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Do You Need A License To Sell Homemade Dog Treats?

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Tim Rhodes

Many people consider their dogs as best friends, and sometimes some pose the question do you need a license to sell homemade dog treats?

Making homemade treats shouldn’t be unusual, as most owners believe their dogs are an equal part of the family.

Underline health issues are the main reason owners choose to make treats by themselves.

Considering many incidents that have happened throughout the years, we can better understand why people occupy themselves with such tasks.

Many thought of it as a way to profit, as the dog food market is expected to reach a remarkable value of 23.3 billion by 2022.

However, selling homemade dog treats has many obligations and responsibilities to consider before venturing into such a business.

Table of Contents

Do You Need A License To Sell Homemade Dog Treats?

This business idea always leads people to the particular question – do you need a license to sell homemade dog treats?

In this article, we will answer this question and provide all the additional information you need to know about this venture.

Benefits In Homemade Treats

Many owners across the USA have started to leave traditional pet food.

The reasons are countless, but some of the most common are health issues, experiments with new food performed on dogs and cats, not providing the right nutrition value.

Also, there is a lack of regulations when it comes to manufacturing dog food.

This forced owners to take action and start making their own homemade dog food.

Also, there are a lot of benefits when it comes to creating homemade dog food and treats.

Owners don’t have to worry about what their dog is eating and can see the ingredients their favorite pet eats.

According to reports, your best friend can have up to 20 percent longer lifespan when fed with fresh and natural foods.

So owners don’t have to worry about the dangerous sides most commercial dog foods have.

Apart from the reasons we have above, baking treats yourself is fun and provides a happy life for both you and your pet.

Health Issues With Traditional Dog Treats

The trend of making your dog food became popular, especially after 2007.

Earlier that year, many reports came out stating that owners who were feeding their dogs with treats containing dangerous ingredients from China were having kidney problems.

Pets were having issues with Fanconi-Like Syndrome (FLS).

This disease is normally rare and found only in certain dog breeds.

Since the 2007 dog food scandal, the FDA received more than 360 reports of dogs having similar symptoms as the FLS.

Most customers had complaints about chicken jerky, duck, sweet potato, and others.

Tracking individual ingredients is undoubtedly a task since manufacturers aren’t obligated to name the country of origin for every particular component.

Things became even worse when a couple of years later, 14 individuals had health issues after working with dry dog food contaminated by salmonella.

These reports triggered people to invest their time into making food for their best friend and not undertake any risk.


Many owners have concerns over allergic reactions when feeding their dogs with regular treats.

Apart from corn and soy, the most common dog allergy is beef.

These ingredients are usually the most dominant in traditional dog foods.

So it’s safe to say that allergies are also a significant reason people go through the effort to create their own dog food and treats.

Some even thought of it as a business idea to create and sell specialized treats for dogs with specific intolerances.

Of course, when endeavoring for such a task, it’s best to consult yourself with a vet.

Homemade Dog Treats

When it comes to homemade dog treats, the opportunities are endless.

All you need is a bit of knowledge and creativity.

Dogs can be picky at times, just like humans.

Thinking outside the box is something you will encounter since your pet may not like everything you offer him at first, but this is when the fun begins.

You need to become creative and find out which ingredients your dog likes best.

Making your own dog treats is considered beneficial in many ways.

However, there are also many things owners have to be aware of before they start baking, even doing simple research can help.

There are also some human ingredients you want to avoid when making treats such as alcohol, avocados, caffeine, chocolate, cooked bones, corn, fish, liver, in excess, and onions.

These are just some of the most common foods people have misconceptions about, but the list goes on.

However, the ingredients you should consider are apples, bananas, berries( either fresh or frozen), broccoli, carrots, cheese, eggs(Cooked), lean meat, peanut butter, pumpkin(cooked), sweet potatoes(cooked), and watermelon.

Keep in mind that these ingredients must be fresh and can’t stay on the shelf for much time.

Instead, consider keeping them in the fridge or freezer and take them out only when needed.

Some of the most popular dog treats are dog donuts, peanut butter & glazed bacon bones, chicken and wild rice biscuits, etc.

Also, always advise yourself with the vet about foods your dog should eat just in case your pet is intolerant to some ingredient or has an underline health issue you are not aware of.

One thing is for sure.

Your dog will be grateful for the sacrifices you made and will live a much longer and healthier life.


Many passionate owners wanted to turn their hobby into a profession.

So, they started working on a plan to sell their unique treats to other passionate dog lovers.

It sounds like an exciting idea, and a job worthy of investing your time into, but just how hard is it to start such a venture and what are the things you need to keep an eye on when endeavoring such a task.

Like with any business, you must have the passion and a proper plan to be successful.

This job is a huge responsibility, and customers will expect quality.

It would be best if you were always willing to put in extra effort to provide only the most solid treats.

Love for dogs can help you get a better understanding of customers and their requirements.

This is considered strongly beneficial in the business as customers then identify themselves with you as the seller.

And more often than not, customers won’t have any doubts about buying your products.

The fact that they have already decided to leave traditional dog food brands means that they are serious about providing their pets with the most natural ingredients and don’t expect anything less.

However, consider this a business opportunity since those customers know they will have to pay more for healthy and organic treats.


Firstly selling dog treats is regulated in the USA, both by the federal government and the 50 states.

Before you start any business, you’ll need to consent to a series of rules and regulations to operate it legally.

Try to educate yourself about the Food & Drug Administration and its role in controlling pet food quality and safety.

Visit The AAFCO website to investigate labeling standards and nutritional requirements, but we will further explore this later on.

The American Pet Products Association can also provide you additional information about the industry, and you will need to register your label with the U.S.

As well as have a feed license to complete the registration at first, the registration differs, as each state has its own regulation.

For example, if you’re a resident of Texas, you will have to register your pet food.

Apart from that, the facility where food is manufactured must also be registered.

In California, you will have to license each location and each manufacturing facility, some states allow a two-year license and some only one year.

Besides the feed license, check with your local government if you need to acquire a business license if you plan on selling treats from your home.

Consider opening a business bank account, as it will help you manage your expenses and sales.

After listing everything above, you can get the sense that selling your homemade dog treats won’t be an easy task and will certainly require patience and in-depth research.

AAFCO Website

After considering all of the risks and researching the business field, it’s time to take action.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have determined obligations in the manner of testings, and other protocols manufacturers must follow when producing.

It is considered the best source of information when seeking for specific guidelines to start your homemade pet food business.

Firstly you will have to visit the website of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and you will look for the publications page.

Navigate yourself to the most recent version of the “Official Publications” and buy it, either online or as a physical copy.

In it, you will discover some necessary information about how individual state’s animal food laws are set and determine specific details.

We will provide you with some of the information from the publication you will surely be interested in if you have decided to start with this project.


Labeling pet food is fundamental.

Customers will be interested in the additional information you will provide on your product label.

Labels must be understandable, clear, and precise for the customer.

According to the “Model Regulations for Pet Food and Speciality Pet Food” section, there are eight specific requirements you need to meet when labeling pet food.

  1. Brand Product Name
  2. Name Of Species for which the pet food is intended
  3. Quantity Statement
  4. Guaranteed Analysis
  5. Ingredient Statement
  6. Nutritional Adequacy Statement
  7. Feeding Directions
  8. Name and address of manufacturer or distributor

Depending on the circumstances, you could also add additional information if required, and most people tend to follow AAFCO labeling models.

This is because they are certified and comply with the feed laws and regulations adopted by each state.

So, you won’t have to worry about finding specific information about labeling for your state.

Pet Food And Ingredient Regulations

Ingredients used for the production of both homemade and manufactured pet food is strictly regulated.

This is something you, as an entrepreneur, should keep an eye on since using the best ingredients can attract much-wanted customers.

Although it can create higher costs, you will also be able to charge your products at a higher price, of course, in this case, customer satisfaction is priceless.

There is also a higher chance of them recommending your product to other potential customers, which will provide you with popularity and other advantages.

Now, let’s look at some of the technical formalities you should know before the production of your homemade treats.

Keep in mind that the USA Food and Drug Administration has very precise and strict rules regarding the usage of unauthorized colors and additives.

It’s always best to carefully do your research to make no mistakes.

The duty of controlling substances used in pet food is controlled byThe Center of Veterinary Medicine within the FDA.

The AAFCO sets nutrient standards in the production of dog food, but it isn’t a governmental institution.

However, control officials are provided with a forum where industry associations and customer groups meet to address specific problems.

This information and much more is released in their “Official Publication”, after which feed control officials within each state, inspect facilities, and enforce these regulations.

The FDA believes that only veterinarians, retail stores, or internet sellers under the direction of a veterinarian should be able to sell pet food.

Involving a certified vet is important since products with a specific formula designed for a particular health need aren’t suitable for other pets.

Business Plan

The most crucial part of any successful business is a proper and well-structured business plan.

When it comes to selling homemade dog treats, people usually choose one of the following three plans, but sometimes they even combine them.

You can sell by the pound, sell decorated treats, and sell treats branded as private label items.

Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose one of the above.

People willing to sell homemade treats usually choose the one that can make them profit as soon as possible, as they opt for quick turnarounds.

Other than that, you can always go for a plan that will pay off in the long run, this is suitable for businessmen that are planning long-term.

Selling by the pound provides certain benefits, it’s easy and suitable for businesses working on a budget.

It provides flexibility to switch products at any moment and also allows customers to buy in different amounts.

If you are looking for a unique business, decorated treats are the way to go.

You can allow your creativity to shine and come out with a product that stands out, also, customers are always willing to pay more for these treats.

Packaged treats give you the chance to grow your brand and focus on the long run, for a higher chance of more significant profit in the future.

Finding a specialized niche could also be an exciting way to go if the entrepreneur sees profit in it.

Producing treats for dogs with specific health conditions or particular breeds like the “Teacups” is an example of profiting from niches.

No matter what business plan you go for, one thing is certain, make sure you are completely invested in making your dog treat business a success.

This regards not only the profit but also customer satisfaction.

Selling Your Homemade Dog Treats

Selling your treats could undoubtedly make you a decent profit, especially if your recipe is unique, and you invest in proper marketing.

Keep in mind that this specific business field is already very dense, and to succeed, delicious treats are simply not enough.

At first, you should consider offering samples of your products to family and friends, or even to a certified pet store and examine the feedback.

Find a particular way to market and display your products, these things differ depending on where you want to sell your products.

For example, selling treats in a store requires you to think of interesting and esthetical ways to display them.

This especially goes for packaged and decorated treats.

Going one step further and creating branded displays can have a significant impact on your sales.

Customers will notice this and will automatically have a higher opinion of your store.

This results in customers recommending your newly opened store to relatives and friends.

Also, try to group your treats, so it’s easier for customers to manage themselves.

Keeping your displays clean is also essential, an excellent way to keep your profits high is to partner with local pet stores to sell your treats.

If you are working on a budget, consider selling your treats online.

Selling Dog Treats Online

40 percent of dog owners are considered to find out about new products online, according to studies.

The development of technology throughout the years allowed people to become creative with ways of selling their products.

This phenomenon didn’t avoid this specific business field.

Online shops allow customers to have a better and more in-depth view of all products you’re offering, and all that from the comfort of their living room or anywhere else.

This is especially a great idea if you plan to sell treats as a second job and don’t have time or funds to invest in a proper store.

Selling pet food online is also regulated.

You are allowed to sell it online only in the state where you have an approved license.

It is extremely prohibited to sell homemade pet treats in other states since laws and regulations differ from state to state.

Not a single agency can provide you the service of selling treats from state to state.

Online Stores

Considering the number of customers that are starting to buy treats online is increasing day by day, creating your own online e-commerce store is very important.

If you are working on a budget, consider sites like Amazon and Etsy to start your online business.

Selling online can also be a great way to minimize your fees.

Online stores provide you the freedom and offer you the opportunity to work wherever you are.

This is important, considering you are just starting this venture.

Online Marketing

Social media is considered a must-have these days if you want your small business to thrive.

Actively marketing your products on social media could have a massive effect on your sales and can help make your brand more recognizable.

Social media you should consider are Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest.

Also, being creative and unique with posts can draw more attention.

Ensure your social media posts have the right quality and exceed customer expectations when it comes to packaging.

New online marketing tools allow clients to personalize their ads and target specific customer groups.

This is vital since you want to make sure the right customer groups view your products.

All the above raises the question of selling homemade dog treats is actually worth it.

The deal-breaker is usually the price.

Is It Profitable?

Of course, when starting a new business venture, you are most concerned about the profit.

There are many examples of people making a fortune after starting their pet treat business.

As a starter, we have a couple of tips you should keep in mind to make your business profitable.

Creating treats at home is much cheaper than finding a proper pet-treat manufacturer, and also selling treats online has the potential to do well.

Target a specific niche, after you do the research, and try to be as creative as possible.

If you already enjoy making treats for your dog, this can be the perfect side job.

In conclusion, the right mindset and proper research in selling homemade dog treats can help you acquire a decent profit.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the answer to the question do you need a license to sell homemade dog treats is obviously yes, and depending on the state you plan to start your business, you might need multiple.

There are also many other regulations and laws you have to be aware of when starting such a venture.

Many who started selling homemade dog treats have fallen victim to inadequate research.

So we strongly advise you to look at every aspect before you consider undertaking any action.

Carefully examine your market and customer needs.

The moral side of producing and selling dog treats is very important, as customers are willing to provide their pets with only the purest treats.

In this article, we have provided you with some necessary information to start a successful homemade dog treat business.

Besides that, raising awareness of the pet food industry is something every individual should be aware of.

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