Is your dog finicky about his dry food? The solution may be simpler than you think.

Johnna Devereaux C.P.N.

In a perfect world, feeding our pets would be easy. We’d open a bag, take out the recommended amount of food, and leave it in the bowl for them to gobble up. Our dogs would consume their food within a few minutes and never skip a meal or delay their meal consumption. 

In reality, sometimes our pups eat voraciously and sometimes they turn their nose up at their bowl — only to eat their meal hours later. 

There are many potential causes for this, but assuming your dog is in otherwise good health, this head-scratching behavior may be easier to explain than you might think.

dog food storage

How Do You Store Your Dog’s Dry Food? 

Dissecting your dog’s food-finicky behavior begins with this simple question: How are you storing your dry dog food? 

Do you leave the food in the bag and roll down the top to clamp it shut? Are you emptying the food from the bag into a storage container? Or, do you leave the food in the bag and then put the entire bag into an airtight storage container?

If you said yes to this last question—congratulations—you are effectively storing your pup’s food to preserve it as best you can, and your dog most likely gobbles up his kibble at mealtimes. 

If you said yes to the first two questions, your dog’s finicky eating behavior may be the result of how his food is stored.

What to Know About Dog Food Spoilage

Here’s why: Dog food naturally degrades and begins to spoil through various means when exposed to air, light and moisture. Even though pet food companies apply preservatives (hopefully all-natural!) to aid in slowing down this process and prevent fat from turning rancid, oxidation still occurs through exposure. And this spoilage process is effectively taking place every time you open the bag and let in air, light, or moisture. 

If you are emptying the food into an airtight container, you are most likely storing it in plastic. Even food grade plastic is porous, so no matter how much you scrub the container between emptying the new bag of food there are residual fats from the prior bag that will “turn” the brand new bag of food faster than normal. 

Not sure this is the case? Does your dog devour his meals every time you open a fresh bag of food, and start to get finicky when the bag of food is nearing the end? If so—there’s your answer—storage is the problem!

dog waiting

Food Storage Strategies for a Picky Pooch

As you probably know, dogs have a keen sense of smell, so your pooch can smell that the food is turning long before we humans would notice any issue. 

If you have a picky pooch when it comes to meal times and are feeding a dry dog food, follow these basic guidelines:

  1. Never buy more food than your dog can consume within a 30-day period.
  1. Minimize exposure to air, light and moisture by storing dog food in its bag and then placing the bag into an airtight container. (After all, dog food bags are opaque for a reason!)
  1. Thoroughly clean your dog’s food bowl in-between meals.
  2. Don’t have an airtight container? Trying storing excess food in your freezer to slow the oxidation process.

In the second part of our series on this topic, we’ll address other reasons why your dog may have a poor appetite at mealtimes. But, first examining how you store your dog’s food can be an easy solution for a picky eater. 

Johnna Devereaux is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist and canine wellness expert. She is the Director of Nutrition and Wellness for Bow Wow Labs and sits on their Board of Advisors. 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

The points of view expressed above are those of our clinical nutritionist and supported by science, her education and experience. However, we recognize there may be different points of view or opinions on some aspect or even the premise of this article. Our goal at Bow Wow Labs is to provide the best, clearest, and most helpful information possible to help keep your dog happy, healthy and safe.

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