Do you love dogs and baking? If you’re looking for a fun way to make money from home, this is your all-in-one guide on how to start a dog treat business.
With info on how to sell dog treats online, how to package dog treats to sell, selling homemade dog treats regulations, selling dog treats on Etsy, and more!
Plus a fun interview with a mompreneur who owns a cool dog bakery business, with all her tips and tricks she’s learned so far!
So sit (good boy) and let’s get started!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Moms Make Bank: Starting a Dog Treat Business
If you’re new to Moms Make Bank, welcome to this series on the blog! I interview successful mompreneurs from many different fields who are juggling mom life with bringing in the dolla bills. These moms have diverse jobs, side hustles, and businesses. Some of these revenue streams you might never even have heard of before.
Many of these jobs are online or work-from-home jobs. These ladies will share how they started up and grew these flexible businesses so they could make a great income while having more time at home with their kids. They break it all down so you can learn these flexible ways to make money too!
So sit back with a cup of coffee and get inspired! Today’s feature: how to start a dog treat business!
If you missed it, you can read the other entrepreneur stories here:
- How to Become a Freelance Proofreader
- Make Money Writing Romance Ebooks (and self-publish on Amazon)
- How to Make Money on Amazon FBA
- Make Money Freelance Writing
- How To Become a Professional Organizer
Watch the 5 key things every business needs to be successful:
How to Start a Dog Treat Business – Answering Your Questions
Let’s jump right into some common questions people have when considering how to start a dog treat business! Then we’ll get to the interview with a mom who recently started a dog treat business.
How to Package Dog Treats to Sell
Packaging your homemade dog treats to sell will depend on a few things:
- Your budget
- Where you’re selling the dog treats (locally or online)
- Ingredients in the dog treats
- How long you want the dog treats to last
Let’s go into each of these in more detail.
The cuter and higher quality the packaging, generally the more you’ll pay for it. Since your customers are buying gourmet dog treats, in general they are willing to pay extra for the cute factor.
While you don’t want your packaging to be so expensive, a dog treat business should have interesting package that displays the dog treats well.
Locally sold dog treats can have less durable packaging than dog treats that are sold online and shipped across the country.
If your ingredients are wet at all (think dog-friendly frosting on pupcakes) you won’t be able to stack them in a package. They’ll have to be sold in a single-layer in a box or tray.
But if you sell dog biscuits plain or with a hardened “frosting”, you’ll be able to package these in bags or boxes.
In terms of how long you want the dog treats to last, a very general rule is the drier the food, the longer it will last. Cookies last longer than cupcakes, and drier/crispy cookies last longer than soft or moist cookies.
When I had my organic bakery, I noticed a huge difference in how long packaged cookies would last depending on the packaging.
If I packaged them in thinner, cheaper bags, they were only fresh for a few days. When I invested in thicker, higher quality food bags, they stayed delicious and fresh for almost two weeks. It was a huge difference.
Supplies for Packaging Homemade Dog Treats
I bought a heat sealer similar to this one. It made packaging up my treats to sell, super easy and quick – highly recommended.
For selling human cookies, I used these window bags and customers loved being able to see the product. I see many dog bakery owners using something similar to sell their dog treats.
Selling Homemade Dog Treats Regulations
Regulations can vary depending on your state.
In general selling dog treats will have more relaxed regulations compared to selling human treats.
This doesn’t mean anything goes.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled (reference).
First of all, pet food products don’t need preapproval by the FDA.
Most states will require that you have a business license for your dog treat business.
Before you sell dog treats online or locally, you have to register your products in the state you’ll be selling them.
So if you sell locally, you’ll register just in that one state.
If you sell online, you have to register for all the states you’re going to sell your dog treats to.
You can visit the AAFCO website to find out more.
Can I Sell Homemade Dog Treats on Amazon?
You certainly can!
To find out what homemade dog treats are selling well on Amazon, check out this page.
It shows the best sellers in the Handmade Dog Treats category on Amazon, and is updated hourly.
You can get an idea of the type of packaging that people use, and the ones that catch your eye. It goes without saying but never copy another business (I know you wouldn’t do that!). You can get inspiration from the dog treat businesses that are successful.
Selling Dog Treats on Etsy
Dog treats are a popular niche on Etsy.
You can find everything from seasonal-shaped dog treats (pumpkins and Christmas trees!) to vegan treats, waffles for dogs, and even doggie apple pies which are ridiculously adorable.
As with anything else on Etsy, the more listings you have, the better in terms of your reach on Etsy. Your products will be shown to more potential customers if you have twenty five listings versus three.
Customers like to see a full shop when they browse a shop page on Etsy.
To learn how to set up an Etsy shop for your dog treat business check out this course.
Best Course to Learn How to Start a Dog Treat Business
A beginner can make $500-$1000 a month selling dog treats from home.
With more experience and scaling, you can make 5-figures a month with a homemade dog treat business.
Instead of trying to figure this all out on your own, you can take the shortcut to having a successful dog treat business and take this course.
You will learn how to make and sell healthy, homemade dog treats.
And here you can get a free homemade dog treat recipe from the Diva Dog Bakery course. This is something you can make and sell in your own dog treat business.
The Diva Dog Bakery course will make everything simpler for you. From giving you all the recipes you need for your dog treat business, to how to price your dog treats, packaging, legalities of selling dog food, shipping, everything you need.
Dog Treat Business Owner Interview: Stacey Downie of Pawsitively Perfect Creations
To show you how to start a dog treat business, I brought in my former client Stacey of Pawsitively Perfect Creations to answer some questions.
Take it away!
Q1: Tell us a bit about you and your journey to starting a dog treat business online. What do you do, when did you start, how much you work per week, etc.
Stacey: I started working a few MLM jobs but it wasn’t anything that I really wanted to do.
I went to college for animal behavior and after having kids it was hard to find something I could do.
Then I opened up my own business, which my focus was retail and Cricut designs and under a different name. I then switched gears again, tying in my love for pets and making pet products.
I still wasn’t getting many people to make purchases. Then I switched AGAIN to making starting a pet bakery! I love baking so it just made sense! So I started researching to make sure I had what I needed to start.
The dog treat bakery took off to my surprise! This is month three of starting and finalizing what I actually wanted my business to be. I work on my own schedule which is awesome!
I keep a monthly pre-order list which I only make these baked goods one time a month. I take custom orders for cakes and pupcakes by appointment, and recently I just added shipping specific treats!
In all I work 5 days a month ONLY because I just started and it takes time to grow!
Q2. What profit can you make from starting a dog treat bakery?
Stacey: I only started a couple months ago so I don’t have income numbers yet.
Every business is different on how they look at things. In my eyes, I have only made an income when I am in the green. As you all know, it takes money to start a business.
I have an Excel sheet set up for my finances on what I have spent for pans, ingredients, bags, tags and more.
I have sold many dog treats, dog cakes and cupcakes but I’m still in that negative number. Most businesses don’t make anything the first year because of what it takes to set up your business.
I am happy to say that I am super close to getting out of the red, meaning all of my inventory and supplies to start my business are paid off.
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Q3. How do you balance your homemade dog treat business with family?
Stacey: I am a mom of 3 crazy little boys that are ages 5, 4, and 2 so to say I’m busy is an understatement!
My oldest just started kindergarten this year. I home school Pre-K to my other two. We have the older two boys in soccer and for winter they are going to be doing hockey. Plus I have housework to do, and a marriage.
But the most important thing I have learned is you can’t fill someone’s cup if your cup is empty.
So finding my business has helped me do something I love and help me feel like I’m doing more for my family since I’m better mentally.
As for balance, I have a schedule.
I only take orders if I can make it work. I have my family scheduled FIRST. Then for my monthly orders I do it on a calm day where we are just hanging out.
As for appointments, that’s the best part of owning the dog treat bakery business. I make it if I can and I don’t stress on it!
Once my other kids are in school I will open my dog treat business work schedule more.
Q4. What was the hardest thing about figuring out how to make money selling gourmet dog treats online?
Stacey: For me, it was research on finding all the laws and regulations.
I have had so many mixed signals on what is legal for shipping dog treats.
So finding what was true was hard for me.
–> To take a massive shortcut, get the Diva Dog Bakery course which will teach you everything you need to know for how to start a dog treat business. Including all the legal stuff!
But I have used word of mouth sharing my Facebook business page, sharing photos of my products, and asking for reviews from my customers to grow. People love sharing which kind of shocked me!
I have customers I have never even met before and they are sharing my page now! I am part of many groups on Facebook as well. Most have a small business Saturday thread and that’s another place I share.
But being kind and simply asking people to comment, like and share will get the word out.
Q5: Why do you think you have made money with your gourmet dog treat business where other people haven’t?
Stacey: It’s honestly a newer industry. I have not seen many people selling homemade dog treats to begin with.
I put a high amount of care into my dog treat products and take pride in them.
I have gone to a few veterinary clinics with my list of ingredients to make sure they are all pet safe.
Multiple vets said my ingredients are perfect, so that gives me confidence in the safety of my dog treats.
I use organic products and make my own homemade peanut butter because some peanut butters have chemicals in them that I don’t want my own pets to have!
I am super passionate in making a limited ingredient safe product for my own pets. I know other pet owners will be happy too!
So many dog treat companies have added ingredients that are not necessary. Taking it back to the basics is important for me!
6. What is your best advice for how to start a dog treat business?
Stacey: Keep it simple!
My homemade dog treats don’t have all the frostings and such, and there is a good reason for this:
There is not a single good recipe for pet safe frosting so I’m not using it!
Be passionate and creative, and the most important part is do NOT do it for the money.
If you keep trying to do things because you can and not because you want to, you will fail. I know this because I have tried at least 6 different products and businesses myself and failed at every single one because I was just doing it for the money.
So if you love baking, and passionate about animals then go for it!
And always remember things take time to thrive!
Final Thoughts on How to Start a Dog Treat Business
Thank you to Stacey for giving us the inside perspective on starting a dog treat business!
It sounds like such a great work-from-home business idea. I loved hearing how she balances her business with motherhood.
If you’re interested in starting a homemade dog treat business, you can take a BIG shortcut by learning from this course. It will teach you recipes, packaging, food regulations, pricing, the whole deal.