How to Start a Dog Treat Business from Home

How to Start a Dog Treat Business from Home (Complete Guide)

Learn how to start a dog treat business that pays you monthly recurring income.

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Imagine combining your love for dogs with a meaningful side hustle that you can do from home to earn an extra $1,000 per month.

It’s not just a dream. It’s entirely possible! 

Starting a dog treat business from your kitchen is incredibly fun and pretty simple to do once you have the right recipes and a clear plan in place.

You can even launch this venture with inexpensive tools that you likely already have in your kitchen.

Kristin Larsen of Diva Dog Bakery did just that, transforming her side hustle into a thriving and profitable business.

Now she offers this free training to anyone interested in learning how to start a dog treat business of their own.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the essential steps to turn your passion for pets into a successful dog bakery business!

How to Start a Dog Treat Business

Is There a Demand for Dog Treats?

In 2023, the global market for dog treats was worth $36 billion, and it’s expected to reach $275 billion by 2033.

This means the dog treats market is estimated to grow by an average of 22.5% each year over the next decade. With such big growth ahead, it’s clear that there’s a strong and growing demand for dog treats.

Starting a dog bakery business now is the perfect opportunity to tap into this growing market and do something you love!

Plus, some dogs require special diets that call for custom-made treats.

Dog owners are always on the hunt for these and are happy to pay extra for someone like you to make them!

Ready to Start Your Dog Bakery Business from Home? Take this free training to get the scoop on what dog treats sell the best and how much to charge!

Why Start a Dog Treat Business?

One of the best things about starting a dog treat business is its flexibility, low startup cost, and simplicity. 

You can launch your new venture with a small investment and basic kitchen equipment, like a KitchenAid Mixer

And if you’re already baking homemade dog treats for your pet, why not leverage this effort to make a few extra batches to sell and make extra money?

It’s a simple way to turn your hobby into a profitable venture!

Dog treat bakery business side hustle

This business also fits right into your schedule.

You can decide how much time to dedicate to your business, whether it’s just a few hours a week or full-time to make $100+ a day

Start small by testing recipes and selling locally, then scale up as your confidence and customer base grow. 

This flexibility makes it perfect for stay-at-home moms, teens looking to make extra money, and anyone wanting to balance other commitments while earning side hustle income.

Can You Make Dog Treats from Home and Sell Them?

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), an inspected commercial kitchen is not required for making pet foods.

Nor do many states require you to have a licensed kitchen for dog treats. 

Although this will vary from state to state.

For example, in California, processed foods including pet treats cannot be made in a residential home. They must be produced in an approved facility. (you can read more about CA pet treats compliance here)

To ensure you’re in compliance, check with your local state Department of Agriculture to see what specific rules apply to your area.

For states where you can start a dog treat business from home, you’ll need to comply with other requirements such as:

  • Obtaining necessary business licenses and permits
  • Ensuring your kitchen meets health and safety standards
  • Following pet food labeling regulations

Besides licenses and health standards, you’ll also need to comply with state and federal pet food regulations and undergo periodic inspections. 

Are Homemade Dog Treats a Good Business?

Absolutely! Homemade dog treats are considered a good business because of their recurring income potential, low start-up costs and high profit margins. 

Pet owners love spoiling their furry friends, who they consider family. Once they find treats their dogs love, they’ll keep coming back for more.

homemade dog treats side hustle

Additionally, by targeting a niche market, such as dogs with specific allergies, you can charge premium prices and increase your profits.

Then there’s special occasions and the holiday season, which can significantly boost your sales as more people look for personalized gifts for their pet parent friends!

How Profitable is a Dog Treat Business?

With the right branding and dog treat business plan strategy in place, your dog bakery business can become wildly profitable.

You can achieve this by developing a strong brand story that resonates with pet owners’ values and showcasing this through engaging packaging. 

For instance, you can create a line of wheat-free treats specifically designed for dogs with wheat allergies, and share your story about how these treats were inspired by your own pets’ needs.

This personal touch will help build trust and connect with customers who have similar concerns for their dogs. 

This connection fosters loyalty to your products and increases their perceived value, making customers more willing to pay a premium price for your items.

How Much Can You Make Selling Dog Treats?

Like with many side hustles, the earning potential can vary widely, depending on your level of commitment and dedication. 

As a fun and profitable hobby, you can easily make between $500 to $1,000 a month by dedicating just a few hours each week. 

During the busy holiday season, this can be a way to make an extra $700 fast!

And if you’re looking to turn your dog treat bakery into a full-time business, the sky’s the limit. 

With a more significant time investment of around 30 to 35 hours a week, you could see monthly earnings soar into the thousands, even reaching five figures. 

Everything You Need to Know on How to Start a Dog Treat Business

Starting a dog treat business can be incredibly rewarding, but it also requires a lot of upfront work before you can start seeing profits.

You’ll need to learn recipe development, product labeling and testing, costing products, small business marketing and accounting, and much more.

My best suggestion to avoid costly mistakes is to get a mentor. 

It doesn’t need to be Kristin Larsen of Diva Dog bakery. It can be anyone who has had success in starting a dog treat business.

The last thing you want to do is ‘wing it’ and lose time, money and motivation.

Dog bakery business

Step 1: Name Your Dog Treat Business 

First things first, you have to come up with a name for your new business!

Choosing the right name sets the tone for your brand and attracts customers, so keep it fun, memorable, and relevant to what you offer.

Tips for naming your dog treat business:

  • Figure out your unique selling points.
  • Highlight unique ingredients or themes.
  • Keep it simple and easy to spell.
  • Consider puns or playful language.

Dog treat business name ideas:

  • Bark & Chew Gluten-Free Treats
  • Grain-Free Pup Delights
  • Pawsitively Nature Treats
  • Arctic Bark Frozen Foods
  • Glacier Pup Raw Treats
  • Pilar’s Pooch Bakery

Now before finalizing a name for your dog treat business, check the site to ensure it’s not already taken. 

Do a trademark search to confirm you’re in the clear. 

The last thing you want is to receive a cease and desist letter and have to rebrand, reprint packaging labels, business cards, and change domain names!

Then make sure you secure your social media handles on platforms you plan to market your business online.

Step 2: Brand Your Pet Treat Business

As mentioned earlier, having a strong brand story and cohesive packaging will set you apart from the competition. 

My advice is to avoid generic names for your dog treat business and instead focus on creating a name that highlights its unique qualities and appeals to your target audience.

For logo, branding and packaging inspiration, you can check small business dog treat products selling on Amazon.

Brand Your Dog Treat Business

Then use a color palette generator to create attractive color combinations for your brand. For designing your brand materials, consider using Canva or hiring an unlimited design agency like No Limit Creatives for professional assistance.

Step 3: Register Your Business

Next up is to register your business and be compliant. 

For this, you’ll need to choose your business structure, such as creating an LLC, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, etc.

The structure you choose will affect how you pay your taxes and the paperwork you need to file. If you’re unsure about which structure to choose, then I would recommend consulting with a business consultant or accountant.

Once you register your business with your state, you can apply for an EIN number (Employer Identification Number)

This is what you’ll need to pay your taxes, hire employees, open your business bank accounts and apply for licenses and permits.

Step 4: Apply for Licenses and Permits

Visit your state’s official website for detailed instructions on food processing permits and licenses. 

Again, you want to make sure that you’re in complete compliance before you start your dog bakery business!

Don’t forget to check the FDA guidelines for pet food production. If you’re unsure, a quick call to your local Small Business Administration office can help clarify the process.

If this is all sounding overwhelming to you, then I completely understand! Starting a new business of any kind takes guidance and direction to mitigate making costly mistakes. This is one of the reasons, Kristin Larsen created Diva Dog Bakery! She put everything in one central place for you to get started on the right track.

Step 5: Fund Your Dog Bakery Business

Unlike starting an online business like an affiliate website which can be launched for under $100, a physical products business requires a relatively higher amount of startup capital.

Launching a new dog treat business from home can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.

Much of this comes down to your state requirements for starting your business as well as your scale and equipment needs. 

Dog treat maker and dog treat molds

Some of the typical start-up expenses you can expect include:

  • Initial Ingredients and Tools – Basic food ingredients, dog treat maker and treat molds, other kitchen and baking tools you don’t already own
  • Packaging – Pet treat packaging materials such as resealable pouch bags and labels for printing required ingredients label.
  • Business License – Depending on your state and business, this can cost between $50 – $200.
  • Registration Fees – $25 to $200 per treat to register your products, depending on state regulations

You can consider taking pre-sale orders to cover these initial costs even before you officially launch, especially if you have an extremely supportive friends and family network or a decently sized social media following.

Step 6: Set Up Your Kitchen to Make Dog Treats

Setting up your kitchen to make dog treats involves a few steps and tools to ensure efficiency and compliance with health standards. 

  1. First, designate a clean, clutter-free workspace where you can prepare your ingredients and mix your dough. Make sure to separate your dog treat equipment from your regular kitchen tools to avoid cross-contamination.
  1. Invest in a good quality mixer, like a KitchenAid Mixer, which can handle the thick dough often required for dog treats. This mixer is seriously a lifesaver. It saves time and maintains a consistent mix (which you need to make high-quality treats). 
  1. Have proper storage for your ingredients and finished treats. Airtight containers are great for keeping ingredients fresh and your treats safe from moisture. 
  1. Lastly, adhere to hygiene standards by regularly cleaning your workspace and equipment to maintain a sanitary environment.

Once everything is set up, you’ll be ready to start producing high-quality treats for your furry customers!

Step 7: Develop Dog Treat Recipes

Creating dog treat recipes might seem like a tall order, but in fact, it’s not incredibly hard to do.

All you need is an understanding of the common base ingredients, a few simple recipes to start with, and a willingness to experiment and adapt based on feedback from pet owners.

Develop Dog Treat Recipes

You can start by trying your hand at this free peanut butter dog treat recipe to get a feel for the process and see how your furry customers respond.

Then, experiment with other recipes that focus on healthy, vet-approved ingredients. And be sure to avoid harmful ingredients such as:

  • Sweeteners – (which can contribute to unhealthy weight gain in dogs and other issues)
  • Chocolate
  • Fillers (items that add bulk but little nutritional value)

Resources like the American Kennel Club and the ASPCA offer guidelines on safe ingredients for dogs. 

Step 8: Test Your Dog Treats

Once you’ve developed a few recipes, it’s time to test them! 

Bake small batches of treats and give them out for free to friends and family with dogs. The observe how the dogs react. 

Do they gobble them up or turn their noses?

Collect feedback from pet parents about their dogs’ preferences and any adverse reactions. Then adjust your recipes accordingly to improve their appeal and safety.

Once you find a winning recipe, you’ll need to have it lab tested for nutritional content and safety compliance, as well as to meet package labeling requirements.

Step 9: Sell Your Homemade Dog Treats

The number of places where you can sell your dog treats are endless!

You can choose to sell them online through social media and e-commerce websites or offline to friends and at farmers’ markets.

Online Places to Sell Homemade Dog Treats

  • Etsy: Probably one of the more well-known marketplaces to sell handmade, unique products.
  • Shopify: Great for creating your own online store. It offers full control over branding and customer experience.
  • Amazon: The platform offers the benefit of a built-in vast and diverse customer base, significantly increasing your potential sales and brand visibility.
  • Instagram Shop: Use social media to market and sell directly.
Etsy Homemade Dog Treats

Offline Places to Sell Homemade Dog Treats

  • Friends and Family: Start with your personal network for word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Dog Parks: Set up a small stand or hand out samples.
  • Farmers Markets: Set up a stand for a small fee and connect with local pet owners! You’d be surprised how many dog parents bring their pups to farmers markets.
  • Local Pet Stores: For more ambitious entrepreneurs, you can partner with stores to stock your treats.
  • Veterinary Clinics: Offer healthy, vet-approved options.
  • Pet Adoption Events: Give out a few free samples to shelters and engage with passionate (future) pet owners.

When you’re first starting out, try selling your dog treats in as many places as possible. Over time, focus on the locations that generate the most sales and highest demand.

Step 10: Make More Money and Profits

It’s always a good idea to have a dog treat business plan before you get started.

But to boost your earnings, you could try expanding your product line, catering to specific dietary needs, and exploring wholesale and retail opportunities. 

  1. Start by adding related products such as pet accessories or print-on-demand dog merchandise, which can be easily offered through platforms like Shopify. 

For inspiration, check out successful dog bakers like Masshole Dog Biscuit Co., which sells both treats and merch! They have diverse offerings and have built a strong brand presence both online and offline (with pop-up events).

  1. Catering to dogs with special diets, such as grain-free or vegan options, can also allow you to charge a premium. 
  1. Creating a subscription plan for regular customers means consistent revenue and customer loyalty. 
  1. Selling wholesale to local pet stores or veterinary clinics can significantly increase your sales volume. 
  1. Build a sales funnel to boost sales by offering upsells and increasing the total value of each customer’s order.

Your dog treat business can quickly turn into a money-making machine by implementing effective marketing strategies, offering upsells, and creating a loyal customer base!

Do You Need FDA Approval to Sell Dog Treats?

According to the FDA website:

“There is no requirement that pet food products have premarket approval by the FDA. However, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

How to Start a Dog Treat Business Conclusion

Now that you know how to start a dog treat business from home, you can decide whether this is a worthwhile business for you.

If you love dogs, baking, and are looking to make side hustle money, then this may be the best small business idea for you! 

If so, then register for the Diva Dog Bakery training to get started making money selling dog treats today.

Otherwise, feel free to continue reading about other ways to make money with these next side hustle ideas.

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