Wondering how long you can store dog treats–and how long homemade dog treats last? We’ve got an easy rundown here for both commercial and homemade treats. Buying (or making) dog treats in bulk can be a great way to save money and know you always have treats on hand, but it’s critical that you store them safely.
Do Dog Treats Expire?
Commercial dog treats include preservatives to make them shelf stable–but they do have an expiration date. Look for a “best by” date on packaging.
Typically they are intended to be stored in their packaging which has been developed to extend the freshness.
If you find a favorite brand on sale, you can freeze commercial treats to extend their freshness. (See below for our freezing tips.)
How Long Do Homemade Dog Treats Last?
Because homemade treat don’t include preservatives, they have a short shelf life. Homemade meat treats have a shorter shelf life than baked goods like peanut butter treats.
To be safe, meat treats should be stored in the refrigerator 3-4 days, much like your own leftovers.
If you have more treats than three or four days worth, transfer part of them to the freezer, taking out and thawing treats as you need them.
Baked goods like peanut butter dog treats can be stored in the refrigerator about a week.
With either meat treats or baked homemade treats, you’ll want to completely cool the treats before storing to prevent moisture from shortening the shelf life (and creating a soggy treat!)
If you are baking your treats, turn off the oven, leave the door cracked and let the treats cool inside the oven to really dry them out.
The best place to store a large batch of homemade treats is in your refrigerator or freezer, although your dog might have other ideas!
When we have homemade treats, we keep them in the refrigerator and put just a day or two’s worth in the cookie jar or my dog treat pouch at a time.
Can You Freeze Homemade Dog Treats?
Freezing treats is a great way to handle the large volume you might have when making your own treats.
How long can you freeze treats?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, freezing at 0°F keeps food safe indefinitely but the quality of the food may change after a certain period.
Food stored for long periods will remain safe, but if you’re sharing it with your dog, you may notice a change in texture or flavor after a 4- to 6-month period for most foods.
Regardless of freezer time, it’s always important to use airtight storage to avoid freezer burn. If you put the treats in a zippered plastic bag, squeeze out all additional air to prevent freezer burn. Even better, if you have a vacuum sealer, use it to pump out all the extra air in the package before freezing.
When you’re ready to use the frozen treats, letting the treats come to room temperature before serving them will make the treats stronger smelling, especially important for training treats!
Saturday 31st of December 2022
I have been trying to research dehydrating treats to give them a longer shelf life but the information seems to be unchartered waters. Any experience with dehydrating treats after you bake them for longer shelf life?
Tuesday 31st of January 2023
How do you package the treats that you are going to sell, and what happens to the ones that are not sold at that time? Do you do craft shows, do you have a storefront or strictly online sales? I am trying to help my 10 year-old granddaughter start her business. I was thinking maybe mesh bags or parchment paper in a box or small, sealable bags like you see "cookie" treats in a pet store.
Thanks for any information.
Sunday 1st of January 2023
@Stephanie, I have my own dog treat business so I dehydrate my treats. You’re right about the difficulty of finding time guidelines. I ended up settling on 5hours at 150 for regular sized treats and 4 hours at 150 for small treats. Really, you just have to trouble shoot to see what time is best to reach the dryness that you want. They do make most treats harder and crunchier, so that’s something to keep in mind for dogs individual chewing abilities or preferences. I hope this helped!
Thursday 29th of October 2015
Thank you for the information on dog treats. I make a lot of treats for my dogs. I try and make a small batch but now I know I can freeze the treats.
Thursday 29th of October 2015
Hey, this is a great article!! Just 2 nights ago I went to give my dogs one of their store bought charcoal biscuits from their treat jar. I find the charcoal treats are good for my dogs tummies. Anyway, I hadn't been into these in a while as I've been giving them my homemade pumpkin pie biscuits that I keep sealed in the freezer. Well as I pulled out the treat jar I saw them....little brown beetle looking creepy crawlies! Weevils! YUCK! So I dumped them outside over the fence into the field behind out house (for wildlife) and washed the treat jar. I am usually more observant than this and I'm a freak about bugs! Here's a tip. If you buy store bought treats (this is also good for flour, rice, oatmeal, and other dry ingredients) pop them into the freezer for a week. This will kill any larvae that may already be inside. I also find that these nasty little creepy crawlies do not like bay leaves so I put a couple bay leaves in all my dry ingredients and also store them in plastic sealed containers. I also put loose bay leaves on the shelves in my pantry and in my spice drawers. And I put bay leaves in my dogs food containers too. There are other herbs that drive pantry pests away as well. You can also transfer rice, flours, grains, etc into canning jars for a low cost food saver.