How to Tell if Dog Food is Bad: QUICK Owners’ Guide (2022)

You love your dog. The last thing you want to do is give your dog something harmful. There are a few key things to look for when trying to determine if dog food has gone bad.

  1. Check the expiration date on the package. Dog food that is past its expiration date is more likely to be spoiled and may not be safe for your dog to eat.
  2. Inspect the appearance of the food. If the food looks discolored or has changed in texture, it may be bad.
  3. Smell the food. Spoiled dog food will often have a sour or unpleasant smell.
  4. Taste a small bit of the food. If it tastes spoiled or rancid, it’s not safe to give to your dog.
  5. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. If you’re unsure about the shelf-life of a particular brand or type of food, your vet can offer guidance.
  6. Watch for signs of illness. Vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy are all potential signs that your dog has eaten bad food.
How to tell if dog food is bad
Throwing out spoiled dog food can save your dog from food poisoning.

Of course, If you’re unsure whether the food is still good, err on the side of caution and throw it away. It’s not worth taking the chance of making your dog sick.

If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Eating spoiled food can make your dog very sick and may even require hospitalization.

It’s also important to make sure that your dog is getting enough nutrients from its food. If your dog’s food is nutrient-poor not, your dog’s health could be at risk.

How Long Can You Keep Dog Food?

So how long can you keep dog food before it goes bad? It depends on what kind of dog food. Read on to learn more.

Dry dog food

Dry dog food can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the quality of the food and how it’s stored.

To extend the shelf life of dry dog food, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. You can also keep dry dog food in the fridge or freezer to help prolong its lifespan.

Bad dry dog food looks discolored, dull, and dry. It may also have a sour smell. If you see any mold on the food, throw it away immediately. If the food is hard or crumbly, it has likely gone bad.

wet dog food

Typically, unopened wet, or canned, dog food has a shelf life of about two years from its manufacture date. Always check the can and refer to the best-buy date when trying to decide.

Once opened, you should aim to finish the can within 24 hours. If the food starts to look or smell bad, it is probably time to throw it away.

If you’re not sure whether the food is still good, err on the side of caution and throw it away. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health!

Negative effects of consuming bad food on dogs

  1. Bad food can make dogs very sick, leading to diarrhea and vomiting.
  2. Spoiled food causes malnutrition, which can lead to some health problems.
  3. Dogs that consume bad food are also at a higher risk of developing cancer.
  4. Poor quality food can also damage a dog’s liver or kidneys, potentially leading to organ failure.
  5. Dogs that eat bad food are more likely to suffer from skin problems and allergies.
  6. Bad food can also cause weight gain in dogs, which can lead to many health complications.
  7. Worst of all, consuming bad food can shorten a dog’s life.
How to tell if dog food is bad - image from pixabay by KrystianGraba
Good food will nourish your dog, give it a strong and healthy coat, and add to its quality of life.

Dogs can get sick from eating stale dog food, as the food can become contaminated with bacteria. Signs that your dog might be ill after eating stale food include vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

In general, it’s best to discard any unused dog food after it has been stored for more than a few days. This is because the food can start to spoil, which can make your pup sick.

Be sure to check the expiration date on the dog food packaging before purchasing it, and store the food in a cool, dry place, so it will stay fresh.

What are the signs that your dog has consumed bad food?

If you are at all suspicious that your dog’s food might have gone bad, there are a few things you can look for. One of the most common signs is vomiting.

Another sign to watch out for is diarrhea. If your dog has diarrhea, it might be because he or she ingested something that didn’t agree with their system.

Additionally, if your dog seems lethargic or generally unwell, it could be a sign that something is wrong with the food they’ve been eating.

If you’re not sure whether the food has gone bad, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s best to discard any food that might have expired or been exposed to moisture, heat, or light for too long.

And if your dog has already eaten some bad food, it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible. They might need treatment depending on how sick they are.

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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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