Is it OK to store dog food in plastic containers?

When it comes to storing dog food, pet owners want to make sure they are keeping it as fresh as possible while also avoiding any potential hazards from improper storage. One of the most common questions is whether it is safe to store dry dog food in plastic containers. There are pros and cons to using plastic containers, and considerations regarding the type of plastic, whether the container has a tight seal, and how long the food is stored. With some precautions, plastic can be a good storage option for dry dog kibble. However, glass or stainless steel are considered the optimal choices for long term storage.

Quick Overview: Can You Store Dog Food in Plastic Containers?

The short answer is yes, you can store dry dog food in plastic containers. Plastic is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to find. Many dog food bags even come with plastic clip-closure built right in. However, there are some potential downsides to be aware of:

  • Plastic can absorb food odors and oils over time.
  • Plastic may allow more air transfer compared to glass or steel.
  • Plastic is generally less durable for long-term, heavy duty storage.
  • Some plastics contain potentially harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates.

With careful selection of food-grade, durable plastic containers with tight lids, plastic can be a good short to medium term storage option for dry dog food. For longest shelf life, opt for glass, steel or ceramic.

Factors to Consider for Storing Dog Food in Plastic

If you want to store your dog’s kibble in plastic, here are some important factors to consider:

Type of Plastic

Not all plastics are created equal when it comes to food storage. Look for containers made from food-safe plastics meant for storage, such as:

  • Polypropylene (PP) – Durable, rigid plastic often used for food storage containers. Does not contain BPA.
  • Polyethylene (PE) – Another food-safe option, available in both high and low density forms.
  • Polycarbonate – Clear, rigid plastic. May contain BPA so choose BPA-free brands.

Avoid plastics like PVC which can leech chemicals into food over time. Check any plastic container for the recycling codes #2, #4 or #5 to identify food-grade polypropylene, polyethylene or polycarbonate.

Tight Lid Seal

You want an airtight seal to keep your dog’s food fresh and prevent moisture loss. Look for plastic containers with secure snap-lock or screw-top lids. The seal should be watertight. For extra protection, you can add a rubber gasket if the container doesn’t come with one.

Duration of Storage

Hard plastic containers are ideal for short term storage spanning a few weeks to a several months. For longer storage of 6 months or more, glass, stainless steel or ceramic are recommended. Plastic allows more air exchange over time leading to food staleness.

Size of Container

Choose a container size appropriate for the amount of food you need to store. Large bins are great for holding a whole bag’s worth of kibble. But smaller individual containers make it easier to access the amount needed for each meal without constantly opening the main supply. Make sure to thoroughly wash plastic containers in hot, soapy water before refilling them with a fresh batch of food.

Pros of Storing Dog Food in Plastic Containers

Using plastic food storage containers offers several benefits:


Plastic containers are readily available, lightweight and come in a variety of sizes. They are the easiest, most convenient way to store dog food, especially smaller amounts.


Food-grade plastic storage bins and canisters are very affordable options compared to glass, wood or stainless steel. Basic versions start under $10 for multi-quart capacities.


Clear plastic lets you easily see how much food remains. You’ll know when it’s time to replenish without having to open the container. Opt for transparent bins to keep an eye on your supply level.


Plastic containers are designed to stack efficiently on shelves or in the pantry thanks to even shapes and flat tops and bottoms. Their light weight also makes them easy to move around.

Moisture and Pest Resistance

Airtight plastic bins help keep moisture out and prevent pantry pests like moths from getting in. Durable plastic won’t degrade from water damage like cardboard.

Potential Downsides of Plastic Dog Food Containers

Despite their popularity, there are some drawbacks with plastic food storage to be aware of:

Not as Airtight as Glass or Steel

Plastic is more porous than glass or metal. Small amounts of air can still seep into sealed plastic containers, gradually degrading food quality and freshness over weeks and months.

Can Absorb Food Odors and Stains

Porous plastic tends to absorb food oils and smells like fish. The plastic can retain odors and stains even after washing. Glass and stainless steel do not absorb odors or flavors.

Chemical Leaching Risks

There are health concerns around chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and pthalates that can migrate from some plastics into food, especially with heating. Only use BPA-free food-grade plastic containers.

More Brittle Than Glass or Metal

Plastic can become brittle and degraded over years of use. Glass or stainless steel containers better withstand the test of time and heavy routine use.

Not Great for Extended Storage

While decent for short term storage spanning weeks or months, plastic allows more air exchange over very long durations compared to glass or steel. This leads to reduced shelf life for food stored over many months or years.

Tips for Storing Dog Food in Plastic Containers

If you do decide to store your dog food in plastic, here are some tips to maximize freshness:

  • Look for opaque containers instead of clear ones which block light.
  • Make sure the plastic container has an airtight seal.
  • Use smaller individual containers to avoid constant opening of the main bin.
  • Store in a cool, dry pantry away from heat sources like the oven.
  • Wash with hot soapy water before refilling empty containers.
  • Date containers with date of purchase and use within 6 months.
  • Never store dog food with human food or let kibble sit in a hot garage.
  • Keep an eye out for moisture, clumping, grease stains or odor which are signs food has spoilt.
  • Consider adding oxygen absorbers to limit air exposure.

Best Plastic Container Options for Dog Food

These top-rated plastic containers are good options for storing dry dog food:

IRIS Airtight Food Storage Container

  • Airtight gasket seal keeps food fresh.
  • Transparent body makes it easy to see contents.
  • BPA-free plastic will not absorb odors.
  • Large 33 quart capacity.
  • Snap lock latches keep foods secure.

Vittles Vault Stackable Pet Food Container

  • Made of food-grade HDPE #2 plastic.
  • Airtight seal keeps food fresh for up to 2 months.
  • Screw-on lid with gasket keeps air out.
  • BPA free and will not leach chemicals.
  • Stackable design saves space.

Gamma2 Vittles Vault Pet Food Storage Container

  • Airtight seal for optimal food preservation.
  • Made from durable BPA-free plastic.
  • Reusable pop top keeps food even fresher.
  • Available in multiple sizes from 5 lb to 45 lb capacity.
  • Stackable containers save space.

Alternatives to Plastic Containers for Dog Food Storage

For the absolute best food preservation, opt for glass, stainless steel or ceramic containers instead of plastic. Here are top options to consider:

Glass Storage Jars

  • Glass won’t transfer odors or chemicals to food.
  • Provides an ultra airtight seal for maximum shelf life.
  • Glass won’t degrade or stain over time.
  • Can be heated for storing wet food.
  • Breakable if dropped so best for cabinet use.

Stainless Steel Cans/Bins

  • Does not retain odors or absorb moisture.
  • Durable for years of continued use.
  • Rodent and pest proof.
  • Often has silicone ring gasket for air tight seal.
  • Heavier than plastic when moving containers.

Ceramic Canisters

  • Impermeable glazed ceramic won’t absorb odors.
  • Keeps foods very dry and locks out air.
  • Stylish design looks great on countertop.
  • Prone to chipping if knocked over.
  • Smaller capacity than giant plastic tubs.

For short term storage under 6 months, food grade plastic works well. But for longest food shelf life, non-porous glass, steel or ceramic is best. Make sure to wash all containers thoroughly before use and keep sealed in a cool, dry pantry.


Storing dry dog food in plastic containers can be a convenient, affordable option for pet owners. As long as some basic guidelines are followed, plastic makes a decent short term storage solution lasting several weeks to months. Look for durable, airtight bins made of food-safe plastics like polypropylene or polyethylene. Always opt for BPA-free containers not likely to leach chemicals. To maximize shelf life, go with glass, stainless steel or ceramic bins for extended 6 month or longer storage when possible.

With a quality airtight plastic container kept in proper storage conditions away from heat, moisture and pests, dry kibble can safely be preserved in its original state for normal use cycles of 1-2 months. But for very long term storage or when concerend about any chemical leaching from plastics, glass is the gold standard. By selecting the optimal food grade, air-sealed plastic container suited to your pet’s typical use timeframe, you can conveniently store dry dog food without compromise.

When it comes to your furry friend’s diet, you want to preserve food quality and freshness just as you would your own. With smart storage methods, the nutritional integrity and taste of your dog’s favorite kibble can remain unchanged meal after meal. Your pet relies on you to make the best decisions when it comes to their health and happiness. By properly storing food in suitable containers, you can provide safe, appetizing meals they’ll enjoy time and time again.

So go forth and store those kibbles and bits, knowing plastic can play a helpful role – as long as you choose the right kinds of containers. Your dog will thank you with a wag of their tail and eagerly lap up their yummy dinner. you provide. With a full belly and plenty of love, you and your canine companion can share many fulfilling years together thanks in part to proper food storage.

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