How To Start A Pet Business [2024] – 11 Best Pet Business Ideas

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Want to enter a multi-billion dollar industry with passionate customers? The pet industry might be perfect for you. This guide will show you how to start a pet business, from great business ideas to making products, marketing, and more.

For pet owners, few things are more important than their beloved pets. While the pet industry can have its ups and downs like any other, one thing is certain: people will always love spoiling their pets. 

So, the next question is, how do you start a pet business?

If you love animals, this opportunity can be very appealing. But starting a business from scratch requires more than just opportunity. 

If you’re wondering what to sell or where to find customers, remember that every successful business owner started with these same questions.


Successful pet business owners face their fears and move forward. Starting a pet store from scratch isn’t easy, but with the right tools and knowledge, it might be easier than you think.

Before starting a small business, you need to consider if it will make money. This is true for pet businesses as well.

Here’s some good news: interest in “pet store” searches in the US has been increasing over time, according to Google Trends.

In 2020, US pet owners spent $103.6 billion on their pets, with almost half going to food, treats, and services, according to the American Pet Products Association. This shows there’s a strong market for pet stores, but are they profitable?

In 2020, US pet store sales generated nearly $21 billion in revenue, expected to reach $23 billion by 2023. However, costs can vary widely depending on the type of pet business you run.

For example, pet walking and sitting mainly require marketing and insurance costs, while grooming, boarding, and daycare have higher costs due to the need for physical locations.

As a business owner, you can set your prices and profit margins based on your business type. Now, let’s explore some pet business ideas.

How to Start a Pet Business?

Decided on an idea? Great. Here’s how you can start your business today:

7 steps to start a pet business:

  1. Do market research

  2. Build your brand

  3. Create a pet business name

  4. Write a business plan

  5. Create your pet products

  6. Build an online store

  7. Market your pet business

How to start a pet business:

1. Do market research

Market research is about learning more about your customers. Your target market consists of the people you most want to reach—those most likely to become your customers. 

In the pet business, target markets can vary, but you can start with three main categories:

– Luxury:

Luxury items for pets include more than just designer pet clothes. Think about gourmet food cooked by chefs, premium pet hotels, and grooming spas. 

The popularity of dog pageants and movies like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” show that some pet owners are willing to spend a lot on their pets.

– Mid-market:

The mid-market offers a balance of quality and price. This category includes food, grooming, training, and homemade pet treats. Pet owners in this market are willing to pay more to treat their pets well.

– Mass market:

If you focus on affordability and are okay with offering cheaper products or less personalized services, you can target the mass market. This is suited for standardized products like rubber chew toys and food bowls.

These categories aren’t strict rules; you can mix elements. For example, you could create luxury versions of basic supplies or offer affordable pet fashion.

The key is to decide which market you want to target and then research what types of businesses already exist in that market. Find out what customers are paying for and what they are likely to buy from you.

2. Build your brand

The next step in building your pet business is creating your brand. A strong brand helps customers remember you and build relationships, and it supports your overall marketing strategy.

Your brand influences how you communicate and your overall look. In the pet business, standing out to your target audience is crucial.

Here are three main areas to focus on when personalizing your brand:

– Unique and Fun Products:

Offer something different from the usual products. For example, instead of a standard squeaky chew toy, create one with bristles that help brush teeth. Add a fun twist, like formal outfits for snakes. Make sure your products are unique and appealing.

– Brand Story:

Your brand story explains why you started your business and helps customers connect with you. Whether you sell products or services, a compelling story can motivate customers. 

For example, the founder of Open Farm started the company to provide healthy, ethically sourced food for her dogs when she couldn’t find any.

– Visual Identity:

This includes your logo, website design, social media covers, and packaging. Your visuals should clearly communicate your brand to your target audience. 

For example, Petlibro uses clean, minimalist designs that appeal to mid-market customers. By focusing on these areas, you can create a memorable and effective brand for your pet business.

3. Create a pet business name

Keep your pet business name short and simple. This makes it easy to remember and pronounce, helping with word-of-mouth marketing. 

If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using Shopify’s pet business name generator. Just enter a keyword, click “Generate names,” and browse through thousands of ideas for your company.

4. Write a business plan

Now that you know your target market, have a brand idea, and a business name, it’s time to create a business plan.

A business plan helps you organize and run your business. It defines your goals and strategies, identifies your competition and potential challenges, and lists the resources you’ll need to start.

Key questions to ask yourself include your goals and how you will sell your product or service:

  • Will you have a retail store?

  • Will you sell wholesale to other businesses?

  • Will you start an online store and sell directly to customers?

Your business plan will help you structure these answers and serve as a reference. Be sure to check the laws in your country and state, as you might need specific licenses or permits for pet businesses. 

If you need help starting, use our free business plan template as a guide.

5. Create your pet products

If you decide to sell physical products, you’ll need to consider product research, manufacturing, and shipping.

There are two main ways to sell physical goods:

  • Dropshipping

  • Manufacturing 

– Dropshipping:

Dropshipping is a way of selling things online where you, as the seller, don’t actually keep the products in stock. Instead, when you get an order, you buy the item from a third-party company who then ships it directly to the customer.

This has some big advantages. You don’t have to worry about storing lots of inventory, and you save time because you don’t have to handle shipping yourself. 

This is especially helpful if you’re busy with other parts of your business, like marketing or offering services like grooming or dog walking.

– Manufacturing:

If you’re more experienced and prefer to be more involved, or if you want more control over the entire process, you can find your own manufacturers and suppliers.

The advantage of this is that you might find companies that are willing to customize products for you at a lower cost, or local suppliers that can ship products faster than those from overseas.

6. Build an online store

Now that your pet products are ready to sell, where should you sell them? One great option is to have your own online store. 

It might seem daunting compared to selling on big websites like Amazon.

But don’t worry! 

Shopify makes it easy to set up your own online store. You can create a website without needing to know how to code or spending a lot of money.

With Shopify, you get a nice-looking online store, security features, fast web servers, tools to help recover abandoned shopping carts, and other helpful marketing and sales tools. 

Plus, you can explore thousands of plugins in the Shopify App Store to make your store even better and sell more online. (You can also sell services if you want to expand beyond just products.)

7. Market your pet business

After you’ve created your product, established your brand, and found a way to sell to customers, it’s time to focus on marketing to make your business grow.

Marketing strategies can vary in how much effort they require. If you’re passionate about pets and the pet industry, you might already be doing some marketing activities without realizing it. 

But if you’re new to the industry or to marketing, the tips below will help you get started and make your business successful.

Here are 6 ways how to market your business:

  1. Start local

  2. Use social media 

  3. Familiarize yourself with Blogging and SEO

  4. Attend pet-industry events, trade shows, and conventions

  5. Build valuable customer relationships

  6. Build an email list 

Let us understand each of the ways how you can market your pet business:

– Start local:

Building good relationships with pet owners is crucial, especially if you offer services like grooming or dog walking that involve meeting clients in person. 

Start by joining Facebook groups and local online communities where pet owners hang out. Join discussions, share your knowledge, and offer your services. 

But be careful not to push for sales too aggressively, especially when you’re first getting to know potential customers. Pet owners are very protective of their furry friends. They need to trust you before they’ll hire you. 

So, it’s important to be genuine and not come across as just trying to promote your business. However, you can also use Facebook ads to target pet owners in your local area.

– Use social media:

The cool thing about pet businesses is that cats and dogs are natural content creators. If you have a pet or two, making content for pet lovers will be pretty easy.

Coming up with ideas for social media can be tough. But with a pet business, it’s almost too easy.

For groomers, walkers, and pet sitters, every time they meet a new furry friend, it’s a chance to create content for the web. Even simple stuff becomes interesting when there’s a cute pet involved.

And there’s user-generated content, which is great for pet businesses. For example, if you sell pet clothes like Clive and Bacon, you could ask your customers to share pictures of their pets wearing your clothes.

You could also start a program where influencers promote your products.

Some popular places to market are:

  • Instagram

  • Facebook

  • YouTube

Each place needs a different kind of content. Start with one, get good at it, then try another one.

– Familiarize yourself with Blogging and SEO:

If you know about search engine optimization (SEO), you understand it takes technical skills to write a copy that shows up well in search results. For pet stores, it’s helpful to find questions pet owners ask that your services can answer.

Creating blog content isn’t as easy as making social media posts, but it can bring in a lot of traffic over time. A blog post that ranks well for a question people search can keep bringing in visitors for months or even years.

For example, if you’re a pet groomer, you could write about how to keep pets clean. Or if you sell healthy pet treats, you could write about pet diets. 

There are endless topics you could cover. Providing valuable information to potential customers can start building trust with them.

BarkBox, a subscription box company, is a good example of a pet business using blogging for SEO. They have a website called BarkPost with articles on many topics like Q&A’s, dog life, humor, and travel.

On BarkPost, you can find articles about the best chew toys, how-to guides, and answers to questions like, “What causes eye boogers in dogs?” BarkBox covers all sorts of topics dog owners might search for online. And it’s working.

According to SEO tool Ahrefs, BarkPost gets around 224,000 visits a month from search engines.

– Attend pet-industry events, trade shows, and conventions:

Networking and learning new things are important in any job. Pet industry events like workshops, conventions, trade shows, and lectures can be really helpful for entrepreneurs who want to learn new skills or meet more people in the industry.

Trade shows are useful for any business, but they’re especially good if you sell unique or handmade pet products. If your products are special and not found everywhere, going to a trade show can help you make connections and get your products into stores.

– Build valuable customer relationships:

Building trust is crucial in the pet industry. We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating: pet owners are super protective of their pets. 

For groomers, dog walkers, and pet sitters, having a successful business means having great relationships with customers.

Happy customers keep coming back, spend more money, and tell others about your business. Having a group of loyal local customers not only supports your business but also helps spread the word to other potential customers who are in the same pet-loving community.

– Build an email list:

Another important way to market your pet business is by building an email list. Whether you sell popular products or offer top-notch services, email lets you talk directly to your customers, without needing social media.

Email marketing helps you connect with your current customers, remind them about items they left in their cart, and it’s simpler than many other marketing methods. More than half of the world uses email now, and it’s easier to get someone’s email than to get them to buy something.

By sending well-timed and clear messages in your emails, you can turn potential customers into loyal fans.

Now, we finally know how to start a pet business, it’s time to know what are the best pet business ideas that you can start today.

11 Best Pet Business Ideas To Start Today 

Pet businesses vary widely. Some offer services like grooming and walking, while others sell products such as pet bowls and toys. 

Some pet stores focus on cat and dog owners, while others specialize in less common pets like reptiles and spiders.

In the pet industry, it’s important to find a niche that’s big enough to make money consistently, but small enough that you can stand out from the crowd.

Pet stores often sell both products and services, but be careful not to try to do everything. Selling too many different things can make it hard to create a clear brand online. 

It also puts you in competition with big pet stores like PetSmart, which have lots of locations and are even found in grocery stores.

One-stop shopping is good for customers who need to grab something quickly on their way home, but online shoppers prefer specialized stores over one’s with a lot of different things.

Keeping that in mind, here are some ideas for pet products and services you can offer:

  1. Pet sitting

  2. Pet food

  3. Homemade pet treats

  4. Pet clothes

  5. Doggy day care

  6. Dog walking

  7. Pet supplies

  8. Pet products

  9. Pet grooming

  10. Dog training

  11. Pet boarding

Now let us understand each of the pet business ideas in brief.

1. Pet sitting

If you enjoy spending time with pets, making furry friends, and helping out in your community, starting a pet-sitting business is a great way to get into the industry. Since 70% of households in the US have pets, you’ll likely have plenty of potential customers.

You don’t need a lot of money to start. Most of the work involves marketing and finding your first clients. 

Your main expense will probably be insurance. But once you have a list of clients, you can grow your business by hiring staff.

Take Pawkee, for example. They offer various pet-sitting services, including dog walking and cat sitting.

Pawkee also takes care of snakes, birds, and other pets. They let you book and pay online, provide daily updates, and have customer support available 24/7. 

All their staff and pet sitters are trained to look after animals and understand their behavior.

2. Pet food

If you’d rather make things than offer services, and you care about what pets eat, starting a pet food business might be a good fit for you.

To stand out in the big pet food market, you’ll need to specialize. You could make food for specific animals, like dogs or lizards, or focus on certain diets or sizes of pets.

Making pet food on a large scale costs a lot. You’ll also need licenses and permits if you’re working with live animals or animal products. 

But if you’re good at cooking, you can start with lower costs and grow over time. Open Farm came up with a unique idea: making pet food that’s good for pets, farm animals, and the environment.

They use high-quality ingredients and support farmers who treat animals well. In an industry where it’s hard to know what’s really in pet food, Open Farm is transparent about their products. 

That means customers know exactly what their pets are eating and where it came from.

3. Homemade pet treats

For folks who enjoy baking, making food and treats for pets can be a fun way to use their skills. With more people wanting healthier options for their pets, there are lots of chances to offer foods tailored to dog and cat owners who care about their pets’ health.

You could sell treats for pets with specific dietary needs or functional treats like bones that help clean dogs’ teeth. Your options are endless, from soft treats to kibble, dried meats, and more.

Drool Central, based in Anchorage, is a great example of a pet-treats business. They make organic, homemade dog treats using wild Alaska fish, Alaska-grown vegetables and barley, and other ingredients you could eat yourself.

Owner Daisy Nicolas learned cooking at top schools and has worked in fancy hotels and restaurants for 25 years. Her love for dogs and her cooking skills make Drool Central successful.

If you love cooking and pets, starting a homemade pet-treats business could be a great fit for you.

4. Pet clothes

Pet clothing has become really popular lately. Dropshippers sell lots of shirts, outfits, and accessories made for dogs and cats.

Just like with pet products, dropshipping lets entrepreneurs try new things or focus on selling without taking too much risk.

When it comes to selling dog clothes, picking a specific niche is important. People are picky about their own clothes, and that goes for their pets too. 

There are still lots of ways to be creative and stand out in the dog fashion world.

Take Frenchie Shop, for example. They specialize in clothes for French bulldogs, like t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, shoes, pajamas, hats, and more. 

If you have a French bulldog and need clothes, chances are you’ll check out a brand that focuses on Frenchies.

5. Doggy day care

Pet sitting usually means taking care of one pet at a time in their own home. But with doggy day care, you look after many pets all in one place. 

Many families have pets and work long hours, so having a safe place for their dogs to play during the day is really helpful for their happiness.

Just like with other pet businesses, you’ll need insurance to cover any accidents or emergencies. 

But you can start a doggy day care from your own home if you have enough space. If you have the money, you could rent a bigger place to take in more dogs.

Offering doggy day care can also go well with selling other pet products. For example, The Hipster Hound sells pet stuff online and also does dog boarding at its store in Savannah, Georgia.

6. Dog walking

If you love pets and especially dogs, dog walking could be a great job for you. It’s a fun way to meet new dogs, stay active, and earn some extra cash.

Services like dog walking and pet sitting are all about giving great customer service. Trust is super important in this kind of business, and that comes from having good relationships with your clients.

But dog walking doesn’t have to be just around the neighborhood. Salty Paws, based in New Hampshire, does things a bit differently. Instead of regular walks, they take dogs on exciting adventures along the coast.

Their dog walkers, called “pack captains,” spend three hours with the dogs on each adventure. They get to play with other dogs, learn how to behave on trails, and have a great time outdoors.

7. Pet supplies

Every pet owner needs basic stuff like food bowls, toys, litter boxes, and leashes. Sure, these things are easy to find, but that doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity for you.

Selling these “must-have” items might seem tough because big brands already do it. But having lots of choices can make it hard for people to decide. That’s where you come in.

If you find a special niche or focus on a certain type of product, you can make a name for yourself. You could become the top choice for your customers.

Take Teddybob, for example. They sell Pidan products, which are all about making pet stuff look cool. Teddybob’s shop sells pet supplies that are both stylish and practical, attracting a specific kind of buyer.

8. Pet products

Besides the basics that pets need like food and comfort, some pet owners like to buy extra stuff for their furry friends.

New products can be a way for people to start a business in the pet industry without having to deal with fresh food or animals directly (especially for those allergic to pets). You can come up with all sorts of things, like automatic feeders, fancy water fountains, or even personalized t-shirts.

Petlibro, which started in 2019, makes products to make pets and pet owners happy. They design sleek feeders and fountains that keep pets fed and hydrated automatically, no matter where their owner is.

9. Pet grooming

Offering grooming services for cats and dogs can be a great idea if you want to expand your pet business. Just like pet sitting and walking, grooming relies on building trust with pet owners. 

And with pet owners spending over $8 billion a year on grooming services in the US, there’s plenty of demand.

It’s smart to focus on a specific niche. Maybe you could offer mobile grooming, specialize in grooming anxious pets, or cater to extra-large pets. 

Each of these niches could attract different kinds of customers.

You can also add grooming services to a store that sells pet products. For example, Petsense, a pet specialty retailer, offers grooming services along with its food and supplies.

10. Dog training

You don’t necessarily need official qualifications to become a dog trainer. Starting a dog training business is easier than you might think. You can even offer services online.

For example, brands like Wiglo offer training programs through an app. Customers can choose from a variety of programs to train their dogs at home.

However, most pet owners prefer trainers with experience and qualifications. They want to be sure you can help with behavioral issues. So, it’s a good idea to educate yourself before starting a dog training business.

11. Pet boarding

Before COVID-19, more than 44 million Americans traveled abroad. Plus, many families go on vacations within the US, and people from other countries also visit. Many of these travelers have pets.

Taking pets on vacation can be expensive because of things like pet passports, vaccinations, and transportation. Also, some pet owners don’t like leaving their pets in kennels.

Offering a pet boarding service can help these pet owners save money and give you a chance to build a successful business.

Final Thoughts

Starting a successful pet business can be very rewarding, especially if you love animals. Whether you’re into grooming or selling pet supplies, it’s a great way to make money from home.

Don’t worry about starting your own business. 

Nowadays, there are plenty of tools and resources to help you. As long as people love their pets, there will always be a demand for services that keep them happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost to start a pet business?

Starting a pet business is affordable because you don’t need a lot of money upfront. The main costs include making products, running your business, setting up an online store, and shipping. 

Based on our findings, most business owners spend around $18,000 in their first year, even if they don’t have any employees yet.

How do I start a small pet business?

To start a small pet business, you can follow the below 7 steps:

  1. Do market research

  2. Build your brand

  3. Create a pet business name

  4. Write a business plan

  5. Create your pet products

  6. Build an online store

  7. Market your pet business

How much do pet store owners make per year?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a pet store owner in the US is about $49,174.

Is the pet industry growing?

The American Pet Products Association found that the pet industry is growing. In 2020, people in the US spent a total of $103.6 billion on pets. They predict that in 2021, this spending will go up to around $109.6 billion.

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