This Monroe, Wash.-based pet food and treat manufacturer has found success in selecting only human-grade ingredients.
Wet Noses was founded by Jasmine “Jazz” Galligan in 1998 in her 700-square-foot garage. By 2009, the business moved into a 15,000-square-foot facility and purchased its first tunnel oven, which came from an old pita chip company. Today, Wet Noses manufactures product in an 87,000-square-foot facility, where 70 employees produce nearly 10 different formats of pet food and treats.
The company’s big jump into new formats came in 2014 when they introduced six new products at Global Pet Expo 2014. Some of those new products included: Wag Soup, a gently cooked shelf-stable stew sold in glass jars as a topper for traditional kibble; dehydrated dog food patties that rehydrate almost immediately; and jerky-style treats.
The company’s current offerings under the Wet Noses brand include wet food for dogs, dehydrated food for dogs, wet dog food toppers, crunchy dog treats, big bones dog treats, dog jerky, CBD treats for dogs, and wet food for cats.
Wet Noses is currently producing nine different formats of pet food and treats in-house at the company’s facility near Seattle. The formats include baked treats, enrobed treats, dehydrated treats, dehydrated dog food, baked dog food, jarred wet pet food and toppers, and frozen pet food and toppers.
Currently, 85% of Wet Noses’ production is focused on manufacturing treats and approximately 15% is pet food. The production is split between non-branded and co-manufactured products.
Led by Chief Executive Officer Johnni Rodgers (pictured above wearing the white t-shirt), the wet noses management team plans to continue developing innovative new product formats. Rodgers was appointed in October 2020 to lead the company through its next phase of growth.
Pictured from left: Andrew Choisser, maintenance manager; Don Worthen, shipping and receiving manager; Kim Murrell, frozen manager; Johnni Rodgers; Tim Stanton, director regulatory affairs; Robert Prystash, vice president operations; Michael-Paul Cummings, baking manager; Misty Barnett, director of operations; Karianne Ryder, research and development manager.
One unique Wet Noses product is its dehydrated dog food formulas. The company cooks the protein for these formulas, then blends the shredded protein with fruits, vegetables and other healthy ingredients before shaping the products with an automated patty former. After the patties are formed, they are dehydrated. This unique product offering rehydrates in two minutes, and grew out of the need for Galligan to feed her dogs as she traveled promoting Wet Noses.
Choosing to maintain a human-grade facility to produce pet food means meeting human food processing standards as well as animal food processing standards. Between the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture and SQF requirements, Wet Noses is typically audited four or five times per year. The company’s processing is also certified organic, which brings an additional level of scrutiny.
“We are implementing the World Class Operational Excellence program that utilizes Lean, Six Sigma and Total Productive Maintenance methodology and tools to deliver world class safety, quality, cost, productivity, service and employee engagement,” said Robert Prystash, vice president of operations for Wet Noses.
Maintaining a wide breadth of processing capabilities within one 87,000-square-foot facility does create some complexities in terms of ingredients, storage and scheduling, but Prystash said the company has a great team of hardworking employees that manage the complexities flawlessly day in and day out.
Wet Noses receives a lot of attention for its human-grade philosophy to making pet food and treats, but Galligan attributes a large part of the company’s success to the employees.