Jump to Main Content



Tips for Starting your Own Dog Treat Business; Healthy Dog Bakeries Done Right

Comment Count:

Comments welcome on this page. See Rules of Conduct.

Tips for Starting your Own Dog Treat Business; Healthy Dog Bakeries Done Right

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: January 18, 2010 Updated: September 16, 2013

According to the American Pet Product Association* (APPA), 45 million U.S. households now provide a home to the more than 77.5 million registered dogs in the U.S.


And these millions of dogs represent a burgeoning industry. From dog walkers to professional poop scoopers, mobile groomers to at-home pet sitters; the dog business is booming. In fact APPA spending statistics* show that in 2010, owners will spend a combined $47.7 billion on their pets.


And what do owners spend most of their money on? Not veterinary bills, but FOOD!

This year, Americans are predicted to spend almost twice as much on food for their pets in 2010 as they do on vet bills! So it's no wonder that many entrepreneurs are turning their passion for their furry friends into dog baker' or 'pet baker' business opportunities.


The Demand for Healthy Dog Treats


Driven by a spate of mass-produced commercial dog food recalls together with a general appreciation of the health and wellness benefits of a healthier diet for our pets, the consumer demand for natural or organic dog food products is experiencing a significant uptick.


And market data testifies to the fact:


Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S*. , MarketResearch.com)


You only need to look in the aisles of independent pet stores to see that more and more entrepreneurs are capitalizing on this opportunity by producing and selling home-baked, healthy, and organic high-unit value dog treats and biscuits (oftentimes from their own recipes or drawn from the hundreds of recipes available online).


So if you are thinking of starting a doggy bakery (organic, whole food or otherwise), here are some tips to get you started and navigate the laws that govern the pet food production business.


Observe the Proper Steps to Starting a Business


If you are a first-time business owner or entrepreneur, or even if you have some experience under your belt, these 10 Steps to Starting a Business from Business.gov will guide you through the process involved in making key business planning and financial decisions about starting a business.


Want to Operate your Business from your Home?


One of the first decisions you will need to make about starting your venture is choosing your business location. Starting a business out of your home is an increasingly popular and relatively low-risk option for entrepreneurs. However it does bring with it several regulatory obligations - especially if you intend to produce commercial food products in your home. Read 'Starting a Home-Based Food Production Business: Making Your Culinary Hobby Your Job to learn more about the rules and regulations that govern home-based catering or food production businesses.


Making those Treats - Food Preparation Options for Home-Based Business


If you intend to commercially produce food from your home whether for animal or human consumption, you have several options when it comes to the food preparation. Check out this quick guide - Food Preparation Options for Home-Based Food Businesses - to help you navigate the laws on commercial kitchens, co-packing arrangements, and home kitchen conversions.


Keeping those Treats Safe! Understand the Laws that Govern Pet Food Production


Although there is no requirement that pet food products need pre-market approval by the FDA, the agency, via the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), does require that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. For more information about pet food regulation and marketing, visit the FDA's Pet Food page and the Animal and Veterinary page for additional information.


You should also check with your county's Public Health Department for more information about proper business practices.


Want to Produce and Market Pet Treats Organically?


Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry - and the same laws that apply for human consumption apply to pets too.


To be truly organic in the production and retailing of pet food, you must be certified by the USDA, which requires compliance with production handling standards, labeling laws, and so on. Read Producing and Selling Organic Food Products - A Five Step Regulatory Primer to understand what a certified organic food product is and how you can get certified.


Additional Resources


*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley


I am thinking of starting to sell home made dog treats on my own dog site, http://www.bellyrub.net because as you stated in your article, pet owners spend a boatload of money on treats for their animals. I work at home anyway, so adding this little wrinkle to my business would not only be not as difficult for me as it might be for others, but it would also be very rewarding!
Hey your topic is great. Nice to read on this topic. seo
Greetings, The page is not found for this link from above: Food Preparation Options for Home-Based Food Businesses

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to leave comments. If you already have an SBA.gov account, Log In to leave your comment.

New users, Register for a new account and join the conversation today!