Every part of our manufacturing process is geared toward the safety and satisfaction of both you and your pet. Our operation is small, but efficient, and allows us to easily adapt to new products and preparation processes.
Let’s dig into what it takes to make a chicken pet treat.
We hand trim as much fat from the breast meat as possible. Too much fat is not good for your pets, the same as it is not good for humans. Removal of the fat also helps in the freeze-drying process as fats/oils do not freeze-dry well. Fats can be extracted, but not sublimated (turned into a gas and removed from the meat in the air).
Why do we take the time to hand trim as much fat off the breast as possible? Simply because the treats are better for your pets, will last longer and not spoil as easily with all those fats removed.
Depending on the size of the breast it may be butterflied lengthwise to keep the pieces small enough for a range of pet sizes. From there, the breasts are carefully sliced to be consistently the same thickness and placed onto trays and loaded into the rack of the freeze dryer.
The freeze-drying process can take anywhere from 24-48 hours depending on the amount of moisture in the meat. We own all of our freeze dryers; they are in-house and we do not outsource any of the freeze-drying processes. Since the machines are at our farm, we can monitor the progress of the process at all times.
While the freeze dryers are running, custom labels that follow AAFCO labeling guidelines, are printed in-house and affixed to the packages.
Fast forward, the freeze-drying process is complete, or is it? The machines are designed to ensure the process is complete when they say they are. They are machines, made by humans, and we do make mistakes, so we go an extra step and do thermal imaging of each tray to ensure that the process is, in fact, complete.
Complete means that as much moisture as possible has been removed from the meat leaving the crispy/crunchy texture you and your pet desire in a pet treat. It also ensures that the meat is shelf-stable in our packaging.
At this point, a unique lot number tracking the product is stamped on the label of each bag. The meat is removed from the trays and placed in our packages. The packages are zipped and heat-sealed for freshness.
The packages are inventoried in small batches using a first in, first out* approach to ensure a fresh product is always being provided to our clients. While in inventory, packages are stored away from all sunlight helping to keep the packages from degrading so that you get a product that is as fresh as possible.
Trays, work surfaces, utensils, and the freeze dryers are all cleaned and sanitized to ensure everything is clean, but also to ensure that there is no cross-product contamination from an allergen perspective.
We hope you enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes peek into our world of pet treats.
*We tried to find a short, informative video about first-in, first-out (FIFO). Most of what we found was hilarious!