Starting Your Own Dog Business

Pet owners are estimated to spend 40.8 billion on their pets in 2007, predicted by the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA). As you probably already know, people love their pets and are willing to spend the money needed to keep their pet happy.

Of course this industry isn't for everyone, you have to love animals and not just your animals. You must be willing to deal with dogs who are not as cute as your puppy, yet give them just as much love.

Depending on the type of work you would like to go into, you may be signing up for a sweet "make-your-own-hours" day job or a "working into the wee hours of the night and weekends" type of job. Just because you are interested in going into the pet care industry, don't think that it will be a piece of cake....or a glazed dog treat!

There are many perks to owning your own business, yet at the same time, it is a lot of work. You need to be serious about seeing this dream through and working your hardest for it to succeed.

Getting Started

So, how do you make that first step of going from working for the Man, to working for the Dogs? Research, research, research. The internet is a great place to get this started. There are books, magazines, DVDs, and message boards devoted to this line of work.

Find our what will be best for you and your lifestyle. Research your state's laws and regulations for starting a business.

If you choose something like dog-walking, your peak hours could be from 12-5 since that is when the dogs would need to be let out of the house. If opening a store front dog bakery is more your style, be prepared to be there whenever the doors open.

While you are still in the dreaming stages, the possibilities are endless. Just one search on the internet will give you many options to choose from and some that you had never thought of before.

A few ideas to get you started

Below is a short list and a few links, of the many opportunities that are out there.

Many people leave their pets at home from 9-5. Instead of the owners having to take their dogs to a doggie day care, you could stop by daily and take the dogs on a walk and bathroom break.

Some people do not like to board their dogs at huge pet hotels. You would be able to give the owner a peace of mind by giving their dog a special place in your home while they are gone. Or you could go to their home and watch the pet there.

Some dogs require more grooming than others. You would be offering grooming either out of your home or in your own store. There are even options of mobile dog grooming setups, "in-home" grooming, etc.

Doggy Day Care
Just like day care of kids, pets get to have a fun day of playing with other dogs. It could either be for all day or just part of the day. This works well if you have a large area for the dogs to run and play.

Barkery (gourmet dog treats)
In this day and age, people are paying more attention to what they are eating and what their dog is eating. Here are some recipes to get you started. You could be a wholesaler and sell to retailers, or you could be a retailer yourself.

Obedience trainer
Dogs don't come with owner's manuals, so it's always a good idea to go to the experts. You can provide this service in a group setting, home setting or meet-up in a park. Everyone loves a well behaved dog.

Pet massage
Strange, but true, pet massage is a growing business. Learn how to massage pets as a "complimentary" healthcare for animals.

Pet accessories (clothing, furniture, etc.)
Dogs are kind of turned into baby dolls in a sense that people love to dress them up, give them miniature furniture or even paint their toenails. This business is all about making your dog look and feel beautiful.

Dog gift baskets
Who doesn't love gift baskets? Whether there is a new pup on the block, a sickly dog or a special occasion, you can be the one to brighten someone's day by using your creativity to compile a lovely gift basket.

If you are interested in getting into this business, but aren't ready to quit your day job, consider doing this on the side while you keep your full time job. Chat in our message boards about your ideas and get more input about your new venture. The nice thing about having your own business is being able to set your own hours. Your love for dogs will shine through and people will see that and be drawn to your enthusiasm. Go for it!

Have questions, comments, or suggestions about this?
Talk about it in the forums →


Eatamouse (about 9 years ago)

Dare I say the word 'Breeding'? Providing families and folks with a loving companion can be a rewarding hobby/business. For us it is mostly hobby as the money earned goes back into the dog environment, health care, food, vets, equipment and improvements. Staying small was important to us. We are retired and have five dogs....soon to be eight. Each male will have three girls. It is a hugh commitment. Be ready for NO time off , and alot of poop scooping.

devonator (about 9 years ago)

I'm currently researching starting a dog bakery. I already bake all my own dogs treats and also share with friends. They are all natural, wholesome treats with no sugars, salts or preservatives. It's something I enjoy doing and I know if will be alot of work but I believe it will also be alot of fun!

pugsly (about 9 years ago)

Keep us posted on your progress this could be something all of us would be interested in.

tanziesmom (about 9 years ago)

I bought cookie cutters in the shape of dog bones. I make my own treats for tanzie as well. They are fun and there is such a variety of recipes available on the internet.
It has saved me tons of money and I also know what she puts in her mouth, at least when I'm looking!!!!LOL

KatB (about 9 years ago)

devonator, Theirs a lady here in Quincy, that started a doggie cookie business and she is doing very well. Quincy is a small town, growing all the time. She also takes these cute little cookie bags into the Vets clinics and is allowed to sell. It really helped her get her start. I have heard she will bake a birthday cake for your puppy too. Sounds like a great idea. Good luck on this.