Pets make your life a thousand times better, that’s for sure. However, they’re also very cute agents of mayhem and can create some pet logistic problems for their owners — storing their food is a big one. Most pet owners prefer to buy pet food in bulk, as it’s cheaper and reduces the risk of finding yourself out of it — that would be pretty hard to explain to a hungry dog or cat.
When storing large quantities of pet food, you must ensure that it will remain fresh (and crunchy) and that your pet can’t get into it. It’s essential to protect the pet food from wild animals, such as mice or raccoons, that might carry different diseases and could also cause property damage if they treat your home as a “free buffet” and drop by regularly.
Other things to worry about are mold and smells. If the food becomes moldy, it’s no longer safe to eat, and you’ll have to throw it out. And, last but not least, pet food has a very strong odor, and you don’t want your entire home to smell that way. To avoid all the problems, you need to store pet food in:
- A cool, dry place;
- An airtight container;
- A secure location that your pet can’t reach;
All things considered, here are five pet food storage ideas that will help you keep it safe and fresh for your four-legged companions:
1. Practical and stylish pet feeders with storage included
Products like this feeder plus storage combo are great because they solve multiple pet-related needs. You can store the nibbles in a securely closed compartment and feed your pets with the built-in drawer fitted with bowls. It also offers some extra space for storing toys, leashes and other accessories your pet has. However, you need to find the right spot in your home for the pet feeder station with storage — it must be in a cooler area of the house to ensure that the pet food stays fresh. You can install it somewhere near your backdoor or in the laundry room, if those spaces are less heated compared to the rest of the home, or even in the garage. There are also less expensive feeders that hold less food and are more compact, so it’s easier to find a place for them in your home.
2. Automatic food dispensers
There’s a huge variety of pet food dispensers with storage — and some of them are even connected to the Internet and have cameras and audio. Those devices are very useful for people who are working odd or long hours and are not always making it home in time for dinner. The capacity of the food storage compartment varies from one model to another, but it can contain more than a week’s worth of food, depending on the size of your pet.
There are also some pretty basic models that don’t require electricity or Internet to work. Dispensers won’t completely solve the problem of pet food storage if you normally buy large quantities, but they’re certainly helpful.
3. Large airtight containers
A very practical solution for people who have multiple pets are large airtight containers that can hold plenty of food. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can get rolling or stackable containers and put them in your pantry, if you have the space, or in your garage.
A self storage unit is also an option, and not necessarily for food, but for other pet items you don’t use as often. Putting them in storage will create more space at home, thus enabling you to keep your pet food at hand. In case you intend to put your pet food supply in storage, you should check with the storage facility first, as not all of them allow food items in their units.
Pet food lasts longer in its original packaging. So, if you purchase multiple bags of pet food, instead of emptying them all in a container, it’s better to put the actual, unopened bags in the container. Get a separate, smaller container for the food currently in use.
4. In the freezer
Dry pet food can also be stored in a freezer — if you have a chest freezer in your home, you can keep the pet food in it for up to six months. Just make sure you take it out at least 24 hours prior to needing it and double wrap the food bags to prevent freezer burns and contamination with other foods.
5. Traveling with pets?
If you’re planning to bring your four-legged friend along on your outdoor adventures, you need a receptacle for their food. Travel pet food containers are a great solution, as they’re lightweight, durable and waterproof. If you’re more into air travel than hiking and camping, don’t worry — you can get an airline-approved dog travel bag that has space for all of your pooch’s necessities and toys.
Pet food safety rules you must follow
The FDA has a set of rules about storing and manipulating pet food, and here are the main things you need to know:
- When storing pet food in a new container, make sure you keep the UPC code, lot number, brand and manufacturer and “best by” date. You can tape the part of the bag with this info on your food container. In case you need to file a complaint about the quality of the food, or in cases of product recall, this information is essential.
- Put the pet food only in a clean, dry container, and wash containers between finishing one bag of food and filling it with another. Otherwise, crumbs and fat from the old bag of food might become rancid and contaminate the new food supply with an unappetizing odor.
- Make sure you wash your pet’s food and water bowls and scooping utensils daily.