Making homemade dog food is one of the healthiest ways to feed your pet, but it's certainly not the easiest. To make things easier on yourself, you can make homemade meals in bulk and store them for use in the future. If you're wondering how to store homemade dog food, it's easier than you may think.
I make large batches of dog food about once per month. I store some in the refrigerator for use later that week and freeze the rest for use throughout the month. You need to be sure you're storing your homemade meals properly, or they may spoil before you get a chance to serve them to your pup. You also run the risk of serving spoiled food to your dog, which could make him extremely sick.
I'm often asked how to store homemade dog food, so I've decided to share my favorite methods. I will also mention the products that I use, but there are many other brands that work just as well.
How to Store Homemade Dog Food
There are three methods that I use and recommend for storing homemade dog food:
- vacuum sealing (using a vacuum sealer)
- plastic zip-seal bags (using food storage bags)
- single-serving containers (using deli containers)
The method that you choose will depend on when you plan to use the food. For example, if you'll be using homemade dog food within 1-3 days, it's a waste of time to seal it in vacuum-sealed bags. It's also a waste of money.
If I'll be using the food within 7-10 days, I use single-serving containers. You can use any type of container, as long as it provides an airtight seal. You may also want to look for containers that are safe to store in the freeze and can be used in the microwave.
Plastic zip-seal bags also work well for short-term storage. However, it's more expensive to use disposable baggies. I also tend to make a bigger mess when trying to store food in plastic bags than I do when using reusable containers.
Most homemade dog food recipes are safe to store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, as long as they are in an airtight container. Homemade dog food does not have the artificial preservatives that are included in commercial foods. While this is healthier for your dog, it means the food won't last nearly as long as commercial products.
Whether you choose to refrigerate the food or freeze it, I like to store it in individual serving-sized portions for our dogs. This way I can just take out the packages that I need without having to worry about measuring.
You can serve the meal straight from the refrigerator or warm it slightly in the microwave. Most dogs do prefer a warm meal. I usually nuke the food for about 45 seconds, give it a good stir and serve it to my pups.
As I mentioned, I usually spend one Saturday or Sunday afternoon per month making enough homemade dog food to feed our pack for a month or so. It won't keep in the refrigerator for that long, so I have to freeze most of it.
I use vacuum seal bags, because they provide the best protection against freezer burn. Most homemade dog food recipes can be kept frozen for up to 3 months, as long as they are in an airtight container.
Again, I like to freeze the meals in serving-sized portions to make it easier. Just take out the meals you need 1 day before you actually need them. Leave them in the refrigerator to thaw for the day, and they'll be ready to serve when it's feeding time.
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