Just like handling our own food, good hygiene in handling, storing and serving of pet food is essential. Here are some simple tips from the FDA for pet owners to ensure the safe handling of pet food:
Tips for Buying Pet Food
- Buy pet food products (cans, pouches, or bags) that are in good condition. Check the packaging for visible signs of damage, such as dents, tears, and discolourations.
Tips for Preparing Pet Food
- Begin and end with clean hands. Both before and after handling pet food and treats, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water
- Wash pet food bowls and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use
- Wash and dry pet food bowls and scooping utensils after each use. Wash water bowls daily.
- Do not use your pet’s food bowl as a scooping utensil. Use a clean scoop, spoon, or cup instead. Use the scooping utensil only for scooping pet food
- Throw out old or spoiled pet food in a safe way, for example, by placing it in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered trash can.
Tips for Storing Pet Food
Proper storage of pet food and treats maintains the products’ nutritional value and keeps information handy in case there’s a problem. Proper storage also prevents your pet from getting into his own food and eating too much or getting into a pet’s special diet food.
- Store pet food and treats in the original container or bag and keep the top of the bag tightly folded down. Keeping food in its original packaging allows you to have the barcode, lot number, brand and manufacturer, and “best by” date easily available in case of any issues or concerns you have
- If you want to store dry pet food in another storage container, put the entire bag into the container rather than pour the kibble directly into it. Make sure it’s clean, dry, and has a lid that fits snuggly. A lid helps to maintain the food’s freshness and to prevent your pet from getting into it. Be sure to save the packaging that has the barcode, lot number, brand and manufacturer, and “best by” date. You can tape that information to the outside of the container so it’s handy (but remember to change it when you open a new bag of kibble)
- Store dry pet food in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be less than 26 degree. Excess heat or moisture can cause the nutrients to break down
- Promptly refrigerate or throw out unused or leftover canned and pouched pet food. Tightly cover refrigerated pet food. Set your refrigerator to 4 degree or below
- Keep pet food in a secure location to prevent your pet from eating an entire supply at once
- Wash and dry the storage container between finishing up one bag of kibble and filling it with another to get residual fat and crumbs off the container’s surfaces
- Keep pet treats in a secure location to prevent your pet from eating an entire supply of treats at once.