Pollock Skin Dog Treats Approach Final Form

Chris Sannito holds a box of pollock skins. Kayla Desroches/KMXT
Chris Sannito holds a box of pollock skins. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A local line of pollock skin dog treats is closer to its final form.

A while ago, KMXT covered a story about seafood technology specialist Chris Sannito and his colleague at Alaska Sea Grant concocting dog treats. On Tuesday, Sannito is heading to the Lower 48 to shape the snacks.

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Sannito says he’s flying to Tampa, Florida to squeeze roughly 500 pounds of pollock skins into a close-to-final product. He says, previously, they had been experimenting with shelf-life, and now they have ideas for product forms. Like a star shape.

There are other shapes they could form the treats into, like fish, but in the end, it’s all about the taste. For the canine customer, anyway. Sannito says the product’s flavor is already a hit with his dog, Sammy.

“Anytime I’m working with it, he’s all over my clothes and my jacket and my pockets. When I come home, he gets pretty wound up.”

Sannito pulls out his phone and shows me a video of Sammy choosing between two closed fists. His dog chooses the left hand.

“In the left hand was the pollock skin product and in the right hand was Yummy Chummies, which I’ve been using with my dog for a while. I don’t know if it’s the freshness or the high percentage of fish skin. It’s just the dogs pick up on that right away. At least my dog – he prefers that.”

He says one change they’ve made while developing the product is to add a type of fat called glycerol to soften the treat.

“At this time, the pollock skin, when it dries, it’s very brittle. And most dogs don’t seem to mind it, but I think making it slightly softer will be an improvement. It’ll also be a bit of a stabilizer too, ‘cause it’ll bind of the – if any – free waters in there, it’ll bind that up.”

He says renting the extrusion facility in Florida is pricey – roughly $5,000 a day – but they’ll only need one day to crank out the treats.

Sannito says the next step after the trip to Florida is to be determined and they’ll see how things turn out.

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