Your dog loves treats, and it’s not just the cookies and the bacon, but you’re not sure how to store homemade dog treats. Depending on the treats, you can store in an air-tight container or the refrigerator.
The thing I like most about making dog treats is that I can control what goes into them, and all the recipes on this site use only healthy, nutritious ingredients.
This means you won’t find any chemicals or artificial preservatives, which is great news for our dogs. However, it also means the goodies you created with love won’t keep sitting on the counters or in the pantry for weeks at a time.
Thankfully, there are a few simple tips you can use to store homemade dog treats fresh for days, weeks, or even months.
Honestly, in my house my dogs eat most of my treats before they go bad, but I have two dogs and an extended family of canine grandchildren eager to take their turn taste testing!
How to Store Homemade Dog Treats and Keep them from Molding
On my site, you’ll find instructions to ‘let cool completely’ at the end of almost every recipe. With homemade dog treats, that brief sentence is crucial for determining how well and how long they will last.
When baking homemade dog treats, it’s best to cool your treats completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack where the air can circulate freely around them, at least three hours (which can be longer for large and thick treats). This is especially important to do before you store homemade dog treats.
If you put your treats directly into a container or bag without cooling them first, even the tiniest bit of residual heat will cause condensation.
This will cause the treats to become damp - spoiling the crunchiness (if they’re crunchy treats) and causing them to go bad more quickly.
Ingredients Used to Store Homemade Dog Treats
The ingredients in homemade dog treats influence how a dog treat should be stored and how long it will stay fresh.
Vegetable Dog Treats - A dog treat recipe that contains fruit or vegetables can remain soft even after they are completely cooled. It’s best to store this treat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one to ten days.
Make sure you always look at your dog’s treat before you give it to him. Throw out anything that looks suspect (soggy, discolored, moldy).
Meat or Fish Dog Treats - Treats made with meat or fish, or those that use meat broth or bouillon, should be refrigerated once they are completely cooled. If you store them in an airtight container, you’ll be able to keep them for five to seven days.
Gluten Free Ingredients - The treats made using gluten-free flour don’t store well or last as long as those that use whole grain flour (especially if they have fruit/vegetables).
Gluten-free treats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week (depending on the recipe) and should be inspected frequently to ensure they don’t go bad or get soggy.
I recommend refrigerating any dog treats made from butter or margarine so they don’t spoil too quickly.
How to Make Homemade Dog Treats last longer?
Making your homemade treats last longer is possible with natural preservatives. The most common vitamins are vitamin C and vitamin E.
Depending on your recipe, you can also purchase mold inhibitors (these are especially useful for gummy dog treats, which last for a very short period), but I don’t think they’re necessary unless you’re baking treats for commercial reasons.
If you simply cook up some treats for your dog, chances are they’ll either be eaten up before they can spoil, or your refrigerator will do the trick.
Dry, crunchy treats vs Frozen Dog Treats
The drier and crunchier the treat the better it will store and the longer it will stay fresh.
Dry Dog Treats - For most treat recipes you can increase the crunch-factor by drying them out a bit more at the end of their recommended baking time.
If I want to do this, I turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the treats inside while the oven cools. My oven takes about 30 minutes to cool down this way and that’s enough time to crisp up most treats.
Alternatively, when the timer goes off to signal your treats are ready, you can turn the oven down to a low temperature (around 150 - 200F) and continue baking your treats for another twenty minutes.
Dry treats (that don’t contain meat or fish) can usually be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for a week to ten days. In the refrigerator for two, possibly three, weeks.
Frozen Dog Treats - Finally, you can always opt for frozen dog treats which last a LONG time in your freezer. These are a great option for hot summer days, but you can offer them anytime of the year. A bonus is that frozen treats usually only contain two or three ingredients and are a snap to make.
Best Place to Store Homemade Dog Treats?
An air-tight container and a refrigerator is the best storage option for most homemade dog treat recipes. You should store frozen dog treats in the freezer at all times.
In this way, your creations will remain fresh for longer, saving you money (less waste) and keeping you from worrying about treats that go bad.
There are lots of reasons to keep your dog treats for longer than a week. Maybe your dog can’t/shouldn’t eat them all that quickly, or you want to make a big batch so you don’t have to go through the process again in a week. For long-term storage the best thing to do is to pop the treats into your freezer.
You should package them tightly or put them in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. You can store homemade dog treats this way for several months.
Dry dog treats can also be stored for a longer period by using a vacuum sealer. Adding vacuum-sealed bags filled with treats to your freezer will keep them fresh for up to a year.
If making frozen dog treats. Your dog can either eat frozen treats or defrost them completely before giving them to him. It’s best to defrost large and/or thick treats first, while thin ones can often be enjoyed frozen as they’re super crunchy. However, frozen treats don’t taste as good as thawed ones!
Uncooked dog treat dough can be frozen and thawed later to make more treats. Next time, why not make a double batch of dough to save yourself some time and effort? You can also split a regular recipe in half if your dog is small or you only offer treats occasionally.
Before freezing uncooked dough, make sure it is double wrapped and thawed completely in the refrigerator.
It’s a great idea to make frozen dog treats or dehydrated dog treats to always have some tasty treats on hand since they stay fresh for a long time.
Does Where You Live Can Matter for Storing Dog Treats
It may not be the most important factor for how you store homemade dog treats, but it can still have an impact. A seasonal change in temperature may also play a role.
Suppose you have an A/C that works very well and you like to keep your house at a temperature of 65F (shiver! ). It will be fine to keep treats like these in the pantry for a few days.
Some Things to Consider:
- What is the climate where you live? Is it hot and humid, cold and dry, or a combination of these? In a cool, dry environment, homemade dog biscuits will last much longer than ones that are left in a humid or hot environment.
- Preservatives - Although store purchases often last longer because of their preservatives, we make our own dog treats due to all the undesirable additives, including the preservatives. Some preservatives are good, but not all. The vitamins C and E in baking can be used as natural preservatives. Other options include citrus acids (such as those found in citrus fruits) and rosemary.
- Ingredients - Depending on the type of ingredients you use, homemade dog treats will be stored differently. If you bake dog cookies with butter or oil, they won’t last as long as those made with margarine. Treats made with meat and/or meat juice will need to be refrigerated and will not last as long as other treats.
- Dog treats should be moist, textured and dense as well. Soft dog training treats or moist dog cupcakes will not last as long as crunchy or hard dog treats.
- Keeping Treats Cool - We are not saying you’re cool for baking homemade dog treats (even though you are!). Temperature is what we’re talking about. Make sure your homemade dog treats are completely cooled before storing them. If you don’t, you may end up with moldy dog treats because of condensation, and that isn’t good for dogs.
- Direct Light - The enemy of your dog treats and your food is light. The direct bright sunlight and heat are the enemies of your treats. Keep homemade dog treats in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
You will be able to enjoy your baking efforts for many weeks if you remember these few things when you want to store homemade dog treats.
The Best Long Term Storage for Homemade Dog Treats
Now we get to the fun part. It is possible to make homemade dog biscuits that last for months.
Refrigerator - The best way to store food in the refrigerator is by using airtight containers. You can keep your treats in the refrigerator for at least 2 months if you use this method.
Freezer: Dog cookies you make at home should be able to last for at least 6-8 months if they’re stored in an air-tight container.
The refrigerated treats can be brought to room temperature before serving, depending upon how your dog likes them. You can also give your dog ice cubes and other cold treats straight from the refrigerator or freezer if she enjoys them.