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Prepping For Your Animals - Food Storage

On my previous post, a visitor named Rick commented about feeding your animals foods that were in danger of going to waste as a result of failing refrigeration. While in general, I concur with his advice, I will point out that perhaps not all foods will agree with all animals. Some animals have food allergies and you should be aware of your pet's. Also, radically changing an animals diet can lead to other unpleasant side effects such as the trots, or possibly in the case of large breed dogs something fatal such as bloat.

With this in mind, it will be immensely helpful to you to try and keep your animal's routine as close to normal as possible. People often forget that stress is extremely detrimental to your animal friends. Just as an aside, if you have to tranquilize your pet for travel, try and have some extra meds on hand in case you are forced to travel. This could also help you if the stress level in your environment becomes high and your animals are in an agitated state. You may want to talk to your vet and ask him about having some meds on hand even if you don't normally travel with your friend.

Part of maintaining your animal's routine is regular feedings of familiar foods and treats.

Long term storage of dry pet food can be accomplished in much the same manner as storing dry foods such as flour, dry beans, dry corn, etc. for people. One can vacuum pack manageable pre-portioned feedings (using machines such as Seal-A-Meal or Food Saver) in plastic bags or in a glass mason or ball jar using a wide mouth jar adapter.

If you wish, the dry pet food can also be stored in the large 5 gallon pails that are so popular with the prepping crowd. Be sure that it is a food safe pail. There are many pages on the web that discuss dry packing your 5 gallon pails. This is one example, courtesy of Freesteader.com.

It is not recommended that dry pet food be left in factory packaging for long term storage. Some manufacturers use foil bags and a mild vacuum packing method (example Solid Gold) but it is not sufficient for long term storage. These manufacturers have moved away from using artificial preservatives and the methods they are employing are to maximize shelf life and are not geared to long term storage.

You must use some type of oxygen displacement with your dry pet food. The food has a high fat content and can go rancid rapidly depending on the environment. So, either dry pack or vacuum pack your pet's food.

If you normally feed your pet canned food, you can stock the food. Just remember to rotate your stock.

Since we are discussing the potential for serious, and possibly long term, disruptions to our delivery chain I will advocate that you put away dry food even if your animal is not a fan of it. Volume for volume, you can store more dry food in the same space as opposed to canned. When it comes time to get into that dry food, mix it with the canned, gradually increasing the amount of dry food. This will help to minimize any upset to your pet's system.

foodstr2 said...
February 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM  

99% of the people who use oxygen absorbers, misuse them. It's far more complicated than they anticipate.

In storing pet foods, the big danger is insects that are ALREADY in the feed.

A reasonable solution is to treat the feed with Diatomaceous Earth. It will naturally kill the hatching insects AND be healthy for your pet to eat.

See http://www.internet-grocer.net/diatome.htm

Kymber said...
February 10, 2009 at 5:40 AM  

Hey Catman....thanks for all of the posts on pet food storage and the like. This is really helpful information and i love your writing style! Keep up the awesome posts!

Anonymous said...
February 11, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

Very thought provoking - I have been thinking about this recently actually. Would you store kitty litter or just make them go outside in the event of an emergency??? Would it be worth the expense?

Anonymous said...
February 20, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

Great suggestions. When storing dry food in the large five gallon buckets, is it necessary to do the oxygen reduction you mentioned? Thanks for sharing your expertise!

foodstr2 said...
February 20, 2009 at 6:45 PM  

Plastic in buckets "breathes". To store food (using oxygen absorbers) in buckets, you've got to *also* use Mylar bag liners.

Mylar consists of aluminum foil sandwiched between two layers of plastic coating. It is impervious to oxygen.

Mylar bags can be found here:

When you open a package of oxygen absorbers, you have 15 minutes to get them into Mylar-bagged foods (in buckets) and get the Mylar bags sealed. It's really labor-intensive and takes practice to master.

Buckets, bags and foods need to be prepared before you open the oxygen absorbers, so you can insert the absorbers and quickly seal the Mylar bags with a hot iron.

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