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Wild for Animals? Check Out the Top 6 Franchises for Pet Lovers Here's how to own your own business... while spending time with furry (or feathered) friends.

By Jason Fell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mike Linnane/500px | Getty Images

With everyone focused on social distancing and keeping our families healthy, one detail that hasn't been forgotten is our pets. After all, our dogs and cats and other animals are part of the family, too.

In these uncertain times, with businesses from across industries figuring out how to move forward, pet-supply and pet-care businesses have been considered essential services by many states. If you're thinking that now is finally the time to own a business and take control of your financial future, one potentially smart way is to open a pet-related franchise—especially if you're wild about animals. Not only will you pursue a business you're passionate about, but you'll tap into a proven franchise model offering support that has survived the test of time.

From doggy day care to bird watching to pet supplies, the following are the top pet franchises on Entrepreneur's 2020 Franchise 500 list.

RELATED: A Complete Guide: 8 Ways to Take Care of Your Pet During Covid-19

1. Pet Supplies Plus

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 50
  • Initial investment: $440,600 to $1,315,200
  • Initial franchise fee: $49,900
  • New units in 2019: 17 units (3.8 percent)

Franchising for three decades (since 1990), Pet Supplies Plus is a supermarket-style pet food and supply franchise. Beyond selling products, Pet Supplies Plus stores offer grooming, self-serve pet washes, and adoptions events.

RELATED: 4 Reasons the Pandemic Is a Boon for the Pet Industry

2. Dogtopia

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 71
  • Initial investment: $757,253 to $1,553,415
  • Initial franchise fee: $49,500
  • New units in 2019: 30 units (40 percent)

Focusing on education, exercise, and socialization, Dogtopia offers dog daycare and boarding services. The company was founded in 2002 and has been franchising since 2005.

RELATED: 9 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Animal Lovers

3. Petland

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 118
  • Initial investment: $290,500 to $1,065,500
  • Initial franchise fee: $40,000
  • New units in 2019: 41 (21.5 percent)

Franchising since 1971, Petland stores sell fish, birds, cats, dogs, small animals, reptiles and pet food and accessories. And the brand is global with stores throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, France, Chile and Israel.

RELATED: How YouTube's Top Wildlife Star Turned Getting Bitten by Animals Into Over 13 Million Subscribers

4. Wild Birds Unlimited

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 137
  • Initial investment: $150,837 to $260,991
  • Initial franchise fee: $30,000
  • New units in 2019: 9 units (2.7 percent)

The stores in this Carmel, Ind.-based franchise sell everything related to birds: bird-feeding and bird-watching supplies, including birdhouses, feeders, food, and binoculars. Wild Birds Unlimited was founded in 1981 and has been franchising for 37 years. Many U.S. and Canadian markets are still available for development, the company says.

RELATED: Tiger, Peacock, Owl, Koala—which Kind of Leader Are You?

5. Camp Bow Wow

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 248
  • Initial investment: $751,000 to $1,458,500
  • Initial franchise fee: $50,000
  • New units in 2019: 13 (8.3 percent)

Camp Bow Wow locations don't just offer dog day care services and overnight boarding. They are also equipped with live webcams so customers can check in on their pets at any time, from anywhere. Ideal franchisees will have a serious passion for pets. "You can't fake passion to your customers, you cannot fake it that you care about dogs to your staff," the Colorado-based company says. Camp Bow Wow was founded in 2000 and has been franchising since 2003.

RELATED: The Couple Behind 'Dogs of Instagram' Started It as a Pet Project

6. Pet Wants

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 376
  • Initial investment: $59,830 to $202,000
  • Initial franchise fee: $38,500 to $48,500
  • New units in 2019: 55 units (79.7 percent)

Pet Wants owners pride themselves on selling pet food manufactured from whole ingredients, containing no by-products, with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of animals. Franchising since 2015, the brand has two models: a retail store or a mobile model. Both versions include delivery services.

Jason Fell

VP, Native Content

Jason Fell is the VP of Native Content, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.

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