Keeping your dog’s food fresh for as long as possible is important for a number of reasons, not least of which maintaining its nutritional value. Preserving nutrients, vitamins, and other vital ingredients aside, your dog might be less likely to eat food that isn’t as fresh as it could be, leading to a lot of wasted kibble.

The main way to ensure dog food stays fresher for longer is proper storage. Almost all dog foods include preservatives of some sort to help them last longer, but any dog food exposed to air won’t stay fresh for long.

Here are some ways to make sure your pup’s food stays fresh to the very last bite.

Bag Clips

If you buy bags of kibble, don’t just fold or roll down the top of the bags once they’re open. They need to be sealed back up as tightly as possible in between feedings. Try to get as much of the air out of the bag as possible before sealing the bag. You can use bag clips or even a clothespin if you have one handy, but we recommend longer clips that will clamp down on as much of the bag width as possible to keep any air from getting in. (If you have a few clothespins, you can spread them out over the bag fold.)

Storage Containers

In addition to clipping your dog’s food bag shut, you can also keep the bag in an airtight container made of plastic, glass, or steel to add another layer of protection (both from air and nosy pups who want to sneak snacks in between mealtime).

You may want to ditch the bag altogether and store kibble directly in a storage container, but keep in mind that many dog companies design their bags specifically to be sturdy and protect the food from air, and removing that layer of protection could lead to the food going stale or bad faster. Plus, the bag will include the food’s barcode, expiration date, and batch code, which you’ll need in the event of a recall.

If you decide to keep your dog food or dog food bag in a secondary container, make sure you give the container a thorough cleaning when you switch out bags. It’s easy for stray bits of kibble to end up in the container, and if left there they can go bad and become a breeding ground for bacteria that can then spread to the bagged food.

Can Covers

If you feed your dog wet food but don’t always give them a whole can, rubber or plastic can lids will help keep the food from drying out between meals. They’re particularly useful if you only give your dog wet food a few times a week. Just be sure to put them on as soon as possible after opening the can, since wet food can start to oxidize fairly quickly, and wash the lids in between uses to prevent bacteria from building up.

You can also cover the can with plastic wrap and tightly tie a rubber band around the top, but if you find yourself doing this often, it’s probably worth it to invest in a couple of can lids.

Opened wet food should be stored in the refrigerator, and for no more than 5-7 days. Before giving your dog leftover wet food, check the color and smell for any abnormalities in case it’s gone bad.

Smart Store Locations

Whether dry or wet, dog food should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place. If your dog’s food is stored someplace humid, it’ll almost certainly fall victim to bacteria and spoil faster.

As long as they don’t get too hot in the summer, kitchen cabinets and closets are a great place for dog food, while under the sink should be avoided as the food could end up getting wet. It’s also a good idea to store the container somewhere your dog can’t reach it, otherwise they might be tempted to chew their way to the food.

Subscription Meal Plans

Another way to make sure your pup’s food is as fresh as possible is to sign them up for a food plan. Puppo’s personalized nutrition plans, which cater to your dog’s individual needs, adhere to your dog’s schedule.

Puppo learns and adapts to your dog’s feeding habits, and makes sure you always have the perfect amount of food on hand. You won’t have to worry about extra bags piling up, or running out at the last minute.

In the event that you do have extra Puppo kibble left over by the time a new bag arrives, the aforementioned bag clips and plastic containers will help keep the food fresh. As long as you let Puppo know how much food is left over and by which point in the delivery schedule, they’ll be able to tweak the schedule for you.