Do Dog Treats Expire? 7 Tips to Make them Last

All food, including dog treats, expire. Their best-by date is indicated on the packaging, so dog parents like you would know whether the treats are still consumable or if they should be tossed to the bin already. 

As dog parents, it’s totally understandable if you want to make your pooches healthy. While treats have loads of health benefits to offer, they may no longer be that incredible in taste as well as superb in nutrients if the biscuit has turned stale already. But the question is, how long do these dog treats last?

We’ll break everything down and discuss it in depth through this guide.

How Do You Know If the Dog Treats Are Expired?

You’ll instantly know if the dog treats are expired by checking on the date label on the packaging. That’s the first thing dog lovers do when they’ve been giving the same treats to their dogs for quite a long time. 

Of course, there are also other tell-tale signs that would suggest it’s time to buy a new treat for your little puppy. Here are the indicators:

  • The treats become moldy.
  • The smell changed to a rancid or sour odor.
  • The food has been exposed to heat and moisture. 
  • Your pooch shows signs of discomfort after eating it.

7 Dog Treats and Their Shelf-Life

Pet snacks come in a variety and with that, some would last longer than others. Know what common dog treats are bought by pet parents and see how long they typically last.

1. Dehydrated Dog Treats

The fact that these treats are dehydrated makes them last longer than fresh snacks. Usually, the product comes with a silica gel to keep moisture from affecting the food inside. Don’t throw it away until all the food in the packet is gone.

Also, be careful that you don’t end up giving the silica pack to your dog. 

Meanwhile, high-quality dehydrated dog treats last for up to 2 years when they’re stored properly.

They’re a great choice for families whose dogs have food allergies as dehydrated dog snacks are normally:

  • Dried chicken.
  • Dried fish skin.
  • Dried beef jerky.
  • And dried sweet potatoes.

2. Homemade Dog Treats

Homemade dog treats are practical for dog parents who have time to bake their four-legged companions some dog biscuits. This variety is also deemed healthier in comparison to other snacks which are filled with preservatives. 

However, it is the preservatives that lengthen the shelf-life of dog treats. That suggests that homemade treats will expire sooner or later. In the case of those yummy snacks that have natural preservatives like mold inhibitors and vitamin C, baked treats can last up to 6 months provided that they’re stored correctly.

According to PetMD, just bear in mind these two things before you start prepping your dog’s homemade snacks:

  • Dog treats made out of meat should be cooked at about 165 degrees.
  • Dog treats with eggs should be cooked properly to kill harmful pathogens. 

3. Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are known to be very hardy dog treats that can last from 1.5 to 2 years. They’re 100% natural and they’re made from bull penises.

This treat may not be the most ideal to give as a reward for your dog’s training as it takes a while to be fully eaten, but this helps a lot in case they exhibit separation anxiety or destructive behaviors. 

When it comes to storage, bully sticks can be kept using a Ziploc bag. 

4. Dental Chews

Dogs can be prone to periodontal problems such as:

  • Plaque.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Tartar build-up.
  • And a broken tooth.

Hence, giving your pooch dental treats can help a lot in preserving their oral health. Since each brand differs a lot in quality, ingredients, and amount of preservatives, the expiration can best be determined through their packaging.

5. Milk-Bones

The classic milk-bones stay fresh for up to 1.5 years. They’re ideal for dogs who aren’t allergic to any ingredient they contain. Also, milk-bones have to be given in moderation as some contain BHA, a preservative that can cause tumors in dogs. FDA says that the amount is added in low doses, yet still, it’s not good to give your dog several milk-bones in a day.

What do milk-bones offer then? Well, if given in the right amount, your dog will experience the following:

  • An improved bone density.
  • Lower risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • And a lower chance of experiencing fractures.

6. CBD Treats

The best way to know when the CBD treat lasts is to check its box and look for the expiration date. Generally, if the treat is unopened, then it may last from 9 to 24 months. But, the moment the seal is broken, this delicious dog snack will lose its freshness very quickly. Add in CBD tinctures to potentially lengthen the shelf-life of the product.

7. Real Beef Strips

Real beef strips are wholesome and irresistible single-ingredient treats that will get your dog drooling. Though your furry companion would love it every time they’re offered a few strips, beef treats seem to last for a short while only. Expect these snacks to be consumable only for 2 days.

You may also want to read: Dog Treats That Are Bad For Dogs and 8 Natural Healthy Treats You Can Give Them

Can Expired Dog Treats Upset Your Dog’s Stomach?

It all depends on how sensitive your canine’s stomach is. If you’re aware that your puppy has food allergies or sensitive tummies, it’s best not to serve them expired dog treats or they’ll experience several side effects such as diarrhea. 

However, for some, expired dog treats are less likely to cause any major harm to your little friend. A slightly upset stomach is not much of a concern, but it won’t be a great experience either for your wonderful companion.

Do note that food poisoning is very common not only in humans but as well as in dogs according to the AKC. Watch out for these signs in case you’ve given your little canine an expired dog treat:

  • Nausea.
  • Panting. 
  • Vomiting.
  • Dizziness.
  • Salivation. 
  • Dehydration.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Uncontrolled urinating.

These signs of discomfort and pain should prompt you to talk to your vet immediately. 

Of course, we all want to give the best life for our pooches and if you can, just stay on the safe side and hold yourself back from serving expired dog treats. 

7 Tips on How to Properly Store Dog Treats

1. Keep dog treats sealed or kept in their original containers. 

2. Store your dog’s commercial treats in dark places.

3. Place a dehumidifier in the cabinet with the dog treats to maintain freshness.

4. All opened dog snacks should be kept in airtight containers and placed in the freezer. 

5. Homemade treats should be kept frozen as well.

6. Meat treats like chicken, turkey, and beef should be frozen and kept for 2 to 4 days only.

7. Never handle dog treats by just using your hands. Doing so can introduce a plethora of bacteria and this triggers the treats to spoil more quickly. 

Reading tip: How Long Dog Food Last? How To Store Dry Dog Food Long Term