How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out: The Surprising Answer

How long can wet dog food sit out? Good question. The short answer is that wet dog food should always be refrigerated, but the long answer is a bit more complex.

According to the FDA, it’s best to store wet food in a cooler of ice and water as long as possible and only for up to four days.

When you have less than three days, it’s best not to store it in your fridge because the fridge lowers its temperature too much for optimum storage conditions.

How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out
How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out

How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out?

All pet food can be left out for a few hours at room temperature without any harm to your pet. As long as the food is not exposed to extreme temperatures it will be just fine.

So, when you come home from work in the evening, rather than having to throw away your pet’s dinner because you weren’t home in time to feed him or her, you can make up a large batch of food that should last a few days.

If you must leave your pet’s food outside for a longer period, then put it in a closed box or bag. If you do opt to keep your pet’s food out for longer than a few hours, then I suggest only leaving out a small serving of the food at a time.

What is Wet Dog Food?

Wet dog food is a combination of well-chosen ingredients. It’s called wet because most are within 60 to 80 percent water.

As with the dry types, there’s no shortage of flavors and meat combinations you can find. There are several main types of wet dog food, including:


Meat and vegetables (sometimes with added vitamins and minerals) with a high moisture content. This is usually in the 60 to 80 percent range (the higher the moisture content, the more water the ingredients are bound together).


Meat, vegetables, vitamins and minerals (also called “processed” or “canned”) in slightly lower moisture content than wet foods. It’s higher than dry dog food but not as high as wet. These are usually around 50 to 60 percent moisture.


 Meat, vegetables, vitamins and minerals with very high moisture content. These are always the most expensive of all wet types.

Can I Leave Wet Dog Food Out Overnight?

If you want to do so, then here are a couple of things to remember:

Wet dog food isn’t as hygienic as dry dog food. Wet requires the use of a moisten and cleanable formula, which is not the case with dry.

This means that bacteria from your dog’s mouth and nose are more likely to get onto wet food. Plus, if you leave wet dog food out overnight then it can grow mold and yeast.

If you’re going to let your dog’s food sit out, you should only do so in a covered container or sealed bag. This way the container won’t get dirty and the food won’t go bad. The same goes for putting a dog bowl outside.

What’s in Wet Dog Food?

Wet dog food has the same ingredients as dry dog food, but because of its higher moisture content, wet foods contain more moisture.

This means that they have more water and less meat and vegetables. As a result, wet dog food contains less meat than dry dog food but more vegetables than either of them contains.

Besides this, all types of wet dog food are made with different amounts of meat so that you can find a meal that’s right for your pet. The same goes for vegetable content.

Wet vs Dry

Dry dog food is more convenient and cheaper to produce than wet. The big difference between the two types of dog food is the moisture content. As a result, wet dog food contains far less meat and vegetables than dry does.

Both types of dog food have their benefits. For example, dry pet diets are easier to store because they don’t require refrigeration. It also has a longer shelf life so you can stock up and buy in bulk at a lower cost per pound.

On the other hand, wet dog food is more convenient to use, because you can mix it all and feed it to your dog that day.

Also, if you’re interested in natural foods for your pet, then dry dog food is not a good choice. Wet food has all of the same ingredients as dry and they’re both made with natural ingredients.

However, there’s nothing natural about processing meat and vegetables into soups and sauces. That’s why it takes longer for wet dog food to go bad (up to 4 days).

Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out Like Kibble?

Yes, you can let your dog’s wet food sit out. If you’re feeding your pet a canned or semi-moist product then you shouldn’t keep it in the fridge, to begin with.

These types of dog food come in cans that aren’t refrigerated and they don’t need to be. That’s because they contain meat and vegetables, which are naturally high in water content.

The same goes for semi-moist foods because they contain natural ingredients that don’t go bad as quickly as human produce.

How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out
How Long Can Wet Dog Food Sit Out

How Long Can Wet Dog Food Stay in the Fridge?

According to the FDA, you can keep wet dog food in the fridge for up to 4 days. That’s because it isn’t as hygienic as dry dog food (as mentioned above).

An unopened can of wet food or a bowl of semi-moist or canned dog food is fine to leave out at room temperature.

As soon as you open a can or a bag, place its contents in the fridge so that it doesn’t get contaminated by bacteria.

Are Wet Dog Foods More Expensive?

Yes, wet dog foods are more expensive. How much it costs depends on a variety of factors including the type of food you get, the company that produces it, and where it’s made. For example, canned food isn’t always cheaper than dry dog food.

Depending on the type of food you buy, semi-moist and canned products can be anywhere from 5 times to 20 times more expensive than dry dog foods.

Why Does Wet Dog Food Spoil Faster Than Dry?

The dog food spoilage rate is determined by 2 main factors:

Moisture content: Wet dog food contains more ingredients, which means they contain more moisture. This is why wet dog foods spoil faster than dry.

Cooking time: Wet dog foods are cooked at a lower temperature. The shorter the cooking time, the more water evaporates from the food before it’s refrigerated and eaten.

What Should I Do With Uneaten Wet Dog Food?

Ideally, you should feed all of your dog’s food to him. But if he doesn’t finish it, then here are a couple of things you can do with the leftovers:

Throw it out: Wet food spoils faster than dry, so if there is any leftover then throw it away and only leave out enough for one meal at a time.

Feed it to another dog: Some dogs love wet food, but don’t like dry. This means that you could feed your dog’s leftovers to a friend or neighbor. Their pup might be more than happy to devour it.

How Can I Keep Wet Dog Food Fresh and Safe for Longer?

Just like dry dog food, wet dog food has a longer shelf life if it’s not opened. Once you open the can or bag, place its contents in the fridge right away so that it doesn’t get contaminated by bacteria.

Maintenance: If your can still has some of its contents left inside then don’t clean it just yet. Just scoop out what’s left and discard it, leaving the empty can on a countertop or shelf in an airtight container.

Can I Freeze Wet Dog Food?

No, you can’t freeze wet dog food. Wet dog food has more moisture than dry, leaving it very vulnerable to freezer burn. That’s why it spoils faster than dry dog food (as mentioned above).

Can I Freeze Dry Dog Food?

Yes, you can freeze dry dog food. Just be sure to keep the airtight bag sealed and put it on the lowest shelf in your freezer. The temperature should never go below -18°F (-25°C).

How Long Will Wet Dog Food Stay Good Once It’s Open?

Once you open wet dog food, it should stay fresh for the same amount of time as its dry counterparts. In most cases, the shelf life of wet dog food that’s unopened is longer than dry.

Not only because is it made with natural ingredients that won’t go bad as fast but because its moisture content is higher.

The higher the moisture content, the longer a product will stay good after opening. When you open wet dog foods, keep them in the fridge for 4 days (and no longer).


Now that you know everything about wet dog food, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether it’s a good choice for your pup.

And if you’re interested in getting some, then don’t forget to check out the best-wet dog foods on Amazon today.

Wet dog food is the perfect type for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. Its natural ingredients are specifically chosen because they won’t affect your pet’s health in any way.

Thank you for reading and hopefully, this article will help you to give your dog the best food possible.

So, what do you think about this subject? Just leave us a comment in the comments section below.

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