your dog gets the full benefit of its meals.

Storage Tips for Pet Food

Proper pet food storage is crucial in maintaining freshness and extending its shelf life. Keep pet food in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Once you open a bag of dry dog food, consider transferring it to an airtight container. This practice preserves the food’s quality and prevents contamination from pests or other environmental factors. 

For canned wet food, refrigerate unused portions and use them within a few days. Remember, the way you store pet food can significantly impact its shelf life and safety.

Recommendations for Safe Disposal of Expired Pet Food

Safely disposing of expired or spoiled pet food is essential to prevent other animals from consuming it. Discard it in a securely tied bag within a covered trash can. If you have a compost pile, remember that adding pet food is not advisable, as it could attract unwanted pests or wildlife. 

Additionally, ensure that the disposed food is out of reach of your pets and neighborhood animals to avoid accidental consumption.

Conclusion

Understanding the expiration and storage of your dog’s food is vital for their health and well-being. By being mindful of expiration dates, storage methods, and signs of spoilage and closely monitoring your pet’s health, you can ensure they are consuming safe and nutritious meals. 


If you’re looking for high-quality, healthy dog food that your pet will love, check out Bare’s range of products. Our carefully crafted recipes are made with your dog’s health in mind, ensuring they receive only the best. Visit Bare today to explore our selection and give your furry friend the gift of wholesome, delicious meals.

Tags
First Time Pet Parents, Food, Health, Safety, Tips
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