Enderby dog treat business making use of brewery's waste

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Tiny's Bones and Scones

Using a barley by-product from a local brewery, a recently launched Enderby dog treat business is hoping its new eye-catching K9 snacks will be a winner.

Enderby resident Tanja Tulak launched her homemade dog treat business, Tiny's Bones and Scones in December 2019 and it has surpassed all her expectations of how running her first business would go.

"I just decided let's go for it," Tulak told iNFOnews.ca. "I kind of jumped in and now I'm learning everything."

While Tulak's business is still small, she's managed to get her home-baked all-natural dog treats into over a dozen retailers around the North Okanagan and Shuswap and set up a "Dog Bakery" at Wet Spot Grooming and Pet Services in Vernon.

Her latest business avenue has been to pair with local breweries and use barley leftover from the brewing process as a key ingredient in the dog biscuits. Tulak said breweries have a large amount of the spent grain, and generally compost it or give to farms. In larger centres, they even pay to send it to landfill, but the byproduct makes a great natural ingredient for dog treats because it's high in protein and fiber. Tulak hasn't finalized the deal yet, so she won't give away which brewery it is, but she's optimistic for a successful partnership. She's currently asking the public to come up with a name for the treats. 

Tulak is set to pitch her business at the Enterprise Challenge in Vernon March 31. Run by economic development organization Community Futures, Tulak will pitch her business in a Dragon's Den style format and hope to be one of seven businesses that will then go onto a final competition in April and maybe grab the eye of an investor.

The idea to set up a dog treat business stemmed from another enterprise selling flowers at the end of her driveway.

"I thought I should put dog treats out there for people who walk by," she said.

After a couple of summers selling flowers and with her youngest of nine children (that's not a typo) due to start school she decided to venture into something new.

Using whole wheat flour or spent grains, along with nutritional yeast, olive oil and water, she currently bakes the sugar-free dog treats about three times a week and then dehydrates them before packaging. So far she's exceeded where she thought she'd be after just three months.

Feedback from customers, and their dogs, has been very positive and Tulak uses a neighbour's dog as a taste tester. She has to, because, somewhat ironically, the family has a cat — not a dog.

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