Dog Food Storage Dangers

August 12, 2021

By Jennifer Broome, Owner, QK Dogs

Many of you do the research, you ask your vet or your breeder and through due diligence you choose a food that you feel will be the healthiest choice for your beloved dog.  You all know the adage “You are what you eat!”  Well certainly the same goes for our furry companions.  These days there are a plethora of dog food options out there, from ‘boutique fad dog foods’ to the tried-and-true Purina Dog Food that QK Dogs has come to rely on as the most digestible, healthy, and safe choice for our dogs while in boarding and training at QK.

Regardless of your dog food choices, as a kennel owner of over 25 years, I am seeing some huge problems when it comes to sending your dog to us for care.  Dogs are dropped off with garbage cans, Tupper wares, kitty litter containers, fancy storage containers and even plastic bags containing their dog food.  While this may be your choice for your convenience of dog food storage, it is actually a nightmare for the caretakers of your beloved dogs.  Why!?  Well, we want to know which food that you are feeding!  We want to check the protein and fat levels and we want to read the label to understand the protein source so that we are feeding the appropriate amounts.  Recently we had very obese dogs show up on a freeze-dried designer food stored in Ziploc bags.  We were feeding according to the owner’s request, however when I actually decided to play detective and look up the food, it turns out that the owner was feeding over double the recommended amount of this very rich food!  Additionally,  we want to know the batch of particular food that you send along because we are always on alert for recalls or possible food issues.  All of this is on our shoulders while you may be happily vacationing out of the country!  What if your dog runs out of food?  What are we left to assume?  Can we try to Google the kibble shape and guess!?

While your dog is away from home they are naturally stressed.  Changing their food abruptly can easily cause stomach upset, so we need to be able to order more food or try to find a similar match if you do not send enough.  Many dogs burn a lot of extra calories while in boarding and training, so owners often do not send enough food.  Owners often send their own ‘scoop’.  They say just give their dog 1 scoop twice a day.  Well, a ‘scoop’ is often a far cry from a measured cup, and dogs need to be fed appropriately based on their breed, age, body score and exercise.  We ALWAYS use cups when measuring our QK Dog’s food.

Well, isn’t it actually more convenient to just dump a 40# bag of dog food into a plastic or metal container for easier storage?  Yes, honestly it is!  However, there are many dangers with this.  Here is a reply from Karl Gunzer, Director of the Sporting Dog Group with Nestle-Purina PetCare:

“It is recommended that food be kept in the original bag that it comes in for several reasons.

First and foremost – sanitation. Any time you transfer food to another container, you are going to add the potential to introduce bacteria, germs, etc. I’d bet most storage containers, even when new, do not go through the same sanitization processes as our Purina bags.

Also – as your QK Veterinarian Dr. Williams suggested, the reality is that people don’t regularly clean storage containers and by continually dumping new food in with old, they increase the chance for rancidity, mold, etc.   Even if they’ve used all the food, if the container is not washed, cleaned and sterilized, there is still cross-contamination.

 Another reason to keep it in the bag is traceability. If you’re ever concerned about the quality or safety of the food – you can provide the manufacturing code which can trace the product back through the full supply chain.  Most people who dump their food in a bin throw away the bag, and consequently lose the ability to trace their food if there are any concerns.”

Hmmm, pretty useful information, isn’t it?  So, in order to keep your pet’s food properly stored, the best advice is to put the entire bag into a resealable container.  Once you run out, simply toss out the bag and replace with a new bag.  This should help to ensure freshness and you will have access to the specific bag serial numbers in the event there is a recall or problem.

And remember, when you send your dog to us for care, please include the original dog food bag!