Pet Business 101: From Puppy School to Running With the Big Dogs

Working with animals can be fun and fulfilling, but it’s still a lot of work. If your passion is working with people’s pets, there are a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities. Below are some business tips for entrepreneurs looking to break into the pet industry:


Deciding Your Business Model

Running a pet-centric business comes with a lot of options. First you’ll want to think about what services pet owners need and how you can offer them in a way that sets you apart. If you want to offer dog-walking services, consider what hours you’ll be available and fun destinations you can take your furry charges. If you’re considering boarding animals in your home, be sure to consider new trends in pet boarding so that you can design a competitive service. Other pet business options include:

  • Behavior training - this will require licensing and certifications, but will allow you to build a business helping owners improve their pets’ behavior patterns.
  • Grooming - grooming businesses require a commercial location, but offers the opportunity of being able to sell retail products as well as grooming services.
  • Pet sitting- you’ll be able to set your own schedule, but be wary of boundaries and legal liability!


Many of these can be fruitful part-time side gigs, or become full-fledged businesses that you build your career around. They also allow the flexibility for you to change your business model as you decide whether to scale up or pursue other interests. Pet-focused businesses can be both passion projects and financially rewarding endeavors, so you don’t necessarily have to choose between money and enjoying your job.


Preparing for the Realities of Animals

Pets can be loving, fun, inspiring, and downright adorable. Unfortunately they can also be rambunctious, messy, and a bit of a hassle. If you have multiple animals in the same area, you’ll have to take measures to keep animals safe around each other. This can include secure kennels, partitions, and intimate knowledge of what triggers certain animals.


Many pets not only shed their fur, but also drag in dirt and debris from the outdoors. If you’re working with young, untrained, or stressed animals, you may also have to deal with bathroom accidents. Be sure you have a sturdy floor that can withstand abuse and that you know how to maintain it.


If your business is going to be out of your home, you’re going to need to do some research on taxes and zoning laws in your area. You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll be having customers in your home and figure out all the logistics involved with that.


Finding Your Audience

The key to any successful business is finding your audience. Pet-based businesses have a very targeted audience, so it’s easy to narrow down effective places to advertise. Dog parks, community-events for pet owners, and social media pet groups are great places to start. You can also get creative by working with pet shelters and working with other pet-focused businesses who aren’t direct competitors.


Are you a pet-industry business owner? What has helped you find success? Share in the comments!


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