Don't Forget Your Pets!

Our goal for our pets is the same as ours - start building to three months and expand from there.

Stock Up on Food Your Pet Eats

The easiest approach to pet food storage is to store what your pet currently eats. Start by building up a three-month supply of pet food and work your way up to a one-year storage as finances allow. Once your pet’s year supply of food has been acquired, continue using and purchasing pet food like usual. This way you are continuously renewing your supply and will always have a one-year supply of food on hand.

If you can’t afford to buy and store an entire year’s worth of food for your pet, or really don't feel that's necessary, then strive at the very least to have and maintain a 3-to-6-month storage. Hopefully, this will be enough to overcome any supply chain issues that may arise from any number of factors.

Remember to store water for your pets as well!

Food Storage
Pet Food Storage

Here are some tips and tricks you can use while building a sustainable food storage for your furry friend.

Dry Kibble | Wet Canned

Dry Kibble Pet Food

Here are some helpful tips in building a successful storage of dry food for your pet. Learning how to shop smarter, store wisely, and rotate correctly will all make your pet's food last longer.

Tips When Buying

Always take from the back

Most unopened dry pet foods have a shelf life of 1 to 2 years. In pet food stores, as in grocery stores, the newest stock is placed in the back or on the bottom. If you take it from the front or top, you may be knocking off months of storage time that you really don’t want to lose. So, just as you do when buying milk at the grocery store, always grab it from the back.

Buy same amount but in smaller bags

Bigger dry food bags are more cost-efficient, no doubt. But if you can afford it, the smarter strategy is to buy more of the smaller bags. Why? Because the minute the bag is opened, food oxidation begins, and the timer starts on the quality of the bag’s contents. Once the bag is open, some experts say the clock expires at 6 months while others say 6 weeks.


Size consideration

Buy the size of the bag that contains just enough food that your pet can eat in 6 weeks. But, with short-term food storage in mind, buy enough of these bags to always have 3 months of food on hand. This works out to be always 2.5 bags on hand per pet.

Exceptions to bag size and storage amounts

You can store less dry food if you plan to store canned or freeze-dried food as well. If you have two cats or two dogs then you can take advantage of the price breaks of the larger bag while they consume the contents within 6 so work out your math accordingly.

Building a one-year food storage per pet

When finances allow, work your way up by having enough bags in storage to have a consistent one-year supply, rotating through each bag, and buying another one, once each bag is consumed or, better yet, when opened. See Tips for Rotation below. This works out to be about 8 to 9 bags on hand per pet. Of course, breed sizes can change some of these calculations, but you get the point.

Tips for Storing


Keep food in its original packaging

  • It is not recommended that you repackage dry pet food for short or long-term storage.
  • Always store dry food, even if opened, in its original packaging.
  • High-quality pet food packaging has been designed to keep its contents dry, keep damaging amounts of oxygen and humidity out, and to maintain freshness for as long as possible.
  • If you want an added level of protection once the bag is opened, look for airtight plastic containers. But remember, keep the food in the original bag.

Storage Requirements

Store pet food in a cool, dark, and dry area. Protect from sunlight and extreme temperature swings. Doing this will allow the food to stay fresh at least through its best-by date and probably after.


Start rotating

Once you have more than one bag of your pet’s favorite food, start rotating through each one, using the oldest first. Pay attention to the due dates and rotate through them accordingly.

Mark the date as you open each bag

As your pet uses the food, remember, the “use by” (or “best used by”, etc.) dates apply ONLY to sealed bags. They don’t apply once the bag is opened. Once opened, dry pet food oxidation starts to occur at a rapid pace and most commercial pet food will last only six months max. When you first open a bag of food, write the date on the bag with a marker and count 6 months. That is the new expiration date, regardless of the date on the bag. Then, after each feeding, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and reseal it tightly with a clip.

Use by date

It’s okay to have pet food bags in storage that extend beyond the “use-by” date (within limits) if the bags have never been opened. Rotating through your bags will help you from storing bags that go well beyond the expiration date. But safety first! Always keep an eye on the food’s appearance and smell. When in doubt, throw it out.

Source: Wikipedia Commons

If you choose to freeze instead

You may choose to buy a larger-size bag, more than your pet can eat in six weeks and freezing the remainder. See tips for freezing, next. If you do this, remember to include the freeze date the food is placed in the freezer.

Freezing Contents of a Larger Bag

What if you want to take advantage of bulk pricing? Fair point. If this is you, go ahead and buy the bigger, better valued bags. But there is a trade-off when going this route if food storage is truly the goal. You must prepare it correctly if you want it to last in the freezer. This means you will need to use a vacuum sealer, which is a great thing to have anyway.

Tips for freezing dry pet food:

  • Take out what your pet can eat in 6 weeks and freeze the rest. You must be careful to do this right because the freezer can add moisture to the food if you do it wrong.
  • Divide the food into weekly feedings and place the food into a vacuum sealer bag.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to get the air out and seal properly.
  • Write three dates on the bag: purchase date, seal/freeze date, and original best by date.
  • Take out one bag per week for use.

Keep the barcode

Keeping the pet food bag also has the added benefit of retaining the food’s barcode and batch number – all of which are important information to have in the event of a recall. Either cut the barcode and batch number from the bag and file it away, or at least take a photo of this information for easy reference.

Canned Pet Food

Canned food is a bit simpler to deal with but there are some good tips to follow if you want to preserve it for as long as possible.

Tips When Buying

Always take from the back

If you buy canned food, you know it costs more than the dry food and has made peace with that. For the sake of having an emergency supply or food for your pet, it is extremely easy to store. When buying, always take from the back as that is where the newest stock is placed. If you can’t reach, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s worth giving your pet food more time in storage.

Look for dents

If you are use to buying canned food for your pet, you undoubtedly have notice how common it is to see dented cans. A dented can is harmless if the seal has not been broken, however, you may not be able to tell if it has. Even a tiny break in the seal is enough to breed bacteria and that can is toast. If you see a dented can, play it safe and reach for the next.


Storage and Rotation

Best by dates

The “best-by” date of canned food is two years. Just like the date on the dry food bag, the date on canned pet food means the manufacturer will only guarantee the nutritional quality listed up to that point in time. Canned pet food can last anywhere from 2-5 years according to most manufacturers.

When you place your purchased cans into storage, make sure you can read the best by date. Most times you can, other times you can’t. For this reason, it’s helpful to write the date of purchase on each can or at the very least, the big box you purchased the cans on. If you can read the best by date, you can add that as well so you can read it at-a-glance.


After marking your cans/box, place the newly purchased items at the back. Always take the front cans first when feeding your pet. This will ensure that your pet’s food will not go bad in storage.

Storage requirements

Store canned pet food as you would any other can of food - in a cool, dark, and dry area. Protect from sunlight and extreme temperature swings. Meeting these storage conditions will go a long way to ensure you have a stable, long-term food supply for your pet.