Mistakes we used to make when buying treats for our dogs
Here's our story for Peak Power Dog Treats and how they came into existence.
We used to give our dogs a lot of grain-based treats.
But dogs need meat proteins as the major food source, not plant-proteins or carbohydrates.
And, grains have become hybridized and genetically modified (GMO), making the gluten in them pretty bad for dogs (and humans).
Plus, they are loaded with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, because as GMO crops, they were designed to resist pesticides, so a lot of them can be applied to crops.
We turned our focus to predominantly meat-based treats.
But, more than 94% of the meat in the U.S. is confined to feedlots and fed corn, hormones and antibiotics, which has proven to be bad for our dogs' health as well as ours.
Plus, we feel it is inhumane and unhealthy to keep them confined to feedlots.
And, as we have learned, to maintain the health of our grasslands, which pull carbon out of the atmosphere, we need more large animals roaming on them. We do not want to be farming it for corn that in turn gets fed to the animals, but instead, turning it back into rangeland and letting the animals roam.
We looked at organic meats.
But, we discovered that organic meat is often barely one-step healthier than standard feedlot beef because the only difference is the animals cannot be fed hormones or antibiotics, but they can still be confined to feedlots, which still produces meat that is not healthy.
Canada and New Zealand…to the rescue!
So, we considered dog treats from Canada and New Zealand, believing the marketing and hype about how clean and pure it is in those places.
Problem was, we discovered that shipping food to another country means the need for stabilizers, preservatives and antioxidants to maintain shelf-stability, all of which can be pretty nasty stuff for our dogs.
Consider the transportation process for food coming from New Zealand:
- It is put on non-climate controlled trucks to the port;
- It is loaded into shipping containers that are not climate controlled, then spends months crossing the ocean in hot and humid conditions;
- It is unloaded at a port in the U.S. and may sit in the sun in its shipping container for days before being transported in trucks that are not climate controlled to a warehouse that is also not climate controlled;
- Then it is transported on trucks again that are not climate controlled before arriving in your local retailer or your online retailer’s warehouse.
That takes a lot of stabilizers, preservatives and antioxidants.
Plus how much greater is the carbon footprint to get the food halfway around the world?
Treats are not as shelf-stable as we think.
Then we discovered that pet food is not as stable as we are led to believe, and can develop rancidity and micro-amounts of mold rather quickly. Dogs can be very sensitive to rancidity and mold.
So we tried purchasing products that we could use within 3 months of manufacture, but manufacturers do not typically report the manufacture date, only the sell by date, so we are not able to know for certain how fresh the food really is.
So, we gave up…
You probably get the picture…despite our best efforts and our research, we found it impossible to purchase truly healthy commercial dog treats. Instead, we discovered that the way the dog treat and dog food industry has evolved since WWII is one that maximizes convenience and cost-savings, but minimizes healthy products.
So we set out to develop our own process for making dog treats that focuses on a healthy product first.
Our first product version came out in 2013, which we used for our own purposes and for Sue to use in her training.
Sue's clients started asking about them because their dogs liked them a lot more than what Sue's clients were using, so we started selling them in 2014.
But it took us a few more years of developing our proprietary formulation and secret recipe, shelf-testing it with a registered laboratory and performance testing…actually using the product day in and day out to see how it worked for us.
What we have now is the perfect dog treat product that we really love!
What makes our Peak Power Dog Treats different?
FIRST, our product is 100% sourced and made in the USA.
As explained in more detail below, we know where all the ingredients are sourced.
SECOND, we have a balanced product in the right proportions that mirrors the dog ancestral diet originally developed by Steve Brown, a renowned dog nutrition and dog raw food expert. It contains grass fed/free range muscle meats, grass fed organ meats, organic vegetables and organic fruits. We use broccoli and carrots for vegetables and apples for fruit. The dog ancestral diet is recommended by many leading veterinarians worldwide.
With this balanced formulation, we can feed our dogs as many treats as we want and not worry about their diet becoming imbalanced because they are loading up on treats (which is easy to do, especially when training).
And a little bit goes a long way. Our treats are highly nutritious and flavorful, so use a small amount. In fact, we use a specific jerky tool that shapes them so they are easy to break up into very very small pieces. This is unlike many other treats that come in their own size and are very difficult to make smaller. They might be cheaper than our treats, but end up costing you more because you are limited in how small you can make them.
THIRD, NOTHING ELSE ADDED…no growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, sugar, salt, grains, preservatives, stabilizers, antioxidants, artificial colors, artificial flavors, fillers, chemicals, and no GMO (genetically modified organism).
Because our product is so clean, it is especially attractive for dogs with allergies.
FOURTH, we grind our meat using the whole cow or chicken, which means even more balanced nutritional value. All other treats we can find use only specific parts of a large animals, not the whole body.
Using the whole cow or chicken also means we have a richly flavored meat, which is great for picky eaters. We have a money back guarantee that if your dog does not love them, return them for a full refund.
FIFTH, we source directly from 100% grass fed/free range only ranches that we personally inspect and that follow standards set by the American Grassfed Association for range land management, and follow standards set by the Global Animal Partnership for outstanding animal welfare. It is important to us to use and sell a product that is sourced from ranches whose animals are humanely raised.
A 2016 law relaxed the standards for labeling grass fed beef, allowing manufacturers to say meat is grass fed when it is not. It may be partially grass fed, but 30-days or more of finishing on grain in feedlots will completely reverse any benefits of grass fed meat. As a result, if you really want to verify that your beef is grass fed, you have to buy from ones that either have the American Grassfed Association designation, or visit them and conduct your own inspection (the designation can be expensive to obtain).
We know…pretty ridiculous (big company lobbying dollars at work to give us more unhealthy food…and politicians more than happy to take those lobbying dollars in exchange for favorable legislation).
We do not purchase through intermediaries, but direct from ranchers we know and trust who really care about their animals and their land. Cutting out intermediaries also ensures that our ranchers are getting paid top dollar for their product so that they can be profitable with their grass fed operation. Grass fed/free range operations are more expensive to operate than feedlot operations, so by funneling more dollars to ranchers, they are compensated for this increased expense.
SIXTH, we use only organic vegetables and fruits, some of which we grow on our own family-owned farm for use in our treats.
SEVENTH, we built our own USDA licensed kitchen on our family-owned farm to produce our dog treats, rather than outsource to a large production facility, which is how most companies do it.
This gives us direct control of our operations to ensure product quality and ensures that no other ingredients accidentally get mixed in, which can happen at large production facilities that produce for many dog food brands.
EIGHTH, our product is handmade in small batches – and each batch is about 18 pounds each.
This lets us keep a good eye on product quality and consistency. We produce only what we need to quickly sell it, rather than renting a co-manufacturer facility to produce a huge lot and then having it sit around for 6 months or longer to sell. The longer any food product sits around, the more it degrades.
NINTH, we use packaging that is recyclable and/or biodegradable.
Peak Power Dog Treats are not just human grade ingredients, because a lot of companies can say that, but OUR PRODUCT IS ONE WE WOULD BE WILLING TO EAT OURSELVES…AND WE DO!
Seriously…if you are not willing to eat the food you give your dog, why would you give it to your dog? (Confession…Ed is constantly digging into our Peak Power Dog Treats for his own personal consumption, much to the chagrin of our dogs).
When you buy from us, you are supporting the ranches, farms and small companies like us that produce with care and concern for livestock, land, environment and our beloved dogs. And, you are shifting your buying dollars away from the rest of the commercial pet food industry that has no such interests in mind.
Here's how we use our Peak Power Dog Treats
- Our treats are highly nutritious and flavorful, so a little goes a long way. You can break the treats up into very small pieces to ensure that your supply lasts, which is exactly what we do.
- Our shelf-stable treats are a dried product. Sue always recommends in her training to use soft treats, which you can accomplish by soaking our treats in some water before training.
- We leave some out in a cup on our kitchen counter so that periodically, we can grab one to give to our dogs to reward them.
- While our treats are shelf-stable, we always recommend with any pet food product to store in the refrigerator, freezer or at least in a cool, dry (30% humidity levels or less), dark place, as oxygen, light, moisture and heat degrade food. We only take out as much as we will need to last over a few days time.
Package weights and semi-soft versions
The listed weight on the package may vary from actual weight inside, as there are small differences in moisture content from one batch to the next based on temperature and humidity levels on the day we do the drying for each batch.
For in-person pickups (people that attend our classes, private training sessions or visit us at the farm), we sell semi-soft versions, but they must be refrigerated or frozen, as they will only last about as long as cooked meat does in a refrigerator. It is too cost prohibitive to ship the semi-soft treats in fully insulated packaging with ice packs, which is why we only offer them for in-person pickups.
If your dog has a particular allergy to either broccoli, carrots or apples, or you just want some more variety, we can produce a special lot for you with different vegetables and fruits (your choice, as long as we can purchase it locally and is not a food that should never be fed to dogs). Minimum purchase would be 11 jars (equal to a small batch production run for us). Please let us know first what you want so we can make sure we can do that before you place an order.
Our standard packages are mostly biodegradeable…we have not yet been able to get the label on biodegradeable paper.
Our bulk jars are in 32-ounce glass jars, which are great to reuse or recycle. We are happy to take back your used jars, as we can reuse them for our production. Just drop them off to us during classes, private training sessions or if you board your dog with us.