I recently found out about this fun and lucrative side hustle, that you could scale to a full-time business.
It’s one that sells homemade dog treats!
The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind until I talked to my friend Kristin Larsen who successfully ran her own dog treat bakery for years.
Pet nutrition is important for many dog owners who are always on the lookout for healthy treats for their furry friends.
If you are fascinated by the idea of making dog treats to sell (no baking experience is required, by the way!), I highly recommend you keep reading as we have Kristin here to help us learn how she began this home-based business.
*This post may contain affiliate links. Disclosure here.
Hi Kristin, can you please tell us how you started a dog treat business?
Believe it or not, it all started with a cupcake.
I had a sweet-but-high-maintenance (my ‘diva dog’) pup named Bella. Right before her birthday one year, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to bake her something special for her birthday.
That idea came to me after trying to find her a birthday treat at local pet food stores. After searching a few stores, all I could find were treats filled with weird, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. So I just decided I was going to bake her one instead!
I decided to recreate a cupcake I saw at a local bakery using dog-friendly ingredients. She was completely obsessed with her treat, and I kind of became obsessed with making decadent dog treats after that.
I gifted them to a bunch of my friends and family, and not soon after, they started asking me if they could buy my treats to give as gifts.
It was shocking because I had no idea that people would actually want to buy the treats that I made as a labour of love, but they did!
With that, Diva Dog Bakery™ was born. I started it as a side hustle, but it turned into a full-time business when I lost my job.
Do you need to be an expert at baking to start your own dog treat business?
Definitely not! When I first started baking dog treats, I considered myself a below average baker. And honestly, even as I successfully turned my dog treat bakery into a full-time business, I was still just an average baker.
*Saranya here, check out some of Kristin’s lovely dog treats below!
How much can you make selling dog treats?
If you’re running this business as a small side hustle working just a few hours a week, you can expect to make $500 to $1,000 a month.
If you’re running this as a full-time business, you can make four or even five figures a month depending on how much you scale it.
What are the costs of running this business?
Common start-up costs include:
- $20 to $50 for the initial set of ingredients
- $0 to $75 for the initial packaging (pretty packaging can seriously boost the perceived value of your treats!)
- Between $25 and $50 for a business license, and anywhere from a $25 one-off fee to a $50-per treat fee for treat registration
Common ongoing costs include:
- Ingredients (the profit margin on dog treats is ridiculously high, especially when you start buying ingredients in bulk!)
- Kitchen appliance or kitchen tool upgrades
- Farmers market registration fees
- Miscellaneous items like computer or label paper for invoices
What are the legal requirements to begin?
The legal requirements will depend on where you’re located. You’ll need a business license and, in most cases, you’ll need to register your treats with (if you’re in the United States) your state’s agriculture or feed control office. Some cities or counties require that you comply with local health department regulations too.
It may sound intimidating, but in most areas, it’s really easy to do. A good first step is to contact your state’s business agency and tell them you want to start a pet treat bakery. Many of them have information on file that they can send over to you right away.
Can you tell us about your course Diva Dog Bakery?
I would love to!
I took everything I know about starting and running a successful dog treat bakery and put it into a no-fluff course, Diva Dog Bakery™.
- How to practice your baking skills using the very recipes that I used to successfully make thousands of dollars a month
- How to make your business legal
- How to package and present your treats
- How to price your treats for maximum profit
- Where to sell (offline, online or both)
- How to best ship and deliver your treats
- How to promote your business so you develop raving fans who consistently buy your treats
With the course, you also get 30 days of free access to the Diva Dog Bakery™ Community on Facebook where you can chat with other dog treat bakers, get your questions answered by me personally and tune into our frequent Facebook Lives where we discuss baking, marketing and more.
How do you market? Can you sell dog treats on Etsy?
I personally opened an Etsy shop and used it to sell and deliver treats all over the U.S. People discovered me on the Etsy platform itself.
Additionally, you can use social media (Instagram and Facebook especially) to sell your products. You can use the platforms to promote your Etsy shop, or you can simply direct people to an order form to buy treats directly from you.
A lot of home-based ‘people food’ bakeries routinely sell out of their baked goods via social media without even offering shipments of their baked goods. They target local followers, build up a fan base and let people know when they have baked goods for sale. Customers just pick up their purchases from the baker’s driveway or the baker offers local delivery.
Where can we find homemade dog treats recipes?
In the Diva Dog Bakery™ course, I provide all of the recipes that I used in my business. You can come up with your own treat recipes in time, but all of my tried-and-true recipes are available for you!
Not sure if you want to start a dog treat business at home?
Kristin is offering this free online workshop to give you an inside look into the course.
At the workshop, you’ll learn:
- Why the homemade dog treat business is HOT and getting hotter every year
- How to turn a dog treat bakery business into a side hustle pulling $500-$1,000 per month, or how to scale it into a 5-figure/year business
- The best places to start a dog treat business, online or offline
- How to price and sell your treats
- And more!
There will also be an awesome discount – and maybe a bonus surprise – just for workshop attendees!