How to Thaw & Store Raw Dog Food
Posted on February 21 2022
A question we are asked frequently is: how long does our raw dog food last in the fridge? The answer to this question depends on how you thaw your dogs food.
Below we will answer the above question along with an outline on how to thaw and store your raw dog food.
From your doorstep to your freezer!
As soon as your dog food is delivered, pop it right into the freezer. Because our dog food is tightly packed in the box, the tubes keep each other frozen.
According to the Government of Canada website, temperatures between 4 °C (40 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) are considered a "danger zone" where bacteria can grow quickly. The ideal temperatures are 4 °C (40 °F) or lower for the fridge and your freezer at -18 °C (0 °F) or lower.
Keep the dog food separate from other items in your freezer or fridge. If you are able to keep the food in the original box, do so. If not, use bags if you need to provide separation from other food items.
Raw dog food can be stored for 6 - 12 months in the freezer. The tubes of food are airtight which prevents the food from getting freezer burn.
Thawing the dog food completely in the fridge is the ideal method to ensure the highest level of safety. We recommend unwrapping the food as soon as you take it out of the freezer (more on this below) and place in a sealed container.
Since dogs are better able handle higher bacteria loads than humans, leaving the dog food on the counter to kickstart the process is acceptable. If you wish to do this, keep the food on the counter for a couple hours only, then move to the fridge. We don't recommend leaving out overnight or for long periods of time. Bacteria thrives at room temperature.
Forgot to take out some food in time for dinner? No problem! One way to kickstart the thawing process is to put the tubes of meat in cold water. Keep the meat in it's packaging and the water should cover the tube. The food should start to soften between 20-30 minutes. This isn't going to completely thaw the food, but it will soften a portion of it so you can cut off portions for your dog's dinner. Replace the water every 30 minutes. I would suggest doing this only for as long as it takes to soften the food enough so you can cut through it. Once it's reached that point, put into the fridge.
Raw dog food that has been thawed completely in the fridge should be consumed by your dogs within 3-5 days. If it's been thawed completely on the counter, the food should be fed within 2-3 days.
To protect the nutrient integrity of the food, we do not recommend thawing in the microwave.
Is it possible to refreeze the tubes?
The tubes can be refrozen, as long as:
- it was completely thawed in the fridge
- it is refrozen within 3–4 days
- it was not left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours
- did not spend more than 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F (32°C)
It's important to note that refreezing can affect the quality of the meat due to moisture loss during the thawing process. It's not recommended to refreeze meat more than once.
TIP! The Easiest and Mess Free Way to Unwrap Our Food
1. Take the tube out of the freezer, allow it to sit for a couple minutes. This allows the food to soften slightly making it easier to make slits in the wrapping.
2. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the wrapping by sliding the knife down the length of the tube top to bottom. Then around the middle.
3. Find your lifted pieces of wrapping and start pulling it off. Discard the wrapping immediately.
🚰 Do this by the sink so you can put the plastic pieces in as you go then discarding them right away in the garbage.
🔪 Make sure your knife is sharp and you’re holding the food firmly in place; it can be slippery. If the food is too cold, you can use a towel or oven mitt to hold, making sure to wash right away after.
🍽 Before starting, clear your area of any human food, dishes, etc. so there is no cross contamination. Clean the counters and wash your hands immediately after.
Every other day, I take out 4 lbs of food at a time for my Golden Doodle and Bernedoodle. I will unwrap the tubes as noted above and place the food into a container that is dedicated for raw dog food only. This container is washed every time I bring out new food from the freezer. I typically do this in the morning and will let it sit on the counter for an hour or two before putting in the fridge.
What's your thawing routine? Comment below to share with the #granddograw community.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below or directly to email@example.com.
Amanda Monsma (she/her)
If you liked this, you might also like:
Probiotics & Prebiotics: Why They are Essential for your Dogs Health
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Photo Credit: Thickett Studios
Hi Ben! Thanks for your sharing your technique!
Technique I prefer to remove meat: let it thaw in fridge in plastic, then use scissors to cut off each end, run scissors along length of tube, flip over and let it drop into container. Halve and serve.
Hi Stephanie! I wouldn’t say it’s bad to thaw the way you have been, but from experience I know that it can be a messy way. Taking the food out while still frozen prevents that mess from happening and will then prevent any possible contamination as there will be less of a mess to clean up. But if your way is working for you, then by all means go ahead! You do you! :)
Hi! Reading how you thaw the meat out make me wonder if it’s bad to thaw it without taking it out of the wrapper? What I’ve been doing is when I put it in the fridge to thaw, I put it in a container incase it leaks. It’s not closed. Once I’m ready to use the tube, then I open it and put it in a sealed container. I find it works for me! Didn’t even think about removing the wrapper while it was frozen.
Hi SM! It depends on the activity level, but it would be 1-2% of their bodyweight per day for a dog over a year old. Puppies would be different. At 55 lb I would start at about 0.8 lb per day. Thats 1.5% and you can adjust as needed once you see how they do with that amount. We have a blog about this as well: https://granddog.ca/blogs/news/how-much-to-feed-the-raw-fed-dog?comment=129826521333#comments
Im just wondering how much of this food do you feed say a med/large dog 55lbs .
Right now he eats about 2 cups of dry food with about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of raw
Hi Anita! It will depend on how much you need to feed your dogs. I’m assuming that our packaging will be a bit different than what you are used to. Our food will come in a tube much like the ground beef from the store. You will probably need to let it thaw a little to let it soften before feeding to your pup.
We have previously bought raw food from a different supplier and fed it to our German shepherd/husky straight from the freezer. Is that a good way to serve this raw food? We are getting our first order tomorrow. Thanks!
Hi Tracy! So glad to hear it’s working for you! I prefer the 1 lb tubes myself as well. Thanks for sharing your system with us!
Now that I have switched to the smaller 1Lb tubes my feeding has become so easy. Every couple of days I take out 4 tubes (2 of each flavour), they are put in the meet compartment in the bottom of the fridge for a day to start to thaw. A day or so later, I then take out 1 tube of each flavour and weigh out into my feeding containers. This allows me to have Astra’s food pre weighed out so that anyone in the family can simply pull a feeding container out and I am sure my Norwegian Elkhound is always getting exactly what she needs even if I am not home.
Hi Keli! Nice! Sounds like you have a process set! Every one is different and it’s nice to hear how everyone approaches it. Thanks so much for sharing!
I like to thaw in the fridge! I just make sure I pull out a tube from the freezer and put it straight into the fridge after I’ve opened up the previously thawed tube, then it’s ready for the next time I need to open one. Repeat process and works like a charm every time!