Does Mildew Grow on Dog Food?

Do not feed moldy dog food to your pal.
Do not feed moldy dog food to your pal. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

You pour dry kibble into your dog's bowl and see a powdery white or greenish substance on the food. This is not mildew; it's mold, a different kind of fungus. Don't feed your pet food that looks or smells moldy. This doesn't necessarily mean the food is toxic, but it can cause vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal tenderness, and some dogs may suffer an allergic reaction. Taking precautions when purchasing and storing dry dog food can help prevent mold growth.

Purchasing Dog Food

Check the expiration date on the dog food bag, and buy the freshest food possible. The expiration date is based on an unopened bag. Nutritional value begins to be lost and risk of mold growth starts climbing once you open the bag. Don't purchase torn or open bags of dog food. Check the food in the bag for freshness when you open the bag, and return moldy food to the seller, or discard it. Buy in quantities that your dog will use up within a couple of weeks. Use or discard unused dry dog food within four to five weeks after you open the bag.

Storing Dry Dog Food

Store dog food in a cool, dry environment. Don't keep it near the dishwasher, stove or refrigerator, because they generate heat and moisture. Keep the dog food in the bag it came in, which is designed to keep out moisture. Close the bag after each use by tightly folding down the top, squeezing out any air, and clipping it closed. Place the bag in an airtight, stainless steel container. Never add a new bag of dog food to the old.

Care of The Dog Food Container

Clean your dog food container after every bag of food. Thoroughly wash the scoop, container and lid, inside and out, with hot, soapy water. Rinse it with warm water, then rinse with diluted white vinegar to kill any toxins. Rinse once more with warm water, and let the container air dry completely. Let the container sit in the sun for several hours, if possible. Don't put food in the container until you are sure it's thoroughly dry.

The Dog Food Bowl

Feed your dog in a ceramic or stainless steel food bowl. Avoid plastic bowls; they can harbor mold spores and bacteria. Feed only what your dog will eat, discarding any leftover food. Wash and dry your pet's bowl after each feeding. Some molds can't be seen or smelled by pet owners. Don't force your dog to eat food he is refusing. He may be able to detect mold growth, even if you can't see it.

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