Dog treats are fantastic if you are training your dog. But can you store these dog treats for the long term? What happens if you feed your dog with expired or spoiled dog treats?
Do Dog Treats Expire
Dog treats are essential if you are training your dog or if you want to be able to reward your dog. Dog treats often come in various pack sizes, from the most miniature pocket-sized packs to large bags.
If you happened to have purchased more dog treats than you needed, you might be thinking if these dog treats expire, and if they do, when? We’re diving deep into the question of best before dates of dog treats so your pet will always be safe when you give it treats.
How Long Do Dog Treats Last Once Open?
This has always been a tricky question because each pack of dog treats comes with a best-by date. However, opening the package does affect the freshness and longevity of the product, so dog owners are unsure how long they can keep a bag of treats after they’ve started giving the treats to their pets. Unfortunately, there are different dog treats brands, and there is no precise answer to this question.
The broad range for freshness is up to two months after you have opened the package.
Unopened packages will keep for the remainder of the best-before date (be sure to mark this date). For example, if you opened a large pack of dog treats and have no idea how long you will use the bag, you may toss the package into the freezer and thaw just enough treats each time. While the best-by rule still applies, frozen dog treats will be viable for a long time because the best-by date assumes that you will only be storing the dog treats at room temperature.
How Do You Increase the Shelf Life of Dog Treats?
If you have many dogs at home, it will be tough not to buy or prepare dog treats in bulk. However, these things don’t last forever, and no dog owner likes throwing away expired dog treats. You can maximize the shelf life of dog treats by following these tips.
Commercial dog treats
- Once opened, keep commercial dog treats in a cool and dark place.
- Moisture is food’s biggest enemy. Moisture encourages spoilage. Therefore, adding dehumidifiers in the cabinet will help improve the freshness of dog treats, whether open or not.
- Keep dog treats away from direct sunlight. Don’t let sunlight bake that bag, and it’s not a good idea to store dog treats in the hottest part of the house, the kitchen. Instead, keep those dog treats in the most incredible room in the house.
- If you opened a large pack of dog treats, place the remainder in the most airtight container you can find and freeze them. This should give you at least eight months of viability. Then, thaw the amount that you need each time.
- If you don’t want to freeze dog treats, place them in an airtight container and just put them in the fridge. As long as your refrigerator is working well and it’s not too crowded, we can assume that the cooling is optimal. Refrigerating dog treats adds at last two months of freshness. The dog treats are also going to be easier to thaw.
Homemade dog treats
- Homemade treats made with lots of vegetable oil or beef tallow have a shorter shelf life. Therefore, it would be best to freeze these treats.
- Meat treats, whether cooked or raw, can only be held in the fridge for two to four days,
- Freezing treats is the most practical option for storing large quantities of homemade dog treats.
- Avoid handling the treats in the larger container with your bare hands as our hands can introduce bacteria, which will spoil food more quickly.
Will Expired Dog Treats Hurt Dogs?
Yes, they might hurt dogs – and fairly quickly, too. Dog food is preserved the same way as processed human food. Dog food manufacturers add a cocktail of chemicals that fight mold, bacteria, moisture, and changes to the food at the molecular level.
However, these preservatives can only hold the fort for so long, and eventually, they degrade. Once degraded, the dog-treat preservatives are gone, and mold and bacteria eventually form on the surface of the dog treats. These microscopic pathogens can make your dog sick easily.
How Long Does the Dog Food Expire?
Expect commercially formulated dog food to expire 12 months after production. Manufacturers rarely make the best-by date longer unless you purchased canned or wet food. Canned or moist food is still good after two years after the show. They’re easier to store, too, and require no unique storage spaces because they’re already sealed and controlled internally.
How To Store Dog Food Properly?
The FDA has several guidelines for storing dog food and dog treats:
- Would you please keep the original packaging of your dog food/treats and use it for as long as possible? Also, the original packaging contains the best-by date.
- Place the dog treat pack inside the secondary, airtight container before freezing.
- Store all dog food and treats in a location that is no more than 80°F (26.67°C).
- Wash the scoop that you use for obtaining dog treats after use.
What Should I Do When It Expires?
If you have stored your dog treats reasonably well, some dog owners say that you can still use the dog treats a few months after the expiry. The idea is that the dog treats are not spoiled yet, but the preservatives may already be failing. If it’s just the preservatives and the dog treats are still intact, it sometimes makes sense to use dog treats. However, you need to visually inspect the dog treats as you can’t give spoiled food to dogs.
What Happens to Dogs That Eat Expired Dog Food?
Dogs can suffer from a variety of symptoms once food poisoning sets in. Watch out for incontinence, vomiting, hyperactivity, muscular cramps, painful stomach, dizziness, severe thirst, and diarrhea.