Barking Up the Right Tree: 14 Business Ideas for Pet Lovers

If you are comfortable with cats or have a passion for pooches, why not start a pet-related business?

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By Entrepreneur Staff

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Calling all lovers of dogs, cats, birds and everything in between: Have you ever thought about turning your passion for pets into a business? Have your pick of the litter and consider pursuing one or more of these 14 pet-related business ideas. 

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Dog walker

Dog walkers provide pooches with much-needed exercise and potty breaks. Bill clients for individual walks or arrange a weekly or monthly service. Set aside a half an hour to an hour for each dog. 

Tip and treats: Who let the dogs out? You did, by purchasing a coupler. Now you can walk two dogs at a time and earn twice the money. You will also need to pick up the pooch’s "business" while on the walk. Invest in quality poop bags to make the less-than-desirable task easier.

Related: Business Ideas You Can Start With Just a Few Hours a Week

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Pet sitter

Pet sitters provide animals with one-on-one care when their owners are at work. Determine what kind of pets you will watch. While you may be comfortable with a dog or cat, what about a bird or snake? 

Tips and treats: Think about the pricing structure for your enterprise. Will you charge by the hour or by the day? Will your business include other services like dog-walking, grooming or cleaning out litter boxes? Also, research to what extent you'd be responsible in the case of a pet becoming injured under your care. 

Related: 20 Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Parents

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Mobile pet groomer

Drive to your client’s home in your specially outfitted van and get to work. As a mobile groomer, you can offer services like bathing, nail-clipping and hair removal.

Tips and treats: While certification is not required to become a professional dog or cat groomer, training can increase your marketability and earning potential. Organizations like National Dog Groomers Association of America, International Society of Canine CosmetologyNational Cat Groomers Institute or The Professional Cat Groomers Association of America can provide information on available classes and courses. 

Related: 75 Ideas for Businesses You Can Launch for Cheap or Free

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Cat café operator

A cat café combines a coffee shop with the ability to interact with and adopt cats and kittens. Cat cafés have been growing in popularity in North America since the first one reportedly opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998.

Tips and treats: Will you offer an hourly rate? Complimentary drinks? Walk-ins? Plan out your business model, and research health regulations that might impact your ability to have animals and food in the same area.

Related: From 'Ow' to 'Meow': A Young Catpreneur Discovers Her Own Meaning of Success

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Doggie daycare

In some ways, doggie daycare is comparable to daycare for babies. Owners drop off their pets in the morning and pick them up in the evening. In this environment, dogs are able to interact with other pups.  

Tips and treats: Training in dog behavior, pet first aid and pet CPR will put your company ahead of the pack. Also, consider installing live webcams that allow owners to check in on their dogs while they're in your care.

Related: 63 Businesses to Start for Under $10,000

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Dog trainer

Are you a people person with dog training skills? Patience is key if you want to start this business. Trainers should be able to teach dogs basic commands and help eliminate bad behavior.

Tips and treats: Certification via organizations like The Association of Professional Dog Trainers or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers could help you gain valuable expertise. Regardless of the type of training, commercial liability insurance is necessary in case dogs are injured while in your care.

Related: Pet Food Industry Witnesses a Gradual Development with Changing Trends

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Pet massage therapist

Believe it or not, this is a real business. While pet massage therapy is still relatively new, there are animal owners who pay to get their dogs, cats or horses massaged. The animals might aging, recovering from an injury or potentially struggling with stress or anxiety. Some owners may simply want to treat their animals to a massage.

Tips and treats: Search online for schools that specialize in animal massage training and certification. Pet massage therapists should be knowledgeable about animal anatomy and physiology. 

Related: 300 Examples Of Business Ideas To Help You Start A Successful Business
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Dog kennel/pet boarding

Owners need somewhere to keep their pets safe and healthy when they are away for an extended period. Enter the dog kennel. If you have space, consider opening a pet boarding facility that houses dogs and other animals like cats, birds or lizards. 

Tips and treats: Will you operate the business out of your home or find another location? Research zoning and licensing requirements to see if the business is legal to operate in your area. Also, create a checklist of the things you will need from your clients including important phone numbers, animal vaccination records and medical histories and food and medication requirements. Don't forget to ask an owner if there is a special toy or blanket that could make a pet’s stay more comfortable.

Related: These Entrepreneurs Recognized a Gap in the Wonderful World of Dogs — and Filled It

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Pet toymaker

Long gone are the days when an old shoe or stick would suffice for man’s best friend. If you’re crafty, consider making chew, plush and rubber toys for dogs or stands and scratchers for cats.

Tips and treats: Sell your products to pet retailers wholesale or direct-to-consumer online. Drum up interest in your toys by showcasing them at local pet expos and flea markets.

Related: 6 Ways to Identify Profitable Products and Make Money With Your Online Store

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Pet photographer

Are you a skilled photographer who loves pets? A pet photography business may be right up your alley. Think beyond dogs and cats — some owners may want professional pictures of their horse, fish, reptile or bird.

Tip and treats: Offer photography services at your client’s home or on location. Research visually appealing, pet-friendly locales to use as your set. Photographers can also boost profit potential by adding pet images to key chains, greeting cards, calendars or mugs.

Related: 9 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Animal Lovers

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Pet bakery operator

Pet owners are concerned with the quality of the food their furry friends are eating. Why not open a bakery and make pet treats yourself? Distinguish your snacks from the processed food and treats available at grocery stores.

Tips and treats: The Food and Drug Administration has special requirements for pet food. Before opening a home-based bakery, research the rules and regulations for producing food products in a home. Promote your treats by creating customized gift baskets and showing them at dog shows, pet stores and trade shows.

Related: Biotech Startups Pounce on Cultured Pet Food

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Dog breeder

Labradoodles plus puggles can equa big bucks. If you have the time and space, consider opening a dog breeding business. Consumers spend thousands of dollars on "designer dogs," or intentional mixes between two purebreds. Know that this is a controversial move, especially amidst the "adopt, don't shop" movement for homeless pets. 

Tips and treats: While a dog breeding business can be lucrative, it can also be expensive. Decide if you'll purchase male dogs, female dogs or both. You'll also need a place to house the dogs comfortably, and you'll need to ensure the ability to care for them and pay for necessities such as food, shots and tests.  

Related: 20 Business Ideas You Can Start With Less Than $10,000

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Pet clothing designer

Sweaters, hats, dresses, raincoats and holiday wear - the possibilities are endless for pet clothing. If you're handy with a sewing machine and know how to sketch designs, this might be the business for you.

Tips and treats: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest could hold the key to your success. Promote your fashions by posting them on social media. And don't discriminate with your designs — just like humans, dogs and cats come in all shapes and sizes. 

Related: Retired? Here Are 17 No-Cost Ways to Make Money on the Side.

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Pet store owner

If you want to be your own boss and love all animals from felines to fish, you may want to operate a pet store. Purchase supplies from a wholesaler, mark up the prices and then sell them at a profit. You can open a physical store or sell products online.

Tips and treats: Look for ways to compete against the big pet retailers. Consider stocking shelves with products that aren't available at other outlets. If you make pet treats or toys, sell them exclusively at your store. Get to know your customers by name and offer personalized service.  

Related: Pet Food Brand Mollybox Gulps $13 Million In Series B Funding

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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