Storing raw dog food in a container or fridge is necessary to avoid any contamination. But, dog owners have a common confusion regarding the storage and using raw dog food. They often wonder- How long can raw dog food stay in fridge? or How long can frozen raw dog food sit out?
If you have similar questions, then you should definitely read the article. Because not only, you will get the answers, but, also some tips on how you can handle raw dog food.
How Long Can Raw Dog Food Stay in Fridge?
The raw dog food remains fresh for roughly 4 days in the fridge. Afterwards, it gets frozen. But, why store raw dog food in the fridge in the first place? Well, there is a common perception that preserving raw dog food in the fridge can actually maintain the original proportion of nutrient elements in the food.
Further, heating up the food can result in the loss of these nutrients. In fact, foods heated to excessive temperature i.e. above 45 ° C will destroy the enzymes and useful bacteria changing the entire composition. So, this explains, why dog owners prefer using the fridge for the storage of raw dog food and making it frozen before serving it to their furry friend.
Benefits of frozen raw dog food
In general, dog owners have mixed sentiments regarding the idea of serving raw dog food. So, it’s obvious that they have some reservations about feeding frozen raw dog food. While there are risks of feeding such raw food, many vets believe feeding this can also have some significant benefits. Here are some of the benefits of feeding frozen raw dog food:
- Dental health improves
Frozen food will help increase the time for chewing. The dog will have to break down the frozen treat and chew more in comparison to a warm food treat. So, more chewing means more exercise, and thus good dental health.
In addition, the dog’s teeth also remain clean and leave a fresh breath. Also, there are no additives or sugar in such frozen food treats which can compromise a dog’s dental health.
- Digestion gets better
The excessive chewing of frozen diet food will also breakdown it into small pieces. This can help digest the content easily and the dog is unlikely to face any digestive issues. So, if your dog is having small stools after eating the frozen diet, their digestion has improved.
- Tackling obesity
Owners whose dog is obese or on verge of getting fat can use frozen food. Because the nutrients present in frozen food will provide the necessary energy and also help control the weight of your furry friend by not giving their bodies salt or extra grains.
- Shiner coat
Processed food tends to reduce the proteins and doesn’t hit the furry area in dogs. On the contrary, frozen food will retain nutrients and keep the coat shiny. In fact, the skin of the dog also gets better as almost half of the frozen food content hits the skin and fur region.
- Immunity gets stronger
Generally, raw frozen raw food is full of fatty acids. These natural elements help in boosting the immunity of the dog stronger. In addition, you’ll also see them being more active and less lethargic.
- Behaviour issues
Serving frozen raw food is also known to help improve a dog’s behaviour, especially if it’s an aggressive one. This behavioural control is possible because of the complete presence of the nutrients in their original state, meaning, the cooked food will form digestive carbs and these elevate the blood sugar and insulin.
So, if you handle frozen raw dog food properly, you can leverage these benefits. Now, if you don’t handle this food with proper care you also risk your dog’s health. For instance, keeping this food out in the open for long periods.
While frozen and raw dog food has benefits, many dog owners still prefer the convenience and nutritional value of a high-quality best dry dog food uk.
How Long Can You Leave Raw Dog Food Out?
It’s best you don’t leave out the frozen raw dog food out in the open. But, if you have to we recommend you not keep it out for more than 15 minutes, at most 20 minutes. But, why such a restriction?
Well, for starters, the majority of the dog’s raw food will have some raw meat in them. So, there is a definite prospect for contamination because of harmful bacteria such as E-coli or salmonella. Also, mishandling raw dog food can harm your family members.
Hence, it’s crucial to handle raw food with utmost care. To do so, you can follow some of the government guidelines for handling raw pet food:
#1 Maintain Hygiene around pet food
- Make sure your hands are washed with soap and hot water after handling and preparing any raw pet food or treats
- Keep the stored and defrosted food and treats away from the place where human food is stored and prepared
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces that came in contact with the raw pet food. This means cleaning the microwaves, storage containers, work surfaces, and utensils such as knives, forks and bowls
#2 Proper storage
- Freeze the raw food until needed
- Use a specific container for the storage
- Keep the raw food separate from the food in the freezer or refrigerator
- Defrost frozen food at a different place and keep them away from other food preparation surfaces and equipment
- If the dog doesn’t eat the food throw it away
While raw dog food needs to be carefully stored and used within a few days, dry dog kibble has a much longer shelf life. Check our guide on, "how long does dry dog food last" for more details.
Tips to serve frozen raw food
Till now we saw different aspects co-relating to frozen raw food, their benefits and how you can handle them in your house. Now, here are a couple of tips you can consider while serving the frozen raw food treat to your furry friend:
- If you are buying frozen raw dog food from the shop, make sure it remains frozen on your way home. Because it may partially thaw and it’s difficult to refreeze the food. You may have to put the entire package into the fridge for thawing.
- Keep the raw dog food in the freezer until you decide to feed it to your dog. Use a stainless steel bowl to feed the food to avoid the chances of infection.
Refreezing the frozen raw dog food
Dog owners are divided on the opinion of whether refreezing frozen raw food is a good idea or not. It comes down to the type of food and the ingredients you use in the mix. The general opinion is to not refreeze the frozen dog raw food.
So, the question remains can you refreeze raw dog food? The answer is yes. Unlike frozen dog raw food, as long as you store the raw food in the freezer, you can easily refreeze it. For refreezing raw dog food, you need to thaw it in the fridge itself.
Afterwards, you’ll have to cook the thawed food and allow it to cool down. Once the temperature is down you can put the food back into the fridge.
In general, raw dog food always poses risks of contamination. Also, at times, it’s difficult to know whether the food is contaminated or not. Dog owners don’t realise that the food has gone bad and end up serving it anyway. In such situations, a dog may end up having major health issues and thus, it’s important you know the status of the food.
So, here are some ways you can determine if the food has gone bad or not:
- When you get the food from the market and the date is beyond the expiry date.
- Once you serve raw dog food, your furry friend will smell it and refuse to eat. This is a common giveaway and suggests that the food has gone bad.
- Sometimes your dog may eat the food and show signs of distress and illness. This is another aspect indicating the food was contaminated.
- There are obvious signs of mould, bugs, or moisture in the food or being completely rotten. This usually happens when you leave out for more than 24 hours.
- If the food is exposed to high temperatures, or kept in humid conditions, there are chances it has gone bad because of the change in the composition.
The majority of the dogs will immediately eat the raw food stored in the fridge. While some owners tend to warm up this frozen meal it’s best you don’t. The reason is simple, the composition of the nutrients will change and it can cause health issues for your canine friend.
Normally, you should avoid keeping it out for more than 20 minutes but, if your dog is a grazer, you can keep the food out for about an hour. Still, if they are not eating the food make sure you put it in the freezer. Offer the food afterwards, if the food still remains dispose of it, especially if it’s been in the bowl for more than 24 hours.
Raw dog food retains high moisture and so, the bacteria will grow on them. This will contaminate the food. The freeze-dry dog food reduces the moisture proportion and prevents the growth of bacteria. The only concerning aspect is that the process is time-consuming and the preservation is also costly.
When the frozen dog raw food is stored in a freezer or a high-quality container, the composition remains the same for about 9-12 months. Afterwards, it can get bad so, it’s best you serve the stored frozen raw dog food before it’s too late. When you decide to feed, make sure you thaw it for at least 24 hours. Also, remember, once you thaw the frozen raw dog food, it is only good for serving for 3 or 4 days.
Final Comment On How Long Can Raw Dog Food Stay In The Fridge?
The stored raw dog food surely has ample benefits and helps dog owners to feed their furry friends for a longer duration, but, that doesn’t mean they should keep the food frozen for a longer time. While serving such food is not harmful, if left in the fridge or outside for more time, not only it loses its nutritional value but also starts rotting.
So, it’s crucial to ensure that the food neither stays in the fridge for too long or outside. Also, follow the safety guidelines that government suggests while handling raw pet food.
If at any point you notice your dog is not eating his raw food anymore, be sure to consider why is my dog not eating his food anymore. It could be a sign that the food has gone bad or there is another issue.