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Want to start a dog treat business? I’s how I did it.

Updated on October 8, 2011
My Organic Dog Treats
My Organic Dog Treats

Deep down, I think most of us have an entrepreneurial streak. I do and the fact that you’re taking the time to read this, means that you do too. You’ve probably had dozens if not hundreds of ideas for starting your own business over the years but find yourself hitting the same obstacles that I did.

The Obstacles:

  • Not enough money to get your business idea off the ground.
  • Your working/studying/taking care of your kids etc full time and struggle to find any spare time to invest in getting your business up and running
  • You don’t know HOW to start a business

In a nutshell, it comes down to three things. Money, time and lack of the right knowledge.

Well the good news is that just about every business owner out there came up against those same obstacles in the beginning. The secret is to find a business that fits in with your lifestyle.

Oh, by the way, I’m assuming that because you’re reading this article that you are also a dog lover. I hope that’s okay with you?

Early this year I had my ‘Eureka!’ moment when I was feeding my Labrador some dog treats that I’d bought at the local pet store. I won’t go into too much detail in this article, you can read about it on my website if you like. I’ll add a link at the bottom of this page. Anyway, right there and then, I realized that I’d found my perfect business and I think it’s perfect for any dog lover with a desire to start their very own business too.

Why is it perfect?


It’s the kind of business that requires very little start-up capital. From having the idea to having my very first dog treat stall at a local show, I spent around $250. A lot of that was on items that I can use over and over again such as cookie cutters and a sign for my stall. There’s not many businesses out there that can be started for that kind of money that’s for sure.


It’s also the sort of business that doesn’t take up too much of your time. Sure, in the beginning you’ll need to spend some time experimenting with dog treat recipes but it’s a lot of fun and your dog will love you for it. After all, he gets to be chief cookie taster!


This was one problem that I struggled to overcome initially. I had no knowledge of the dog treat industry and I really do mean none whatsoever. Fortunately, after a few frustrating weeks of searching online for information, I stumbled upon a very useful book on the subject. It not only rescued my dream of starting my own dog treat business but it also filled me with inspiration.

So, as far as knowledge goes, in no particular order, here is a very condensed version of what you’ll need to start and succeed in your own dog treat business.

  1. A name for your business
  2. A unique selling point - What’s so different about your treats that people will choose them over any other treat? It might be that they are made with organic ingredients or perhaps they have fancy frosting on them. Just something to make them a little different from boring, run of the mill dog treats.
  3. A place to bake - I bake mine at home.
  4. A few recipes - There’s 100’s of dog treat recipe books out there to help you get started with this. There’s also 1000’s of dog treat recipes online. You can use these for inspiration and ultimately, come up with your very own recipes. I’d suggest creating just four recipes to begin with. Perhaps a couple of savory ones and a couple of sweet ones. Once your business is up and running and you’re making money you can then expand your range.
  5. Test your treat recipes - This is the fun bit. Make a few batches of your treats and try them out on your own dog and friends and families’ dogs. The sense of satisfaction when you see dogs actually enjoying the treats that you have made is immense!
  6. Packaging - You will need to decide how you are going to package your treats. I use brown paper bags but you can also use clear cellophane bags (they cost a little less)
  7. Labels - You’ll need a nice looking label to stick on your bags. The design doesn’t need to be anything too fancy to begin with.
  8. Pricing - Do some research online to see what others are charging for handmade dog treats and charge a similar price. Don’t be tempted to undercut the competition. Remember, your treats are unique and worth the money.
  9. Selling - You can start off by selling your dog treats to friends and family but sooner or later, if you want to make a real success of your business, you’ll need to start selling to the public. A good way to start doing this is by having a stall at small, local dog shows. This ‘face to face’ kind of selling is also an excellent way to get feedback on your treats. I learned a lot from selling this way and I’d highly recommend it. Later on, you might also consider selling your treats online.
  10. Have fun!

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you’re thinking about starting your own dog treat business I say just go for it! What’s the worst that could happen?

You can read more about my pet treat business and the book that inspired me so much here.


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    • profile image

      nickie 19 hours ago

      Just google it and u will find out!!!!!!

    • profile image

      MaryJane Irwin 6 weeks ago

      I'm wondering why none of the questions re: licensing and permits were ever answered....

    • profile image

      Shelia 3 months ago

      Do i need a license to sell treats to family friends or online like fb to our community? Ty

    • profile image

      Brenda Lins 4 months ago

      You didn’t answer anyone’s questions...

    • profile image

      Tpoda 4 months ago

      Wondering if a licence is needed?

    • profile image

      Leah 10 months ago

      Do you need any special license to sell pet treats? I have my own business that I'm trying to get out there, but a few have told me that I need a license. Is this true?

    • profile image

      Sharon 11 months ago

      Thanks for your insight! I'm currently at the "product testing" stage and it can be a bit daunting at times . I need to find bag manufacturers and maybe somebody good at graphic design to help with the overall "look".

      Thanks for your help it has been much appreciated.

    • profile image

      PH 16 months ago

      Do you put a best by date on your treats?

    • profile image

      Ari 17 months ago

      I love this!

      I have a german shepherd who has an incredibly sensitive stomach, anything from a pet store caused him severe vomiting.

      We found some DIY recipes online for treats and he holds them down like a champ!

      Turns out, he won't even TASTE the pet store brands anymore!

      This inspired me to want to make dog treats for others who may be struggling with a pup with a sensitive stomach and even just want something natural and healthy for their furry friend.

      I absolutely loved this blog post, I've read through so many that are blunt and make ZERO sense, yours is well organized and quick to the point but full of information at the same time. Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Tony Sewell 19 months ago

      I've read all of your questions and just about all of them can be answered by purchasing the book he mentions above. It is high-lighted, just click on it and you'll get to it. It's Called "Bake a Dog a Bone." I purchased it and it is just a God-send for those of us starting out in this business. It's an e-book so you'll have it immediately. Read it all. Its very easy to understand and follow. Best of luck!

    • profile image

      Beth Powers 2 years ago

      What about State and Federal regulatory requirements for pet foods. What agencies regulate labeling; etc.

    • profile image

      Patricia S Moy 2 years ago

      Just wondering about any permits to sell dog treats (baked goods only) I live in California and want to have an on-line shop.

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      Cee Jay Kay 2 years ago

      I'm concerned about state licensing and liability insurance. What if for some reason my dog treats cause a dog to get sick? Yes they are organic, and the ingredient list is extremely simple but that doesn't mean a dog can't have an allergy to something like peanut butter. I've already started to experiment selling my treats at various events. I'm not concerned that they won't sell.

    • profile image

      Allison 2 years ago

      Hi Ya’ll,

      I have a important question.. thinking about renting a table at a local crafts fair to kick off my small doggie treats business, but not sure how to make and keep that many biscuits on hand to sell and not run out. Fair coordinator said last year they had 10,000 visitors in just 5 hours! May be a simple concept to someone out there and would be of value to me. I’m lost. Love the dog park idea too! Many thanks and tips appreciated.



    • profile image

      Melissa 3 years ago

      Im planning on doing this as well...pricing is not easy for me to come up with so any help or advice would be great! Also, besides a business license, is there anything else that I need to obtain?

    • profile image

      Cinda Woodyard 3 years ago

      How did u get all of your state things done that we need to done to state ready

    • profile image

      jasmin 4 years ago

      Thanks a bunch for posting such a detailed article about the doggie treat business. Now I feel a little bit more confident and ready to get the ball rolling soon! :-)

    • profile image

      please Contact me! 4 years ago

      I am starting to make and sell homemade dog biscuits but unsure what to ask on price!!?? I have a instagram account and its a dog profile. I have a lot of dog followers and they will buy so gna advertise there to start. Don't know what to charge and by the dozen or half dozen? And shipping! Please help email me! Ty!

    • profile image

      Tiffany 4 years ago

      Hi! I am about to start a dog treat business and your page was one of the first ones that I read when I got this idea. I have some questions before I make that leap and I was hoping you could help. Can you email me at, please?

    • profile image

      Allie 5 years ago

      Hi! So i have a very big love for animals of every type, and I thought this would be a good way to earn money.....but im only thirteen! I really want to try this but how can i without people thinking im a joke. please help soon!

    • leshey profile image

      leshey 6 years ago from England

      Thanks for your kind words and I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the article! I'm looking forward to writing my next hub!!!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Hi and a very warm welcome to Hub Pages!

      I really enjoyed this first hub of yours. Not only because I'm a dog lover myself, but your idea for your own business is awesome! I also like the information given in the hub - very concise but very clear.

      Many thanks for sharing this great idea!