What Does Best By Date Mean Regarding Dry Dog Food?
Most manufacturers will tell you the shelf life of their Premium dry foods is 18 months. This doesn't mean the food cannot be fed after the BBD date on the bag. Rather the manufacturer is stating the food does not provide the nutrition as stated in the 'Guaranteed Analysis' after the BBD. But most manufacturers will say the food is still "good" for your dog to eat but they won't actually recommend it.
Naturally preserved dry dog foods means that they can start losing their nutritional value soon after they are manufactured. Of course natural preservatives are better than artificial preservatives in your dog's food and this is the only downside to them. Therefore always check the BBD on the bag. Take 18 months as the average shelf life then work backwards from the BBD to calculate the manufacturing date. Ideally you want to try and feed this food whilst it is only 6 months old or less from the manufacturing date.
How you store your dog food once the bag has been opened can make a big difference to how long it will keep and maintain its nutritional value. You can keep the dog food in its original packaging and carefully reseal the bag each time you take some out to feed your dog. But keep in mind we need to keep out air, light, hot temperatures and humidity. You can use plastic or metal bins but try and still keep the food in it's original packaging rather than tipping the food directly into the container.
Make sure the dog food is consumed within six weeks of opening the bag. If you leave food out in a dish ensure it is consumed within 24 hours of being left out. Wash dogs dishes daily or as frequently as you can.