Dog Food, Safety and Ingredients

Can Dry Dog Food Go Bad In Heat? Ideal Conditions To Store Dog Food

Can Dry Dog Food Go Bad In Heat?

Dry dog food can go bad in heat. When stored at temperatures above 100°F (37.8°C), the fats can become rancid and essential nutrients degrade. Additionally, high heat can promote mold growth and attract pests, compromising the food’s safety.

Dry Dog Food Go Bad In Heat

Ideal Conditions to Store Dog Food


It’s crucial to store dog food between 50°F (10°C) and 70°F (21°C). Extreme temperatures, especially heat, can cause the fats in the food to become rancid and reduce the food’s nutritional value.


A relative humidity level below 60% is preferred. High humidity can encourage mold growth and spoilage, making the food unsafe for your pet.


Excessive light, especially direct sunlight, can degrade certain nutrients in dog food. Store it in a dark location or an opaque container to maintain its nutritional integrity.


Airtight containers offer protection from external moisture, pests, and contaminants. Keeping the food in its original bag inside the container also helps retain important information about the product.


Elevating food bags or containers slightly off the ground prevents potential moisture buildup underneath, reducing the risk of mold and spoilage.

Shelf Life

Freshness is key for nutritional value. After opening a bag of dog food, aim to use it within six weeks. Always observe the expiration date and practice a “first in, first out” approach to ensure older stock is used promptly.

Ideal Conditions to Store Dog Food

What Causes Dog Food to Spoil?

Air Exposure

When dog food is exposed to air, it becomes vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Bacteria thrive in environments with access to nutrients, like those in dog food. Over time, bacterial growth can lead to spoilage, making the food unsafe for consumption. The presence of bacteria not only decreases the nutritional value but can also pose health risks, causing gastrointestinal issues or other infections when ingested by pets.

Excessive Moisture

Moist conditions are ideal for mold growth. When dog food is exposed to excessive moisture, mold can quickly develop on the food’s surface or even within it. Moldy dog food can lead to a loss of nutrients and introduce harmful mycotoxins, toxic compounds produced by certain molds. Consumption of moldy food can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and long-term health issues in dogs.

High Temperature

High temperatures, especially when sustained, can cause the fats in dog food to oxidize and turn rancid. Rancid fats produce an off-putting odor and taste and result in the degradation of essential fatty acids, reducing the food’s nutritional value. Furthermore, rancid fats can lead to digestive upsets and, over time, contribute to inflammatory conditions and other health issues in dogs.

What Causes Dog Food to Spoil

Signs that Show Dog Food is Spoiled

  • Unpleasant Odor: A rancid or off-putting smell indicates that the fats in the food have oxidized.
  • Change in Color: Any discoloration, especially a faded or darker hue, can suggest nutrient degradation or contamination.
  • Moldy Appearance: Visible mold or a fuzzy texture on the food’s surface is a clear sign of spoilage due to moisture.
  • Clumping: If the kibble sticks together, it might indicate moisture infiltration, leading to potential mold growth.
  • Insects or Pests: The presence of bugs, larvae, or other pests suggests contamination and poor storage conditions.
  • Change in Texture: If the food feels overly greasy, too hard, or crumbly, it might have been compromised.
  • Dog’s Reluctance to Eat: If your dog suddenly refuses to eat their usual food, it could be because they detect that something is off.

Related Guide: Are Dry Pet Foods Bad For Dogs? Pros & Cons Of Dry Dog Food

Signs that Show Dog Food is Spoiled

Drawbacks of Feeding Your Dogs with Spoiled Dog Food

Digestion Problems

Spoiled dog food can be harder for dogs to digest due to the degradation of nutrients and the presence of harmful compounds. Consuming such food can disrupt their normal digestive processes, leading to discomfort and irregular bowel movements.

Food Poisoning

Spoiled food often contains harmful bacteria, molds, or toxins. When ingested, these pathogens can cause food poisoning, which manifests in symptoms like vomiting, fever, and lethargy, reflecting the body’s attempt to expel the harmful substances.


The presence of contaminants or pathogens in spoiled food can irritate the dog’s gastrointestinal tract, leading to diarrhea. This rapid expulsion of waste is the body’s way of eliminating the offending agents quickly.

Abdominal Pain

Consuming tainted or spoiled food can cause inflammation or irritation in the dog’s stomach and intestines. This results in abdominal pain, which might be evident if the dog shows signs of discomfort, whining, or reluctance to move.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does dog food expire?

Yes, dog food does expire. Like human food, it has a shelf life based on its ingredients and preservatives. Over time, the nutritional value can degrade, and the risk of contamination increases. Always check the expiration date on the packaging.

Is it bad to leave dog food in the sun?

Yes, leaving dog food in the sun is detrimental. Direct sunlight can raise the temperature of the food, leading to the oxidation of fats and the degradation of essential nutrients. Additionally, UV rays can further break down certain vitamins and minerals in the food.

Can dry dog food go bad in a car?

Dry dog food can go bad in a car, especially during warm or hot weather. The interior of a car can become significantly hotter than the outside, causing the food to become rancid more quickly and increasing the risk of bacterial growth.

How long does dry dog food stay fresh after being put in the bowl?

Once poured into a bowl, dry dog food is typically best consumed within 24 hours. After this time, exposure to air, humidity, and potential contaminants can reduce its freshness and nutritional value.

Can dog vitamins and supplements go bad in high temperature?

Yes, dog vitamins and supplements can degrade in high temperatures. Excessive heat can alter the chemical structure of certain vitamins and minerals, reducing their efficacy. Always store supplements as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure their potency and safety.

Is wet food healthy compared to dry dog food?

Wet dog food can be healthier than dry food for some dogs, as it usually contains more meat protein and fewer carbohydrates. Additionally, its higher moisture content can be beneficial for hydration, especially for dogs that don’t drink enough water.

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