How long can you feed dry food past the best-by date?

smosmosmo

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I was just getting out the last bit of dry food from the bag (Dr Elsey's chicken Cleanprotein), and realized the best-by date was a month ago. I also have some Greenies Hairball Control treats (tuna flavor) that I just saw had a best-by date of 12/2020. I stocked up on both at the height of lockdown when everything went on sale, and thought both kinds of food would last a couple years since they're dry. What a bummer - the Dr Elsey's in particular is really pricey and we have the big 6.6 lb bag.

What would you do in this case? Should I throw everything out? I don't know if best-by means "not as fresh" or "this will make your cat sick if you keep feeding it past the best-by date."
 

Babypinkweeb

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I don't have any scientific knowledge, but personally if it's just barely passed the date and you have had it stored in the best ways possible (stainless steel or glass air tight containers with no sunlight nor moisture exposure), I'd feel ok to let them finish the bag. If there's still a lot left then I would at least transfer them to a better container. If it was stored in the bag it comes in (I believe Dr Elsey is just plastic) I might feel worried about the condition of the fats becoming rancid. I think I saw a video from Dr Karen Becker where she talks about dangers of kibble containment and things going bad in certain materials, especially plastic.

Some cats are picky and notice it while others will eat it up no matter what. I don't think it will technically make them sick unless it was compromised, but just use your best judgement.
 

Juniper_Junebug

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I can't offer a scientific answer to this but I would probably feed my cat food that was slightly beyond "best buy" date, based on my understanding that these dates are somewhat arbitrary or variable (enough that the company probably could have put a slightly longer date on). Granted, I also don't follow "best by" dates myself; I eat eggs and yogurt a month or more beyond that date, and for canned food (if not dented) as much as a year.

I do put dry food in the fridge to (hopefully?) extend its life.
 
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smosmosmo

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Apparently it should be fine for a few months past the best-by date, and she'll probably finish what was left in that bag in the next month or so. I also have some extra food in an air-tight glass jar from that bag that I've been keeping in a dark cupboard, which I think will be okay for her to eat. I'm mainly concerned about another full 6.6 lb bag (in its original plastic bag) that's been stored in the closet since we bought it last year - it takes her a few months to get through a full bag, and we'd be about six months past the best-by date before she could finish that one.
 

LTS3

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Dry food can be stored in the fridge or freezer for use longer use, at least a few months past the suggested "best by" or "use by" date.
 

She's a witch

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If the bag is closed, then I would still open and feed it despite the date, I’d just keep it in the fridge or freezer after opening. I personally don’t feed my guys any dry (treats in my case, as I don’t feed regular dry food) that’s been opened for more than a month, but with the closed bag I wouldn’t worry about the best by date. I’m pretty sure dry food is preserved very well, the incorrect storage is riskier imo.
 

Bri5

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Anything oil has the potential to go rancid. However, since it is still sealed, I would offer it and see how it goes. We have many cats and keep their bagged food in sealed 5 gallon buckets.
 
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