How Long Does Dog Kibble Last Once Opened?

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Kibble is a dry dog food that looks like it should last forever because of how it is manufactured. When you walk into a store to purchase Kibble, you may automatically go straight to your brand, but what do you know about the food? Since preservatives and advances in dry food have improved significantly, you would think Kibble can last a long time, right?

Dog Kibble lasts for about two weeks once opened, depending on storage techniques. There is an expiration on dry Kibble and preservatives can help prolong its lifespan. However, it’s not enough.

In this article, you are going to learn the shelf life of both open and closed Kibble. Plus, you will learn about preservatives, storage techniques, and how long it takes to get through a bag. Finally, you will also learn how to tell if the Kibble has gone rancid.

What Is the Standard Length of Time Kibble Lasts?

The general census is that dry Kibble, once open, will be no good to serve your pet after two weeks. You might be able to prolong the life of the Kibble by storing it properly. However, the best time to use it once you open is within that two-week window. You don’t want to risk your Kibble going rancid.

The day you open your Kibble is the day you start counting. At the end of the fourteenth day, you want to stop giving it. However, there are certain conditions that could lead you to stop giving the Kibble sooner than the two-week cut-off.

Shouldn’t Preservatives Keep the Kibble Good for Longer?

No matter what type of Kibble you choose, there are probably going to be preservatives in it. There are two types of Kibble, either natural or with preservatives. What these preservatives do is delay the oxidation process. Lower and higher quality Kibble will have different preservatives in them.

Lower quality Kibble uses something called ethoxyquin. This is a preservative that was once used as a pesticide, and is now controversially used in Kibble. Higher quality food uses natural preservatives. You will know this as they will be presented as tocopherols and ascorbate. These are known to be bad for your dog.

Preservatives will help prolong the Kibble’s shelf life, but they do not make the Kibble last beyond two weeks. The preservatives are more useful for the Kibble while kept in a closed bag than an opened one. Plus, you do not want to rely on the preservatives; they are no better for dogs than humans.

Proper Kibble Storage

When it comes to storing Kibble, you want to make sure that you store it in a dry, temperature-regulated place like a pantry. Do not store your Kibble in a garage or basement. Both places are prone to moisture, which can severely impact the integrity of the food. Additionally, you cannot regulate the temperature when stored in these locations.

If you buy large bags of Kibble at a time, you need to store the excess to keep it in good condition for as long as possible. If you keep the Kibble in the bag, make sure to seal it properly and let all the air escape as you close it up. It is also best to refrain from purchasing excess Kibble. What your dog can eat in a two-week span is what you should buy.

Other common ways to store Kibble include an airtight storage container. Don’t use any container for storing the food; it needs to be one that will keep air out to avoid oxidation of the food. The best plan is to leave the Kibble in the original container that it came in.

No matter what container you use for storing your pet’s food, you need to make sure that the food container is kept clean. Furthermore, do not top up the food container with smaller packages of Kibble. You want to make sure all the food gets finished before you purchase more. When you top up the food, the lower levels go for much longer than two weeks without being eaten.

Leaving the lower food uneaten can lead to it becoming rancid and infecting all the food’s integrity, whether you notice it or not. Always rinse and dry the storage container before placing new food in it. It is essential you make sure the container is dry or mold will spore.

How to Tell When the Food Has Gone Rancid

The idea that dry dog food will go rancid seems foreign to most people, but that is because it can be difficult to tell when it happens. Dogs have a sense of smell that is much stronger than that of a human, so your dog may notice the food isn’t good before you do. However, don’t trust that because some dogs will eat anything.

You will know that your Kibble has gone rancid when:

  • You see signs of moisture, bugs, and even mold growing on it
  • The food produces a sour and pungent odor
  • The food has been exposed to either moisture or heat
  • The food has gone past its expiration date
  • Your dog refuses to eat or gets sick immediately after eating it

There are three primary ways that food goes rancid. The main ways that your Kibble can go wrong are by being exposed to:

  • Air
  • Moisture
  • Heat

Keeping the Kibble away from moisture or heat will help to keep the food fresh longer. Dry and cold is the best option for storage as it will keep the Kibble for the entire two-week duration.

The Verdict: Kibble Goes Bad After Two Weeks Even With Proper Storage

Once you open Kibble, you have about two weeks until it goes wrong. You want your pet to consume the Kibble as quickly as possible to avoid inadvertently giving rancid food to your pet. With proper storage, the Kibble will last the entire two weeks.

Proper storage includes either keeping it in the original packing with a way to seal it airtight or by using a clean airtight container that will prevent moisture from entering. You want to avoid heat and air as well.

Always check the Kibble for any sign of being rancid when you doubt the integrity of the food. Mold, bugs, or a pungent smell can be indicators that the food has gone wrong. Your pet refusing to eat the Kibble can be another sign as well.

Be careful not to feed rancid food to your dog. Some dogs will eat it anyway because they don’t pay enough attention. In that case, your dog could get very sick, eating decaying food.


Kibble is an excellent choice of pet food, as it has all the proper nutrients that your pet needs. To keep those nutrients, it is essential that you learn to store the Kibble properly and not give it to your pet past the expiration date.

Oxidized Kibble will lose those valuable nutrients rendering it unfit for your pet. You want to keep it in airtight containers, away from moisture or heat to prevent the food from becoming rancid.

Whether rotten or not, do not serve Kibble that is over two weeks old to your pet. Your pet might or might not eat it, but if you want them healthy, giving the freshest possible Kibble will ensure that. Therefore, once opened Kibble reaches two weeks, you need to discard it and buy a new bag. Your pet will thank and love you for that.