food

Why the 'Best By' Date Label on Pet Foods Is So Important

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 by: Susan Thixton
Tags: pet food, health news, Natural News

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) A recent article posted on The Consumerist website brings up a very good point (and lesson) that pet owners should take note of. The article comes from a pet owner whose Yorkie became ill, and after a couple of days in the vet's office, the owner looked at her Eukanuba canned food and realized it had expired 3 years ago. When she checked the cupboard she discovered several other cans of dog food - all recently purchased at PetCo - had expiration dates from 2004.

What happened to this pet owner (and pet) can easily happen to anyone. How many times have you purchased something and never looked at the expiration date?

With pet food (somewhere on the can or bag, usually on the side or back of the bag) is the 'Best By' date. With most of the manufacturers that I have spoken with, this date does Not mean the food is officially expired - it just means that the food does not provide the nutrition as stated in the Guaranteed Analysis. The 'best' nutrition for your pet has expired (but again in most cases, per what the manufacturers tell me, the food is still 'good').

Shelf life is one of the questions I ask manufacturers about and provide in Petsumer Report. It varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. The shelf life of dry pet foods can vary from 4 months to 3 years - canned and/or pouched products vary from 1 year to 5 years. Treats usually have the same shelf life as the manufacturer's dry food - but just to keep things confusing, that can vary too. The 'Best By' date provided on the food does Not tell you how old the product is, it does Not tell you when the food was manufactured. It only tells you the date that particular manufacturer has determined the food no longer provides the pet with the proper nutrition. While some ingredients in the food might still provide adequate nutrition, other ingredients have faded over time.

All pet foods that are naturally preserved begin to lose their nutritional value almost immediately after they are made. This is the drawback to natural preservatives (but the Only drawback is you Only want naturally preserved pet foods and treats for your pet). So the challenge is to find a pet food that is very fresh. Our friends at AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials), rule makers of the pet food industry, have made that a little difficult for pet owners -- adding to the challenge. Pet food manufacturers are not required to put the date the pet food was manufactured on the bag or can - only the date that particular manufacturer has determined the food no longer is 'best'. As I stated above, it varies a great deal from product to product, manufacturer to manufacturer.

So here's what you can do to assure your pet is eating only fresh food, providing the best that product offers...

Call the manufacturer and ask them what the shelf life is for their dry foods and/or canned foods. Let's say ABC Pet Food Company tells you that the shelf life of their Premium ABC dry foods is 18 months and their Premium ABC canned/pouched foods is 2 years. With that information you then look at the 'Best By' date on the product. As an example, if the best by date on the dry dog food you are considering says June 2008, knowing that ABC told you 18 months for dry food, you would know that the food was made in January of 2007. If today's date was October 20, 2007 (for example), this would tell you this particular bag of ABC dry dog food is 10 months old.

With a canned food, the ABC canned cat food best by date is also June 2008. This would tell you that this can was made in June 2006 and thus it would be 14 months old in October 2007.

Most of the time, when pet owners look at the 'best by' date and they see June 2008, they think 'this is good! This food still has 8 months until it expires'. I was guilty of this until I learned the differences too. But the bigger picture needs to be explained.

Using my above examples, I would Not purchase a dry dog or cat food that was already 10 months old. Ideally, dry foods should be four months or less old and you should use them within a two month time frame. Again, with any naturally preserved dry product, the nutritional value starts to deteriorate almost immediately. Fresh is best. I would recommend purchasing and using the food within six months of manufacturing. Storing the food in an air tight container will help keep the food fresher after opening the bag, providing your pet with more quality nutrition. With canned products it's a different ballgame. You definitely want to purchase and use the food before the best by date expires, but the quality of the nutrition is protected by the canning process. Any unused opened can must be covered and stored in the refrigerator and used within a couple of days.

Call your pet food's manufacturer and ask them the shelf life of dry foods and canned foods. I know it's a chore, just one more thing you have to do and look out for, but it is very important. You want what you pay for -- quality nutrition for your pet -- and a fresh product will provide that (of course you have to pay attention to ingredients too, but that is a whole different subject). Get yourself into the habit of looking at the 'Best By' date before you purchase the pet food and/or treat. Your effort will not only provide your pet with better nutrition -- getting yourself into the habit of looking at the expiration date could just save you from an experience similar to the pet owner mentioned in the beginning of this article... and a sick pet.

About the author

Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.