How to Store Wet Dog Food

Updated 09 May 2024
Read time: 5 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer
article author
Reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon
Team Vet

Does your pooch go crazy for their meaty and delicious wet food diet? We’re not surprised - wet food for dogs has a delectable texture, tastes yummy and smells so good to dogs that it can alert them of dinnertime from the other side of the house. That said, the nature of wet food means it can go off easily, and even dry up and spoil if left too long in the dog bowl.

So how can you make sure your dog’s wet food stays tasty, appetising, and retains its nutritional integrity for as long as possible? Read on for our easy tips on how to successfully store wet dog food to keep it fresher for longer. 

How do you store wet dog food?

Wet food comes in all kinds of containers, from sachets and pouches to tubs and cans. Check the side of the packaging to learn specifics on how to store it, but overall, you can’t go wrong by storing it in a cool, dry place, such as a kitchen cupboard or a pantry with a secure door. 

Unopened wet dog food generally has a long shelf life - up to two years, if stored correctly - and makes for a long-lasting, economic option for your dog’s diet as you can stockpile while knowing it won’t lose nutrition, start to smell or go off.


Where to store wet dog food

Try to store your unopened wet dog food in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight - such as in a dedicated food cupboard or pantry or even in a basement or garage.


Does wet dog food need to be refrigerated?

There’s no need for unopened wet food to be refrigerated - it’s actually at its tastiest when first opened and served at room temperature. As mentioned, store unopened wet food in a cool, dry place away from bright lights. When opened, however, it will need to be refrigerated to stay palatable and safe. 


How to store opened wet dog food

When you’ve opened wet dog food, the stakes are a little higher. After serving your dog some wet food from a pouch, you’ll want to put the remaining food in a separate, airtight container, such as a ziplock food bag, and store it in the fridge. If the food is canned, you can also use one of those nifty plastic lids and place the can in the fridge. 

The most important thing is that the container is adequately sealed, as exposure to oxygen will mean it spoils much faster (not to mention an open dog food container will have your fridge smelling like a dog’s dinner each time the door is opened). 

Does opened wet dog food need to be refrigerated?

It’s really important to store wet dog food in the refrigerator once it’s been opened. This is because wet food exposed to the open air is more likely to spoil, attract bacteria and/or dry up, which ruins the texture and flavour of the food for your dog. In the fridge and stored in an adequate, airtight container, the wet food should last up to a week, retain its nutrition and still be palatable for your hungry pup. 

If you’ve heated refrigerated wet dog food to raise it to room temperature, do NOT refrigerate after this; simply throw the leftovers away. 


How long can I keep wet dog food in the fridge?

In general, opened wet food should last for up to seven days when refrigerated - but the longer it’s left, the more it declines in taste and quality. If your pooch eats wet food for most meals, it’s likely to be gobbled up within a couple of days anyway, however if you only use a bit at a time (for a topper to dry food, perhaps), you’ll want to be more aware of how long the food has been sitting there, and throw it away when it’s past its best. 

We recommend only keeping refrigerated wet dog food for up to two days. A helpful tip to keep track is to make a note of when the food was placed in the fridge, perhaps on a sticky label that you can attach to the container or airtight bag.

How long can you keep wet dog food out?

When your dog leaves wet food in the bowl, maybe because they never eat a whole portion or if they’re a grazer, there’s not much time until the food starts to spoil. Wet food left in a bowl will dry up and lose its flavour in only a few hours, in fact - so if your pooch hasn’t eaten it by the end of the day, you should wash up the bowl and throw any leftover wet food in the bin before serving up your pooch’s next meal.

dog on a pink background interested in a tower of dog wet food cartons


Here are a couple of quick answers to commonly asked questions around storing your dog’s wet food…

Can you freeze Pooch & Mutt wet dog food?

We don’t recommend freezing our natural, grain-free wet dog food; it will somewhat change the texture when it thaws and you’ll need to defrost using a pan of hot water. We suggest keeping unopened Pooch & Mutt wet dog food in a cool, dry place and when opened, refrigerate and use up within two days. 

How to tell if wet dog food has gone bad?

If unopened wet dog food is past the use-by date on the packaging, you’ll want to dispose of it. As wet food has a long shelf life, a pouch or can past this date will contain food that is very old indeed. 

For wet food, you’ll know it isn’t fit for your dog’s consumption by a dry, dehydrated appearance; instead of a fresh, meaty aroma it will smell of nothing, or else just unpleasant, and it will likely grey and go off-colour. Of course, if mould has developed, or if your dog has become sick after eating, this is also a sure sign to throw it away.

For a varied choice of delicious, nutritious wet food that always tastes good (when stored correctly!), browse our grain-free wet dog food collection - every recipe is packed with natural ingredients, vitamins and minerals to keep your dog happy, energised and healthy.

Comments (2)

So you don’t recommend storing the Tetrapack just closed in the fridge without taking it all out of the container? This somehow feels counter intuitive of the great design of the carton. To closes quite tight.

Tom - May 16 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi Tom! You can absolutely keep our Tetrapack closed in the fridge, we were referring to wet food in general as we currently don’t have any wet food that comes in a can. Our cartons are designed perfectly to be folded and then put in the fridge :)

Team Pooch - May 16 2023

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