Storing Your Pet Food Is Easier Than You Think

As a reader of this blog, you probably have a supply of emergency food stockpiled, as well as clean drinking water and other essential items.

But I have two questions for you. Do you own pets? If so, have you thought about their post-crisis needs?

Regardless of whether a disaster causes my family and me to hunker down or bug out, our pets are going to stay with us and receive as much care as we are capable of providing them.

They are part of the family and will be treated that way. I hope you feel the same way about your furry creatures.

Now, you might keep much of your family’s emergency food supply in space-age Mylar bags, which is a great idea because you may want that food to last a very long time. But most of your animals are probably not going to live another 25 years, crisis or no.

The Bags Are Loaded

I’ve got good news for you. The bags in which your pets’ dry food are sold are perfectly capable of keeping that food fresh for a couple of years. The only thing I would caution you about here is making sure there are no rips or tears in the bags before you purchase them.

But just because you don’t need to remove your pets’ food from those bags and place it in Mylar bags doesn’t mean you can just toss the bags into the crawlspace and forget about them.

Give a mouse or another rodent access to a bag made of paper and he won’t need long to scratch his way in. Unless your goal is to keep mice happy and healthy following a crisis, this is not the way to go.

Use Airtight Containers

You need to pack your pets’ dry food bags in airtight plastic containers and then place those containers in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. And once you open a bag, the oxidation process will start, so make sure to use all of its contents within six months at the most.

Also, you need to rotate this pet food periodically. If the expiration dates on the bags are difficult to read, write the date that you placed it in storage on the bag with a black Sharpie. Then use the oldest food each time, assuming it has not expired.

One note to consider here. If you feed your pets “natural” dry food, you may be giving them something that is healthier for them than “regular” pet food. But due to its lack of preservatives, natural pet food will not last as long.

Consider Cans

Many people prefer dry pet food to canned food, but canned food does have the advantage of lasting longer… sometimes up to five years. The storage principle is the same here. Keep it in a cool, dry place. Although cans are much more difficult to infiltrate than bags, I still like to keep them in an airtight container.

Freeze-Dried Option

Another option is freeze-dried pet food. Assuming nearly all of the moisture has been removed, it should stay good for a number of years. But the plastic packages it normally comes in are not meant for long-term storage, so transfer the food to Mylar bags and then store them in airtight containers. Toss an oxygen absorber into the container while you’re at it.

Homemade Needs Homework

For you DIYers who make your own pet food, you’re probably doing your pets a favor by feeding them a diet that does not contain additives and preservatives. But you really need to do your homework before canning that food in order to figure out how long it will stay good.

While we’re on the topic of survival food, click here to find out what Food4Patriots offers for your pets’ humans. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the variety, long shelf life and reasonable prices.

To your survival,

Frank Bates


P.S. Sometimes when I read something, even if I think it’s a good idea, I’ll put it off and tell myself I’ll get back to it. But then I forget about it. The time to start your pets’ emergency food stockpiling is now.

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