Interview with Amy Randall, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACDV about Serenegy
- What is your philosophy with regard to the food and treats a responsible pet parent should feed her companion animals?
Food and treats should be good quality, limited ingredient proteins and, if possible, from a smaller company which provides more personal attention to ingredient sourcing and manufacturing. Treats need to also be made in the USA. I try to research all the companies whose products we carry at the clinic to make sure the ingredients are pure and sourced in the USA or Australia (e.g. kangaroo). Do not use China made products and look at all the ingredients and where the food was manufactured.
- Why, when and how did you start formulating your own dog treats?
My sister and I started this company in 2004. I was having a hard time finding palatable treats for my patients. My sister was the one who did all the research for the ingredients and sourcing so we could make the treats from quality products. I told her what we could use based on the majority of dogs with food allergies and what ingredients would be compatible with the diets I fed my patients for food trials. We collaborated and she formulated these amazingly palatable treats for my dogs who suffer from food allergies. So, we started making these treats in our own kitchens and started very small and initially made only enough for my clients.
- What were the steps that led you to decide to establish Serenegy?
We both wanted to own a business and try and make a great product with the possibility of becoming a larger company and offering more options for my clients and my colleagues. It gradually became bigger and I slowly introduced my product to more of my associates and they started to use them due to the great acceptance by the pets. We wanted something we could trust with no cross contamination in the manufacturing process.
- What is the Serenegy philosophy?
Serenegy’s philosophy revolves around finding the purest ingredients which are human grade with no contaminants in the flours. We try to source all our ingredients within the United States if possible. We also promote local purchasing of ingredients if we can find the quality we need to make our treats. We aim to provide the consumer and veterinarian with confidence in our products. We hand bake these treats in our own bakery under strict guidelines which allows us to maintain control of all the ingredients and completely avoids cross contamination between the different products. We also ship and bag all the treats by hand. It is still a very small company but we will never allow our strict guidelines to be compromised if we grow. I provide treats specifically formulated for animals with food allergies and that will remain our focus. We guarantee our products.
- How do your clinical practice philosophy and the Serenegy philosophy complement each other?
I want the best for my patients and I offer the best treatment options for my clients. My clinic provides a strong support system for the clients and I have a lot of staff members to help and manage our tough allergy and immune mediated disease patients. We pride ourselves in client communication and reaching out to them on a continual basis. It is ultimately up to the client to decide if the suggested treatment plan is how they would like to proceed for management of the different diseases.
Both my sister and I want the same thing for Serenegy and our products. We try to educate the clients and consumers about the differences between our products and off-the-shelf treats and about why they may want to select Serenegy over other treats if they have a very finicky dog or a dog with food allergies. However, our treats are not just for food allergy patients – any dog would enjoy them. The treats are wholesome and highly palatable with no artificial ingredients or flavors.
- What products does Serenegy offer and what makes those products different from others on the market?
We offer 3 different treat flavors. (Oat; Duck and Potato; and just Potato) We also offer wrap-it powder which is either oat or potato flavored. This is a different form of pill pockets. This product comes in a powder form and when the client needs to make a pill-wrap they mix water with a specific amount of the powder to create a dough which can then be wrapped around the pill and fed to the pet. In addition, the powder can be used to sprinkle over food to entice animals to eat their food or it can be turned into gravy just by adding more water. The powder is more cost effective than commercial pill pockets and does not have any artificial preservatives like Greenies pill pockets. We are trying to keep all our products pure and avoid the use of glycerin or gelatin since these are plant or animal based ingredients which could possibly cause a problem for food allergy pets.
- Why limited ingredients?
Limited ingredients were the foundation of Serenegy since I was trying to offer my clients treats for their food allergic animals. When my sister and I started this company there were very few treat options for food allergic animals. This is why we decided on limited ingredient but also because we expanded our requirements to include all natural and no artificial preservatives and flavors. We wanted something simple with few ingredients which the owners could read the names of and understand.
- What should a responsible pet parent look for when deciding which treats to purchase?
All natural, made in the USA, made with ingredients from the USA if possible, limited ingredients, no preservatives or artificial flavors. Avoid rawhides due to the presence of possible foreign bodies and because most are made of beef. Identify with and research the company and don’t buy something based on just the appearance of the treat or name of the treat.
- Do you also make products for cats?
We have tried unsuccessfully to make several different cat treats but since they are much more finicky and have a much more sophisticated palate than dogs do it has been hard to find something a majority of cats will eat without the ingredients which contribute to food allergies. We can not use chicken or fish in our ingredients and these are the most palatable flavors for cats. We are going to continue to try but it is a slow work in progress.
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