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Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

finds the answer to

How long can you safely leave canned food out,


Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

Many people feed canned food to their pets.  Whether it is dog food or cat food.  These are usually made with some kind of meat product.  It could be Chicken, beef, lamb.  It may say Chicken by product, or chicken meal, etc.  Whatever you decide or choose to feed, it will probably have meat in the canned food choice.

As a NH Pet Sitting Company that has been in business for many years, we are asked about many things in pet care.  How long can canned food be safely left out, un-refrigerated?

I decide to find out the answer to this question because one day we were asked by a client to fill an automatic feeder with canned food for her cat.  We were to fill each compartment with a half can of food.  The feeder would open each compartment every 6 hours.  We were to fill this feeder every 48 hours.  This particular feeder was not refrigerated nor did it have an ice compartment (of course the ice would be melted in a few hours).  This scenario did not sit well with me.  The cat was an older cat at 15 years old.  I was worried about the canned food having too much time to form bacteria.

I called at least 6 veterinary hospitals in our area.  No one really knew a definitive answer.  Most stated no more than 4 hours.  So I called a few Manufacturers.  Friskies and Purina were the only two that returned my phone call.  Both stated what my gut was telling me.  “due to the meat products in the food, it is recommended to not leave canned food out un-refrigerated for more then 2 hours”.

This information is generally what we would follow, if it were our own food.  Un-refrigerated meat products, start forming bacteria that are harmful to our stomach.  These bacteria can cause vomiting and diarrhea in people as well as our pets.  Young healthy pets, probably will not be as affected as much as an older pet or a pet who may have health problems.

I did call this person back and explained what I had found.  I asked if her cat ever had any vomiting or diarrhea in the past.  I was told that yes, her cat did have vomiting and diarrhea in the past when they have gone away and left canned food in the feeder, but it was NOT from contaminated food, it was because the cat missed her so much, she worked herself up into being sick.  After a few days of being home, she stated the cat was fine.

Unfortunately, I could not convince this person that leaving canned food out for that long was not a good idea.  She thought I just wanted to book more visits with her, so she never did use our company.  I told her we would be happy to use the feeder with dry food but she did not want to feed the cat dry food.  She stated the cat did not like dry food.

Not sure what ever happened, but I do hope her kitty was okay.

After this, I changed how I fed my own cats and dogs.  I do feed canned food.  They are fed twice a day and whatever they do not eat within a half hour is picked up, discarded or refrigerated until the next feeding.  I don’t want my babies to ever feel bad because of something I did or didn’t do.

Do you feed canned food?  Did you know that it should not be left out all day?


About the Owner/Author

Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional.  She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History. 

Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990.  It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH.  Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook pageGoogle+ page and more.  They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.

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Go to Professional Pet Sitting Etc. Website for more information on the best pet sitting company or click on “New Client” to contact us or register for dog walking or pet care.

Contact us by phone at 603-888-8088


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