While keeping dry pet food fresh is mostly an issue of storing it properly in an appropriate sealed container, canned pet food is a different matter. Unopened canned pet food is good to use until the “use by” or “best by” date marked on the can. However, once the can of dog or cat food has been opened, how long will the food remain good to use?
First, when you open a can of pet food, ideally you should serve a portion that your dog or cat will finish in one sitting. If your pet does not finish the entire portion of canned food, it is best to pick up any uneaten food within 30 minutes, and even more quickly on warmer days. The uneaten food in your pet’s dish should be discarded.
If you have a partial can of open dog or cat food, it should be closely covered and immediately placed in the refrigerator. When you serve your pet food from the opened can, most pets prefer the refrigerated food to be gently warmed to room temperature; this releases the aroma of the food, and many pets (cats especially) do not like cold food. Any uneaten pet food in the open can should be discarded within 2-3 days after opening. If you tend to store a lot of opened cans of pet food in the refrigerator, you can use a marker to mark the can with the date the can was opened; this will help you track when the opened can should be disposed of.