Cat owners typically have a stash of cat treats hidden away in a cupboard somewhere in their homes, ready for those times when you want to give them some treats.
Some people might give their cats treats as a form of praise, while others do it to gain affection or simply just to be nice. Cat treats are as much of a treat to them as your favorite indulgence is for you.
If your treats have been hiding away in a cupboard for a long time, you may be concerned about the expiration date and whether or not they are still alright to give to your cat.
You can always find this date somewhere on the packaging, so you can check if you are unsure. If they haven’t been left in the original packaging but have been there for a long time, it might be best to throw them away and buy some new ones.
Reasons for Using Cat Treats
Oral hygiene could be a big reason why you would want to give your cat a treat. There are many brands that sell treats that are designed to improve oral health and reduce plaque and tartar build-up.
A less obvious reason is that treats are also a great way to reduce stress in cats. If your cat is unwell or struggling with recent surgery or illness, you can give them a few treats to try and make them feel better.
This can also help to encourage the process of eating if being unwell has put them off their food. Remember not to overdo it.
It might be tempting to give them an entire bag of treats in order to make them feel better, but it is best to keep it in moderation.
Training is a perfect example of why you might want to give your cat some treats as praise or a reward for good behavior. This is a great way to use positive reinforcement to let them know that they are doing a good job.
They can be used for house training and litter training as a way to encourage the correct behavior.
It can also simply be a nice way to break up their diet. It can be repetitive eating the same thing over and over again, and a few treats every now and then can provide a nice change.
Do Cat Treats Expire?
Yes, cat treats, like any other dry food in packaging, will have an expiration date. Always check this expiry date before you feed them to your cat as you don’t want to give them food that is out of date.
The expiration date is the best indicator of whether or not the food is safe for consumption.
Dry food typically lasts much longer than wet food, and treats can last anywhere between 1 to 5 years.
This is more than plenty of time to get through a bag of treats, but if you do have any leftover, be sure to throw them away when they expire. You might think of it as saving food wastage, but out of date, food can negatively affect your cat and their health.
Another thing to note is that the ‘best before’ date and the ‘expiration date’ are two different things. The best before date is merely telling you to what date the food will be at its best quality.
Treats can be consumed after this timeframe, but they will not be as beneficial as they were before. The expiration date is the date that states exactly when the product should be discarded. The treats should not be consumed past this point.
If you are ever concerned about the appearance or smell of your cat treats and are unsure whether or not to use them, it is better to be on the safe side and throw them away.
Sometimes the way we have stored food, or the environmental conditions surrounding it, can make food spoil quicker.
The shelf life of cat treats is where the product is prime for nutritional value. Over time, the level of nutrition in the product will decrease and might not be as beneficial.
This is due to the breakdown of preservatives in the food, and it will happen even if the packaging is still sealed.
If you are relying on treats for a form of nutrition, then treats past their shelf life will not be giving your cat the proper amount of nutrients that they need, resulting in a deficiency.
How Many Cat Treats is Too Many?
As we’ve mentioned before, make sure that you are giving your cat treats in moderation, as too many can be bad for them. There is no rule about how many is too many, but these products aren’t made with the same nutritional values as their normal food.
Pets shouldn’t get more than 10% of their normal daily calories from treats. Sometimes the packaging will suggest a good amount for you to give them, so it might be helpful to read the information available to double-check.
The Best Way to Store Cat Treats
To make sure that your food is staying fresh and to keep it from going off, you should store it in a dry place that isn’t exposed to light or heat.
Oxygen and heat can decrease the shelf life of the product, deplete the nutritional value, and even diminish the flavor. Cat treats should also be stored at room temperature and away from any moist environments.
Try to keep food in its original packaging so that you have all the necessary information when it comes to portions, nutrition, and expiration dates.
If the bag splits open, then you can store it in a sealed container, but it is a good idea to write the expiry date somewhere on the container so you know exactly when it is due to expire.
Once the cat treat packaging is open, check the packaging to find out how long you have before the food needs to be discarded. Some treats will last longer than others when opened, but it is best to be sure.