The Problems with Expired Dog Food (Tips for Prevention) | Herepup
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​The Problems with Expired Dog Food (Tips for Prevention)

We pay close attention to the expiration date on the foods we buy, because we know funky things can happen if we allow foods to hang around in our fridge too long. However, we may not be as diligent when it comes to our pooch’s food. Here’s why you should.

Why We May Take a Dog Food’s Expiration Date for Granted

It may be easy for us to pay little to mind for a dog food’s expiration date for several reasons. For instance, your dog’s digestive system is different from ours, plus they are known to occasionally eat things that we would rather not think about when they lick our faces. Because of this, we may think that they are better equipped to handle past-its-prime food stuff.

Furthermore, the expiration date is often labeled as a "best if used by” date rather than an expiration date. It’s a simple example of semantics, but it’s strong enough to let us potentially believe that it’s not all that big of a deal if we miss this date by a few weeks or even months. After all, “best” just means that it’s just going to have a dip in quality, right?

Well, not so much. Dog food may not look like the kind of food we eat, but that doesn’t mean it won’t spoil or go rancid after a certain period of time. And even though our dog handles the digestion of food differently than we do, that doesn’t mean that he’s better equipped to handle bad food better than us.

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Why is Expired Dog Food so Bad?

Hopefully, you’re feeding your four-legged friend high-quality dog food. If you are, you should be cognizant of the fact that the reason the food is high-quality is that the ingredients tend to be more natural are held are of a higher standard in general. These ingredients will have a tendency to start declining after the expiration date because they are more organic.

Preservatives also play a key role in keeping track of your pooch’s expiration date. While these substances are essential for staving off spoilage, microbial proliferation, and other similarly icky things, even they will start losing their effectiveness after a certain time frame. When they do, degradation could unwittingly settle in on the chow, with potentially disastrous results.

It should also be noted that spoiled dog food isn’t as easy to detect as spoiled human food. You won’t smell much of a difference compared to non-expired chow, and your dog won’t be all that fussy about eating it if you feed him. Of course, your dog may let you know that giving him spoiled dog food was a bad idea in other, more unpleasant ways.

Diligence is the Key to Preventing Expired Dog Food in the House

Expired Dog Food 2

We’ve all more or less trained ourselves to be mindful of labels and expiration dates when we go shopping for obvious reasons. This inherent diligence is even more important to carry out when you’re looking to buy dog food. The reason for this traces back to the previously mentioned matter of “expiration date” semantics.

Because most dog foods carry a “best if used by” date as opposed to a hard expiration date, stores of all stripes can legally sell you food that’s past the recommended time interval. Hopefully, you won’t come across this issue too much - typically, a dog food will have a shelf life of up to two years from the date of manufacture, so you’ll most likely see food that falls on the right side of the expiration date. However, it is good to know that it’s enough of a possibility to where you shouldn’t just assume the bag your picking up is fit for consumption.

Don’t Slack on This for the Sake of Your Dog!

Making sure the food you’re giving to your pooch is good for him should be something that falls into the “no-brainer” category. After all, we should always be striving to provide the best for your furry friends, and making sure you aren’t inadvertently getting him sick with dog food past its prime is a simple yet effective way of making sure this is happening. You’re dog may not be able to verbally thank you, but you can construe the fact that he won’t get sick from eating bad chow is thanks enough.

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Laura Harris

Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for HerePup during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

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