wet dog food as a treat in front of a dog

How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out?

Using wet dog food as a treat, main meal, or a meal mixer is very popular among dog owners.

The only problem with this is that there is often a bit of the wet food left over.

This leaves many pet owners wondering: how long can opened canned dog food sit out, and how do you properly store wet dog food once it has been opened?

Although canned dog food can sit out for a little while, it definitely has a shelf life and needs to be either refrigerated or frozen after a certain point.

It is also a good idea to cover up this wet food in some way when storing it for later use.

Here we will be explaining everything that dog owners should know about storing canned dog food.

This includes how long wet dog food can sit out, and how you can safely save it for later use once the can has been opened. Let’s get right into it!

How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out In A Bowl?

Wet Dog Food in a Bowl Sit Out Longer in Front of a Dog
Image by Mat Coulton from Pixabay

You can safely leave wet dog food sitting in a dog’s bowl for about four hours. Any longer than this and the food will likely start to spoil and dry out.

Dry dog food on the other hand can be left out for much longer than four hours. In fact, dry dog food will stay fresh for up to eight hours in a dog’s bowl.

What Happens If You Leave Wet Dog Food Out?

Wet Dog Food Starts to Spoil in a Bowl
Image by kalhh from Pixabay

If you leave wet dog food out for too long it will likely start to spoil. This may or may not make the food less appetizing to your dog, but spoiled food is sure to make a dog sick either way. As a result, it is best to make sure that wet food is not left out for more than a few hours once the can has been opened.

In addition to spoiling, soft food may start to attract bugs after a while. This may even cause maggots to form on the food after several days. Similarly, the wet food will likely have a foul smell and start to dry out after a while as well.

Does Wet Dog Food Need to Be Refrigerated?

Opened cans of wet food can be refrigerated, and this allows the food to last for a longer amount of time without spoiling. In fact, when properly refrigerated and stored in an air tight container leftover food can go without spoiling for up to five to seven days.

You can properly store the food from opened cans by putting them in a plastic container or by placing a plastic pet food lid directly on the food can.

A designated plastic container or plastic pet food lid like this is actually very handy, especially if you find yourself saving leftover food often.

Where Should You Store Canned Food When Unopened?

When storing unopened cans of dog food it is recommended that you keep them in a cool and dry place. A dry cabinet, closet, or pantry is a great space to keep unopened cans of food.

The same goes for dry food as well. It is recommended that you store all dry dog food in a cool and dry place in either a sealable bag or in a sealed container.

How to Store Opened Canned Dog Food

Many people choose to store opened cans of dog food in the refrigerator. You can do this by putting a plastic can lid over the can of food or by putting the dog food in an air tight container. When you do this the wet food should have a shelf life of around five to seven days.

In addition to storing opened dog food in the fridge, you can also store it in the freezer. When you freeze wet dog food it is recommended that you store them in freezer bags or an airtight container that is freezer safe. When storing wet dog food in the freezer like this it will stay fresh for up to four months.

How Long Does Wet Dog Food Spoil?

Dog Eats Wet Food
Image by Andreas H. from Pixabay

The answer to this question depends on how and where your dog’s food is being stored. For example, canned foods that have been opened will spoil after about four hours when left out.

Meanwhile, wet foods stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container will not start to spoil until around seven days.

Like most other kinds of food, wet pet food tends to last the longest when stored properly in the freezer. In the freezer, pet food does not start to go bad until around four months.

Of course, it is also important to go by any sell by date or expiration date on the can as well. If a can of dog food is well past the expiration date, then there is a good chance that the food has spoiled within the can. As a result, it is not a good idea to feed a dog any kind of food that is past its use date.

Where Can You Find Expiration Dates On Dog Food?

Wet Dog Food with Expiration Date
Images from Unsplash

Most of the time expiration and use by dates will be clearly printed on the package. When it comes to canned food, the package can have the date stamped on it. This is especially true when you buy individual servings of the food.

However, it is also important to mention that the sell by date or use by date may be printed on the dog food’s box if you buy it in bulk.

If this date is only printed on the box and not on individual cans, then it is a good idea to take a note of the food’s expiration date just to be safe.

For dry dog food, the expiration date is usually printed clearly on the bag. This could be on the front or back of the dry dog food package.

Wrapping Up

When storing an opened can of dog food it is best to store it in either the freezer or the refrigerator. It is recommended that pet owners always use air tight containers or bags when saving left over wet dog food in both of these places.

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