Everyone seems to be getting into the business of making cute snacks for dogs and cats. Have you ever wondered what exactly was in those biscuits that you picked up for Fido or Fluffy at your local farmer's market last weekend? How were they made? Or who made them? It is not only our goal to provide our customers with wholesome homemade, grain-free products, but also to offer some insight into the process of manufacturing pet food. We would never offer anything to our customers that we wouldn't feed to our own pets. Multiple pieces of each batch that we make are set aside to get tasted for quality approval from our Bella. We know how important your pets are to you and your family, which is why we wanted to take the time to offer the following tips on how you can keep them safe from potentially harmful food products.
FACT: Anyone can make dog biscuits and cat treats from their kitchen but in order to sell them legally they must meet local, state and federal requirements in order to do so.
In the state of West Virginia the first step in selling pet food items is to obtain a business license. This is done through the Secretary of State website where a company is required to offer information to the State regarding who owns the business, what type of business will be conducted at the manufacturing location, contact information, how many employees the company has, etc. How can you determine if the business you bought from is legit? Follow this link to the WV Secretary of State Business Search to determine if the business holds a license in the state: http://apps.sos.wv.gov/business/corporations/
FALSE: Any business with a business license can manufacturer and sell their own pet food and pet treats.
In order to manufacture pet food (including pet treats) you must apply for a pet food manufacturing permit from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. After applying for a permit, all products must be sent to a laboratory to receive testing known as a guaranteed analysis. This allows the state Agriculture Department to understand the makeup of the products sold to consumers. If necessary, department representatives will acquire samples from pet food manufacturers for testing at their state laboratory in Charleston. At that point, the products will either pass or fail state requirements in allowable variance for individual portions of the guaranteed analysis. "Where can I get a copy of the guaranteed analysis done on a pet food product?" As products are tested and registered by the Department of Agriculture the labeling will reflect the results of the analysis. See our example below: The state also requires pet food manufactures to have additional sources of information on the labeling such as a list of ingredients, a product weight or piece count, the manufacturers name and contact information (a phone number or address).
FALSE: There has to be an expiration date on a product.
There are no laws nor requirements that a pet food manufacturer must put an expiration date or a batch number on their products. This is done in order to monitor any issues that may arise regarding quality control. An expiration date allows a customer to get a feel for how long their product will maintain an expected level of freshness that is close to the quality of the product on the date of manufacture. "How long can I expect products from the Hound Dog Snackery to last?" We are currently in the process of running quality control for expiration on our biscuits. The entire process will take two years. Until we can adequately determine a precise timeframe of expiration, we will continue to error on the side of caution by adding an expiration of 8-12 weeks from the time of manufacture. However, the specialty drying process that we use on our products typically allows food grade items to stay fresh for up to one year. We can also tell you that we have biscuits from batches that were made well over 3 months ago, sitting in a container on Bella's snack shelf that are still fresh and we still offer to her multiple times throughout the day. Bella's treats are kept in a Tupperware container in one of our kitchen cabinets. "So your products will stay fresh for a good while, but how else is The Hound Dog Snackery different than other pet treats?" Since we are so dedicated to providing your pet with good quality food, we go one step further than many larger pet food manufacturers, corporations and widely known brands. How so? You may have had the unfortunate experience of reading about pet food recalls that have taken place in the past couple of years. Reasons for recall include contamination of dangerous microorganisms including Salmonella, Ecoli, and more. You will notice on our laboratory analysis that we specifically check for those two items in our own products. The problem that much larger pet food companies have is that they typically will not run these same analysis on their items until after a problem is identified (exp: someone's pet gets ill, or owner gets sick after handling the product). This is unacceptable and another reason why we are continuing to raise the bar against our competitors so that consumers continue to benefit. We hope that we were able to allow you further insight into the pet food manufacturing process. That way you can continue to provide the best quality of product to your pet that we give to our own. Thank you for taking the time to read through our information. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding what you have read here, you may contact us directly through our website, Facebook, email, or phone us at (304) 365-1088.