Is it Safe to Feed my Dog Old/Expired Food?
Have you wondered if it is safe to feed your dog old food? Typically, humans won’t even eat leftovers. Some people eat food a week old! Others won’t touch anything that has been refrigerated after being cooked. Are you a fan of left overs? Your dog probably is! Dogs can stomach different bacteria than humans. For the sake of this conversation, when we say “old food” we are referring to food that humans would question eating. Food that has been in the refrigerator for a week. Food that has been left out for the majority of the day not refrigerated. Or food that is uncooked, but past its “best by” date. So, can dogs eat old food?
Typically, food that has been cooked but left in the fridge for the past week is safe to feed your dog. These are classic “leftovers” but they are a just few days past what many humans find “acceptable”. If there isn’t any visible mold growing on the food, chances are you are safe to feed it to your dog. Mold will grow where food is exposed to air. Mold will likely be visible on top of the food.
Food that Sat out All Day
Food that sat out all day is more of a concern. Everyone feeds their dog in the morning. But sometimes, your dog may not eat. When you return in the afternoon you find the food still in the bowl. We aren’t talking about dry food. Dry food is safe to leave out. We are talking about “people” food. Cooked chicken, beef, veggies, eggs; food that we would eat. You have to be observant. Does the food smell bad? Does the food have any sort of mold growth or off-putting sliminess? Was it hot today? Heat contributes to bacteria growth. Is there a reason why your dog didn’t eat the food? If you can answer these questions with a definite answer, you will know whether or not to keep or dump the food.
Food Past it’s Best By Date – Can Dogs Eat Expired Meat?
Food that is past its “best by” date is not be ideal for you to eat, but maybe dogs can eat old food past it’s best by date. Again, dogs can stomach many more things than humans. Can you imagine eating your own poop? But, your senses can help you decide whether or not you should feed it to your dog. Smell and inspect the food for any signs of mold or bacteria. If you note a funny smell or appearance, toss it in the trash! Use your best judgment. You don’t want to sicken your dog with expired meat/food to save on a little food.
If your dog consumes raw meat or dog food, it should always be consumed immediately or refrigerated. Never let raw food sit out. Raw food is uncooked which means more bacteria will be present. Bacteria can multiply quickly in the right environment and dangerous bacteria can become airborne. This can lead to illness in dogs and humans.
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June 22nd, 2016
Last Updated September 4th, 2020
Kim is the co-owner of DogLoverStore with her husband, John. She earned her BS in operations management at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She enjoys walking in nature, gardening in the sun, eating sour candy, going on drives, yoga, and reading.