The bond between humans and animals has existed for millennia. As pets are increasingly viewed as family members, there is a greater willingness to invest in their well-being, comfort, and happiness. In many parts of the world, and especially in the US, pet ownership rates have been on the rise, partly driven by urbanization, changing lifestyles, and the increasing number of single-person households.
Pet owners are more conscious about the health and diet of their pets. This has led to a surge in premium pet food sales, nutritional supplements, and wellness services, including therapies and specialized veterinary care.
Even during economic downturns, spending on pets tends to remain stable or even increase, a phenomenon often referred to as the “lipstick effect,” where consumers continue to spend on small indulgences, including their pets, during tough times.
Do you love pets? Then, choose your business idea from our list of pet businesses.
The Growing Pet Industry
Here’s some food for thought. According to statistics, about 63.4 million households include a dog. The number of households that include a cat is slightly lower, at 42.7 million.
Many households include more than one pet, and for cat owners, that’s more likely. Statistics show that there are 76.8 million pet dogs in those 63.4 million households. And there are 58.4 million cats in those 42.7 million households.
There’s your market. Now, which pet owners are the best fit for your business ideas?
Targeting the Right Audience
The key to locating any business is being able to have interaction with your customers. If you’re operating an online business, that’s a secondary consideration.
But if you’re running a pet business that includes direct interaction with customers, location is important. One concern is zoning – before you make a business decision, especially if it involves property, be sure the zoning allows for the type of business you want to run.
Another is proximity to your customer base. Yes, you can run a pet boarding facility in a rural area, but should you also provide pickup and delivery services? If you want to groom pets, should you do that from a brick-and-mortar location or go mobile?
In addition to finding the right market, consider your startup costs. Some pet businesses can be started with very little investment. It might not be the ideal business to start, but with any contact with customers, you are building a client base for any future pet-related business venture.
33 Profitable Pet Business Ideas
If you’re interested in learning how to start a business in the pet industry, here are 33 ideas to get you started.
1. Dog Grooming Services
This service is always in demand, and there are many levels. There are groomers who do the basic bath and nail trim and groomers who specialize in perfectly-presented dogs that are headed to the Westminster Dog Show. Although there is no official certification process for dog grooming yet, it’s a good course of action to apprentice with a groomer for training. Startup cost to start your own business can be high, given the cost of equipment and supplies.
2. Dog Walking Services
With little investment, this can be a booming business and it’s a great idea in an urban setting. You’ll need insurance and you’ll need to be bonded (since you’ll be entering customer houses).
3. Pet Sitting Business
Pet walking businesses can easily morph into pet sitting. With this business, you’ll take care of people’s pets in their homes. This will include checking food and water and may include walks.
4. Mobile Pet Grooming Services
This requires significant startup investment. But it’s still one of the top mobile business ideas of 2023. You won’t have the overhead of the brick-and-mortar location, but you’ll have significant outlay for the vehicle and its equipment.
5. Dog Training Services
Although people love their pets, many get a pet without knowing how to train them. You can provide services from basic obedience training (walking on a leash, coming when called, basic commands such as sit, down and stay) to specialized training (narcotics detection, hunting, search and rescue).
6. Kennel Boarding Services
This is a pet business that can be difficult to start due to zoning restrictions. Yes, it may be noisy at times, and neighbors may protest such a pending business venture. Kennels are typically only permitted in commercial or agricultural areas.
7. Dog Daycare Services
Zoning can also be in question for Dog Daycare businesses. With these, the animals are not kept overnight as they are in a kennel. Instead, they are guests during work hours. The dog daycare business is one of the fast-growing segments of the pet care industry. People at work love to check in on their pets via live stream and video contact.
8. Pet Photography Services
For a photographer who loves pets, this is the perfect fit. And aside from the typical studio shot, people love to get action photos of their pets – think dock diving, frisbee catching, swimming, and retrieving. This business is expanding into videos via the use of drones to capture pet images from above.
9. Companion Animal Supply Store
A pet supply store will be in direct competition with big box stores, as well as online retailers. To survive and thrive in the pet store niche, successful business owners should provide products that aren’t readily available in the mass market. You can also do well by locally selling items that are big or expensive to ship, such as extra large dog crates or cat condo play towers.
10. Online Pet Store
Pet owners are more conscious about the health and diet of their pets. This has led to a surge in premium pet food sales, nutritional supplements, and wellness services, including therapies and specialized veterinary care. Online shops can even be among the top home based business ideas, as long as you have enough space for inventory.
11. Pet Food Delivery Service
There’s a ton of stiff competition in this niche, with companies such as Chewy able to deliver pet food to the door in a day or two. If you want to succeed with a pet food delivery service, provide a specialty product or products which is not readily available in the mass market.
12. Custom Pet Apparel and Accessories
Custom pet apparel and accessories are extremely popular. If you have a talent for sewing, you can definitely make money in this business without huge financial outlay.
13. Pet Waste Removal Services
This is such a growing business (with steady job security…..) that there are many pet franchises available. If you’re a pet sitter or walker, this is something you can provide as an “add-on” to your services.
14. Pet Food or Pet Treats
This is an industry with tons of competition. However, the door is open for specialty treats.
15. Pet Event Planning
It’s a given – people who love pets like to get together with other people who love pets. If you want to promote your special pet treat or product, organize a special event. You can also organize a pet event, such as a walk or race, for a favorite charity.
16. Pet Health and Wellness Services
The pet industry has a growing market for wellness services, including therapies and specialized veterinary care. Pets who have come from an animal shelter or rescue may have issues from their past that can be analyzed and addressed by a professional.
17. Pet Massage Services
Canine massage professionals. specialize in providing massage therapy to dogs. This can be especially beneficial for older dogs, dogs recovering from surgery or injury, or dogs that are particularly active, like agility competitors.
There are specific training programs and certifications for pet massage therapists. These programs teach anatomy, physiology, and specific techniques tailored for animals. In some areas, practitioners may need a license or have specific legal considerations.
18. Pet Boutique
The industry has seen an influx of innovative products, ranging from smart pet collars with GPS tracking to automated feeders. Such advancements cater to the modern pet owner’s needs and preferences. A Pet Boutique could specialize in unique products for the discerning pet owner.
19. Pet Adoption Services
There are several ways an entrepreneur can work in the pet adoption field:
- Rescue Group Coordinators and Volunteers:
- Many animal rescues operate without a physical shelter location, relying instead on a network of foster homes. Coordinators often manage animal intake, care and adoptions.
- Pet Adoption Counselors:
- These professionals specifically guide potential adopters through the adoption process. They work to match adopters with suitable pets, conduct interviews, check references, and sometimes do home visits.
- Foster Care Coordinators:
- They oversee the network of foster homes within an organization.
20. Animal Specialty Insurance Services
Specific insurance costs and coverage needs can vary based on several factors, including the size and scale of the business, geographic location, and specific services provided. It’s essential for each business owner to assess potential risks and work with an insurance agent familiar with pet-related businesses to get the most accurate and comprehensive coverage. Here are some basics to consider if you’re thinking about specializing in this facet of the pet industry:
1. Pet Walker:
- Insurance Needs:
- General Liability Insurance: Covers accidents or injuries to third parties (not the walker) and damage to third-party property. For example, if a dog bites a person during a walk.
- Care, Custody, and Control (Animal Bailee) Coverage: Covers injuries to animals while in the walker’s care, like if a dog gets injured during a walk.
- Lost Key Coverage: Covers costs associated with losing a client’s keys.
- Potential Costs: Insurance costs for pet walkers can range widely based on location, number of clients, and the coverage limits chosen. On average, costs could range from $200 to $600 per year. The final price will vary depending on specific circumstances and choices in coverage.
2. Boarding Kennel Owner:
- Insurance Needs:
- General Liability Insurance: Covers injuries to third parties or damage to their property.
- Care, Custody, and Control (Animal Bailee) Coverage: Crucial for kennel owners as it covers injuries or illnesses to animals while boarded.
- Business Property Insurance: Covers damage to the business’ property, including kennels, outbuildings, equipment, etc.
- Workers Compensation: If the kennel has employees, this will cover them for work-related injuries.
- Potential Costs: Given the higher risks associated with keeping multiple animals for extended periods, insurance costs can be significantly higher for kennel owners. Rates can vary widely, from $800 to over $2,500 annually, depending on location, size of the facility, and number of animals cared for.
3. Dog Groomer:
- Insurance Needs:
- General Liability Insurance: Covers injuries to third parties or damage to their property.
- Professional Liability Insurance: Also known as malpractice insurance, it covers claims arising from the grooming services provided.
- Care, Custody, and Control (Animal Bailee) Coverage: Covers injuries or issues that might arise while a pet is being groomed.
- Business Property Insurance: Covers grooming equipment and potential damages to the business facility.
- Potential Costs: Dog groomers, depending on their clientele and the size of their operation, can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more annually for insurance. The costs will vary based on factors like location, size of the facility, number of clients, and the specific services provided.
In Summary: The specific costs and coverage needs can vary based on several factors, including the size and scale of the business, geographic location, and specific services provided. It’s essential for each business owner to assess potential risks and work with an insurance agent familiar with pet-related businesses to get the most accurate and comprehensive coverage.
21. Pet Bakery
Pet owners love unique products. They love to purchase them for their pets, and they make great gifts for other pet owners.
22. Companion Animal Toy Design and Manufacturing
This is another market that’s wide open to unique products. Browse the toy selection at a large box store or large online supplier, and the choices are much the same. Pet owners are likely to try new products.
23. Specialty Pet Travel Services
An entrepreneur can branch out in this field:
- Pet Relocation Companies:
- These are specialized companies that assist pet owners in relocating their pets, either domestically or internationally. They manage the logistics, including paperwork, flight bookings, and even door-to-door pickup and delivery.
- International relocations can be complex due to varying regulations, quarantine rules, and paperwork for each country. These companies are well-versed in these regulations and can provide a smooth transition for the pet.
- Pet Travel Agencies:
- Similar to travel agencies for humans, some agencies cater specifically to pet travel needs. They can help book pet-friendly accommodations, flights, and other travel necessities.
- Pet Flight Nannies or Escorts:
- These individuals personally accompany pets on flights, ensuring their safety and comfort throughout the journey. This service can be especially valuable for pets that can’t fly in the cargo hold, ensuring they get personal attention during their travels.
- Ground Transportation Services:
- Some companies or individuals specialize in transporting pets by ground, either because the pet owner prefers it or due to airline restrictions. These can range from local services to cross-country transports in specialized, climate-controlled vehicles.
- Pet Travel Consultation:
- For those who prefer to manage the travel logistics themselves but need guidance on regulations, routes, or preparations, consultants offer advice based on their expertise in pet travel.
24. Companion Animal Fitness Classes
Classes like these are rapidly growing in popularity, especially in urban areas where pets may not have as much space to roam and exercise. At the top of the list is Dog Yoga.
Dog Yoga (Doga):
A blend of meditation, gentle massage, and calming poses, Doga sessions are designed to strengthen the bond between the dog and the owner. While dogs don’t exactly practice the traditional yoga poses, they can be integrated into certain positions and enjoy stretches and massages.
A popular canine sport, agility courses are set up with jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and other obstacles. Classes can be designed for beginners or advanced participants. It’s a great way for dogs to get physical exercise and mental stimulation.
Canine Cardio/Fitness Bootcamps:
These are structured outdoor workouts where both the dog and the owner participate in exercises. Activities might include running, jumping, fetch-based games, and interval training.
Some facilities offer dog-friendly pools where pets can learn to swim, improve their swimming techniques, or just enjoy the water. It’s a full-body workout and especially beneficial for older dogs with joint issues.
For pets in urban settings or during adverse weather conditions, treadmill training can be a way to ensure they get their daily dose of exercise. Special treadmills designed for dogs are available, and trainers can help dogs get accustomed to them.
25. Pet Clothing and Accessories Design
A person who enjoys crafts, especially sewing, can excel in this field. Many current offerings are mass-produced, and no one wants to show up at the party wearing the same dress! If an entrepreneur can provide novel pet clothing and accessories, the growth potential of these handmade business ideas can be wide open.
26. Art and Portraits
Many people view their pets as family members. An artist who can capture the essence of a beloved pet will quickly build a thriving clientele. This is a business that has little startup costs and can be operated from home.
27. Socialization and Play Groups
For the best success in setting up and running these groups, you must provide a safe area, such as a fenced outdoor area. Also, it’s important to understand dog behavior so that dogs of like manners of physical play are together and smaller or older dogs aren’t intimidated or overwhelmed.
28. Companion Animal Subscription Box Services
Some entrepreneurs have already started companies that are providing this service. You can do this and stand out by providing unique, personalized toys or clothing for specific pets. You can also provide boxes of items with a theme, such as celebrating a birthday or holiday, supporting a scholastic or professional sports team, or ethnic heritage (for example, specifically for Irish Setters or French bulldogs).
29. Animal Content Creation (Blogs, Vlogs, etc.)
Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have given rise to “pet influencers,” pets with large online followings. This has opened new marketing avenues for pet products and services.
30. Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals
“No pets, no pets, no pets.” The majority of vacation rentals include this restriction. If you have a vacation rental, business will boom if you make it pet-friendly. Amenities sought by pet owners may include a fenced yard. If you live nearby, you can include a midday “pet sitting walk” while the pet’s owners visit local attractions.
31. Therapy Services for Pets
This is another expanding field in the pet services industry. Here are a few ideas:
- Behavioral Therapy:
- This therapy addresses issues such as aggression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, and other behavioral concerns in pets. It often involves a combination of training methods, environmental modifications, and sometimes, with veterinarian consultation, medication.
- Certified animal behaviorists or veterinarians with a specialty in behavior often lead these interventions.
- Physical Rehabilitation:
- Similar to physical therapy in humans, rehab for pets helps animals recover from injuries, surgeries, or chronic conditions. It can include exercises, massages, hydrotherapy, and more.
- It’s especially popular for dogs with orthopedic issues or those recovering from surgeries like cruciate ligament repairs.
- This involves the use of water to aid in recovery, often after surgery or injury. It’s beneficial for improving muscle strength without putting stress on joints.
- Facilities might offer underwater treadmills or swimming pools tailored for animal use.
- Acupuncture and Acupressure:
- Originating from traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, acupuncture involves inserting needles at specific points on the body to promote healing and pain relief. Acupressure uses pressure rather than needles.
- It can be used for a variety of conditions, including pain management, neurological disorders, and certain skin conditions.
- Chiropractic Care:
- Veterinary chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. Adjustments can help alleviate pain, improve movement, and support overall health.
32. Breeding, Raising and Selling Pets
As the saying goes, “There is only one best dog in the world, and everybody has it.” Given the excessive and humbling number of homeless pets spending their days in animal shelters, supremely careful consideration should be given before launching into this business.
Before breeding animals, people should have an understanding of genetics, health issues in certain breeds, and experience in whelping and raising animals. Animals to be used for breeding should be assessed by a veterinarian to achieve (or not achieve) important health clearances.
For example, with dogs, a basic hip x-ray should be done so that the joints can be rated as fair, poor, good or excellent. Animals with a rating less than good or excellent should not be used for breeding. There are also genetic tests for vision, heart, skin and other potential issues.
33. Animal-Assisted Therapy Services
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, and other animals, into the treatment plan. The objective is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. AAT is used in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities, and private practices, and can be utilized with a range of populations from children to the elderly.
|Business Idea||Startup Cost||Unique Selling Proposition (USP)||Challenges|
|Dog Grooming Services||High||Wide range from basic to show grooming||Need for training, no official certification|
|Dog Walking Services||Low||Suitable for urban setting||Insurance, bonding|
|Pet Sitting Business||Low-Medium||Flexible, can morph from walking service||Trustworthiness, time commitment|
|Mobile Pet Grooming Services||High||On-the-go service||Vehicle & equipment cost|
|Dog Training Services||Medium||Broad range of training services||Requires expertise & patience|
|Kennel Boarding Services||High||Long-term care, suitable for vacations||Zoning restrictions, noise concerns|
|Dog Daycare Services||High||Daycare during work hours||Zoning, space requirement|
|Pet Photography Services||Medium-High||Capturing unique pet moments||Equipment cost, skill-based|
|Companion Animal Supply Store||Medium-High||Can offer unique, localized products||Competition with big box stores|
|Online Pet Store||Medium||Convenience, wide range, niche products||Space for inventory, competition|
|Pet Food Delivery Service||Medium||Convenience, specialized diets||Competition, shipping logistics|
|Custom Pet Apparel & Accessories||Low-Medium||Unique, customizable products||Creative skills required|
|Pet Waste Removal Services||Low||Steady demand, add-on service||Competition, not the most glamorous job|
|Pet Food or Pet Treats||Medium||Niche/specialized products||Intense competition, regulation|
|Pet Event Planning||Medium||Community building, niche events||Organizational skills, permits|
|Pet Health and Wellness Services||High||Growing market, specialized care||Expertise, equipment|
|Pet Massage Services||Medium||Niche service, wellness focus||Training, potential licensing|
|Pet Boutique||Medium-High||Unique, innovative products||Space, inventory|
|Pet Adoption Services||Low-Medium||Helping pets find homes||Emotional aspect, networking|
|Animal Specialty Insurance Services||Medium-High||Niche market, growing demand||Industry knowledge, licenses|
|Pet Bakery||Medium||Unique treats, gifting||Compliance, shelf life of products|
|Companion Animal Toy Design & Manufacturing||Medium||Unique toys, innovation||Design skills, competition|
|Specialty Pet Travel Services||High||Specialized logistics, niche service||Regulations, safety concerns|
|Companion Animal Fitness Classes||Medium||Fitness & bonding||Space, expertise|
|Pet Clothing & Accessories Design||Low-Medium||Unique designs, custom fit||Design skills|
|Art and Portraits||Low||Personalized keepsakes||Artistic skills|
|Socialization & Play Groups||Low-Medium||Socializing, exercise||Safe space, behavioral understanding|
|Companion Animal Subscription Box Services||Medium||Monthly surprises, thematic boxes||Inventory, shipping|
|Animal Content Creation||Low||Online influence, marketing||Consistency, creativity|
|Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals||Medium-High||Niche market, high demand||Maintenance, damage concerns|
|Therapy Services for Pets||High||Emotional and physical well-being||Expertise, space|
|Breeding, Raising & Selling Pets||High||High profit potential||Ethical concerns, space, care|
Tips for Starting a Successful Pet Business
Even if you love your idea and believe it will succeed, don’t move forward without doing market research. Once you know your potential market, you can proceed with your business plan, including strategies for growth and marketing.
Understanding Your Market
Are you in an urban or rural area? What are the existing pet businesses? Are there boarding kennels, a number of groomers, specialty pet stores? How many veterinarians are located in the area?
Those businesses don’t set up shop unless they have a customer base. Whatever the existing pet-based businesses are, strategize for the right business to fill the missing products or services.
Creating a Solid Business Plan
A business plan should include a mission statement, a description of the business (what it will provide), as well as information about people involved in the business.
Take a look at startup costs and operating costs, and estimate potential income. Using those numbers, make a plan for growth.
Marketing Your Pet Business
Online marketing and the use of social media are key parts of marketing a pet business. For example, an entrepreneur running a training class can set up a FB group that members join. They can see who’s planning to attend a class, and also view pictures and videos taken during the class.
Also, market your business via local partnerships with other pet-related businesses. Make it a point to meet and greet all the folks in your community who are working with pets. Networking in this personal way will help you build your circle of business contacts.
Don’t limit your local partnerships to pet-related businesses. Definitely join your local Chamber of Commerce and similar organizations. Offer to give a demonstration or talk about your business.
FAQs: Pet Business Ideas?
What is the Initial Investment Required for Starting a Pet
There’s a wide variety of costs for initial investment for starting a pet business, depending on the specific business. Even dog walkers need insurances, which can range from $200 to $600 annually. Many pet based businesses require that the entrepreneur first obtain training.
How Can I Attract Pet Owners to My Pet Business?
Network with people in your community and by using social media. You can also use local media by having a grand opening or other special events.
What Licenses or Permits Do I Need to Start a Pet Business?
That varies by business. Also consider zoning requirements, especially if you’re starting a boarding or daycare business.
Can I Start a Pet Business Part-time?
Absolutely. In fact, many people get started this way, especially dog walkers and groomers, and those making products or specialty foods at home.
How Do I Choose the Right Pet Business Idea for Me?
There are so many aspects of the pet business. Do you like the retail environment? Do you like to be your own boss? What needs do you see in your community? Are you interested in business ideas for introverts or extroverts?
If you’re going to provide pet services, you’ll need to be available to customers at specific times. If you’re going to bake or create (clothing and toys), you can set your own hours.
How Can I Cater My Pet Business Specifically to Dog Owners?
There are more dog owners than cat owners, so that’s one factor to consider. More importantly, which do you prefer – are you a cat person or a dog person? It’s important to love what you do.
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