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How long can canned dog food be left out?

That's one hungry puppy, but what if he leaves leftovers?
Carol Adams:

Wet dog food can be appetizing to dogs, but it can also be dangerous. Unlike kibble, wet dog food can not be left out for long periods of time. Due to its wet texture, canned dog food can collect bacteria on the surface, which can make your dog ill. This is why you must take precautions when feeding your dog canned food. In the end, you may find that kibble is a better choice for keeping your dog healthy.

Time limit before canned dog food goes bad

Canned dog food is okay for to leave out for up to four hours. After that, you need to discard the food and wash the bowl before refilling it. This means that wet food is not a good choice for free-feeding. Leaving the food out for longer than four hours can allow bacteria to set in and this could make your dog very sick.

How to store leftover canned dog food

Instead of loading your dog's dish with the whole can, only put down what he will eat in one feeding. To ensure the metal of the can doesn't leech into the canned food once it's opened, you can transfer the food to a plastic storage container. Just make sure you wash it regularly to prevent expired food particles from making it into your dog's fresh food.

How long to store canned dog food

You can store opened canned dog food for up to seven days. If you know your dog won't eat the entire can within that amount of time, portion it out according to what she does eat and freeze in freezer bags. Allow the food to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Why kibble may be the better option

If you do want to free-feed your dog, or worry less about the time that the food stays out, kibble may be a better option. While you shouldn't leave dry food out indefinitely, it will last longer than wet food. A good tip is to throw out any kibble that is still in the bowl in the morning and evening, wash the bowl, and fill with fresh food. This helps ensure that your dog is always eating fresh food when you're free-feeding. Remember to never put fresh food on top of old food as this can eventually lead to your dog eating stale or rotten food. Dry dog food does have fat in it that will go rancid and can make your dog very ill. Never leave old food in your dog's bowl.

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