How Long Can Dry Dog Food Sit Out? (Keep Your Dog Safe)

One question we get frequently from dog owners is how long can dry dog food sit out?

The general rule is that dry dog food can sit out for two hours, but this may vary depending on the temperature and humidity levels in your area.

After two hours, even dry dog food may start to spoil or grow bacteria, which can make your pet sick. Many people think that dry kibble can stay fresh indefinitely, but this is not true.

It’s best to store your dry dog food in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard, and to refrigerate it after opening.

If you have any questions about how long you can leave your dry dog food out, consult your veterinarian.

Dry dog food can last anywhere from a few months to over a year, depending on the quality of the food and how it is stored. If the food is exposed to moisture or pests, it will spoil more quickly.

However, if the food is kept in a dry, cool place, it will last much longer. Most pet owners prefer to keep their dog’s food in an airtight container in the pantry or in a cabinet away from the stove.

We tested airtight dog food storage containers, and these were our favorites. Using one of these will help to preserve the food’s freshness and extend its shelf life.

Risks of Not Following the Two-hour Rule

Dry food must be stored properly to stay fresh
Dry dog food will not stay fresh if left sitting out.

Like other family members, it is essential to take care of your dogs and make sure they are safe. One way to do that is by following the two-hour rule when it comes to their food.

If you don’t follow the two-hour rule for dry dog food, your pet may become sick due to bacteria or spoilage.

Pets that eat spoiled food can develop vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. In extreme cases, eating bad food can lead to organ damage or death.

It’s important to always follow food safety guidelines when feeding your dog, to protect their health.

Dry dog food can sit out for up to two hours without going bad. After that, it can start to spoil and cause your dog to get sick. There are five risks that can occur if you don’t follow the two-hour rule:

  • The food will start to spoil and be dangerous to eat
  • It can attract bugs or rodents, which can spread disease to your pets
  • The food can start to grow mold, which can also make your dog sick
  • Dry dog food can absorb moisture from the air, making it indigestible
  • Warm humid temperatures make food spoil faster

If you’re not going to be home within two hours of your dog eating, make sure to put their food away and out of reach.

Advantages of Consuming Fresh Dry Food

There are many reasons to give your dog fresh dry food.

Dry food is typically less processed than canned or kibble food, meaning that it retains more of the nutrients and vitamins that are essential to your dog’s health.

Dry food is also less likely to contain added fillers or preservatives, making it a healthier option for your pup.

Additionally, dry food generally contains more protein than other types of commercial dog food, which is crucial for maintaining your dog’s muscle mass and energy levels.

Some dogs are especially sensitive to ingredients in dog food and they will get sick regardless of how fresh the food is. These dogs may benefit from hypoallergenic dog food that is easy for them to digest.

Can Dogs Eat Food That Was Left out Overnight?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including how long the food was left out and what kind of food it is.

Dry dog Food

If a dry dog food is left out for more than two hours, it should be thrown away. The food could be contaminated with bacteria that could make your dog sick.

Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food should not be left out for more than four hours. If the wet food has been sitting out for longer than four hours, it should be thrown away to prevent your dog from getting sick.

So, how can you prevent your dog from getting into the garbage or eating food that’s been left out?

The best way is to keep them away from areas where there might be food (such as the kitchen counters) and to make sure that all food is put away after meals.

We recommend using dog-proof trash cans in every room of the house to keep dogs from nosing around in garbage and eating things that will make them sick or even die.

If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not a particular food is safe for your dog, it’s always best to throw it away.

Bacteria on Dog Food

When dry dog food is left out, bacteria can start to grow on it. This is especially true if the food is in a warm environment.

Bacteria can cause illness in dogs, so it’s important to make sure that dry dog food is not left out for more than four hours.

If you are going to be out of the house for more than four hours, it’s best to put the food away in a sealed container. This will help keep the food fresh and safe for your dog to eat.

There are some dry dog foods that are made with preservatives that help to extend the shelf life.

However, these preservatives are not always effective at preventing bacteria growth, and some are not great for your dog’s health.

If you are unsure whether or not your dry dog food has preservatives, it’s best to throw it away after four hours.

Risk of Eating Food Left Out Overnight

If you think your dog may have eaten food that was left out for too long, watch for signs of illness. Vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy can all be signs of food poisoning.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, take them to the vet right away. You can also try to help your dog stop vomiting naturally at home if its symptoms aren’t too severe.

Ways to Tell If the Dry Dog Food Is Bad

Some dogs will eat things that make them sick.
Sometimes dogs eat things that will make them sick.

Dry dog food can last a long time as long as it’s stored properly. However, there are some telltale signs that will indicate if the food is no longer safe to eat.

Here are five ways to tell if dry dog food is bad.

  1. The dry dog food has been sitting out for more than four hours
  2. The food has changed colors or developed a strange odor
  3. It becomes hard or stale
  4. The food has attracted insects or other pests
  5. The dry dog food has been contaminated with chemicals or other substances

Read More: Do Animal Shelters Take Open Bags of Dog Food? Some shelters might – learn more!

Is It Okay to Store Dog Food in a Plastic Container?

Dry dog food can last in a sealed plastic container for months, but once you open that container, the clock starts ticking on how long the food will stay fresh.

If you’re not careful, dry dog food can go bad and make your dog sick.

So how long can dry dog food sit out? It depends on a few factors, including how often you open the container, how well it’s sealed, and how warm or humid your climate is.

If you’re not sure whether the food is still good, use your senses to check it out. Take a look at the food and see if it looks or smells different from when you first opened the container.

If the food smells especially pungent or rotten, the color has changed, or the texture is mealy or clumpy, throw the food away.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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