Should you refrigerate dog treats? A Step-by-Step Guide

Do pumpkin dog treats need to be refrigerated?

These pumpkin treats are perishable – there are no preservatives. After a few days on the counter in an airtight container, you should refrigerate them for up to a few weeks.

Ingredient Stability and Individual Shelf Life

If you consider all the different dog treat ingredients that can help make a homemade treat doggone delicious, many are shelf life limited. Some have brief safe consumption lives at room temperature and limited refrigerator lives, even if they’ve been heated or cooked. Think of tasty options like fish, meat, stock, purred fruits, pureed vegetables, dairy, eggs, and other popular homemade dog treat ingredients. Other ingredients lose their stability as soon as their containers are unsealed, and the contents of packets, cans, or jars are exposed to ambient air. Even for ingredients with long stable shelf (or refrigerator) lives, once you mix and bake them into a treat, all bets are off.

Soft fish and meat treats are the most vulnerable in our experience, but all homemade treats benefit from careful food handling and storage. Moist protein-rich foods are great breeding grounds for bacteria. Soft treats of all varieties are prime for growing mould, with plenty of moisture and organic material to act as food. The baking process initially kills most bacteria and mould spores (excluding certain heat-resistant exceptions), but these are easily picked up after baking during handling, surface contact, and/or ambient air.

We don’t use any special preservatives when we make our dog treats, although these can be bought for treat making. Some treat ingredients have natural preservative properties, but these generally aren’t used in sufficient quantities to make a substantial difference to shelf life and/or their natural preservative properties may be altered by the cooking/baking process.

For most homemade dog treats, using quality ingredients, hygienic food handling, moisture control, and storage conditions are the primary lines of defence against spoilage. Let’s dig a little deeper into ways to help increase the edible life of homemade dog treats.

How do you keep dog treats fresh?

How to Store Homemade Treats. Make sure the treats are completely cooled before storing, otherwise they’ll steam up the container, making them soggy and stick together. Meatless, dry dog biscuits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for at least two to three weeks.

How to Store Dog Food Properly!

This FAQ post is all about shelf life and storage options for homemade baked biscuit and cookie dog treats. We’re wrapping up the dog treat mini-series (and the treats) with a look at homemade dog treat shelf life, food safety, and storage. We’ve covered general storage for other types of treats their respective FAQ posts, but baked homemade dog treat shelf life and storage concerns are very common for home bakers, so we’re a doing more comprehensive overview. Let’s dig into the factors affecting shelf life and dog treat storage options.