When you cook at home for your dog, learning how to properly prepare and store their food is key to keeping their meals healthy and fresh.
Why is it important to properly store homemade dog food?
When you make your dog's food at home, their meals are fresh and free of preservatives. This makes them super healthy, but also more susceptible to expiration. Storing them in the fridge or freezer is important to keeping the food fresh. If your dog's food is improperly stored, you run the risk of the food going bad and getting mold. Mold can upset your dog's tummy or cause other more serious issues, like vomiting or diarrhea.
Where should you store your dog's homemade food?
Homemade dog food can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How do you thaw frozen homemade dog food?
It's important to thaw your dog's homemade meal in the fridge the day of or the day before feeding. Make sure you feed the refrigerated dog food to your dog within 3-5 days once thawed.
What is the proper way to thaw and re-heat supplemented dog food?
Generally, a supplement for homemade dog food should be added to each meal to ensure it contains all of the essential nutrients your dog needs. It's important to not reheat supplemented dog food because this can denature the supplement and affect the nutrition. Simply thaw your dog's premade food in the fridge or bring it to room temperature on the counter for about ten minutes before feeding. If your dog strongly prefers warm dog food, wait until after heating to add in the supplement, using the recommended amount from the recipe instructions.
What is the best container to store your dog's homemade food?
It's important to use a proper container when storing your dog's homemade food. Here are the top 3:
This method is easiest for quick, pre-portioned feeding. Follow the recipe's feeding guidelines in order to properly portion your dog's meals and choose a container that best fits each meal. For example, if your dog's daily serving of a recipe is 2 cups and you feed your dog twice daily, you can choose two, 1-cup containers to store each meal and serve easily at meal time. Alternatively, if you feed your dog just once per day, you can store and feed the 2-cup serving all together.
Storing your dog's homemade food in air-tight contains, like Tupperware, is a great way to keep their meals fresh. Look for "BPA-free" or glass containers to avoid any chemicals seeping into their food. Make sure the lid is one that clicks tightly into place to create an air-tight seal.
When storing homemade dog food in bags, you have the flexibility of choosing various bag sizes and bag strengths. If you're storing your dog's food in the freezer, for example, you can choose Ziplock's freezer-safe bags, which are a bit thicker and stronger than other plastic bags. There are also re-useable bags made from silicone that are great for storing your dogs homemade food in the fridge or freezer. These are a more environmentally-friendly option.
What is batch cooking?
Batch cooking is when you make a larger version of the given recipe so you have plenty on hand to feed to your dog over time. For example, if a recipe yields two cups, you might want to double or triple it so you're only prepping your dogs meals in the kitchen once instead of each time they need two cups of food.
Cooking at home for your dog can be an easy and fun experience, especially if you're armed with the knowledge of proper food storage. Home cooking is a nutritious way to feed your dog meals made with fresh ingredients and lots of love. Once you get the hang of storing their meals in the best, most convenient way possible, the process will only get smoother.