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From Kitchen to Canine Customers: A Few Tips for Starting a Dog Bakery

The pet industry is growing, and more and more dog bakeries are starting. This was a business that was never heard of in the not-too-distant past! In fact, many people still have never heard of a cake for their dog!

But because the dog treat and dog cake baking industry is booming, we get a lot of questions about how to start a dog bakery business. Here are a few of the common questions we hear:

Do I need a business license to start a dog bakery business?

by Brooke A. in Pennsylvania

I have succeeded to start a dog bakery business out of my own kitchen and was wondering if I needed a business license to continue running & to also some day expand my business. Also I was wondering if I needed to have my kitchen certified since I am baking them out of my own kitchen. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous

We get many inquiries about how to do it. If you are considering going this route, the first thing you must do is do some basic research. Find other dog bakeries and go visit them. If there aren’t any close by, that may be a good thing – you could be the first!

While each state has its own requirements for bakeries, if you are selling dog treats, you should absolutely get a business license and liability insurance to protect you.

Requirements for baking from your home kitchen depend on your state law. Contact your department of health and your state Department of Agriculture.

Many states do not require you to have a licensed kitchen for dog treats. However, they do have the right to inspect it and make sure it is sanitary and ingredients, equipment, etc. is kept separate from normal kitchen equipment.

Again, all states are different so make sure you check first.

Yes, you need an IRS Tax ID number, state name registration, sale tax license, Department of Agriculture license, and Cottage Food license to sell dog treats in the state of Pennsylvania. You can not legally make dog treats from your kitchen and sell them. You have to have a different area and be inspected by the PA Department of Agriculture.

Many dog boutiques and pet supply stores are incorporating a dog bakery inside to sell either their own “homemade” delicacies or to sell dog cakes and dog treats purchased from other dog bakeries and dog bakery supplies.

Consider your clientele. Are you located in an upscale part of town? Higher-income pet owners will not think twice about buying gourmet dog treats for their pets or for their friends and family who have pets. People who have been laid off or who are unemployed as happens in a recession will not be that interested in spending money on something they do not consider a necessity. They will be more likely to make their own dog treats.

You will have to check out the requirements of your locale when you start a dog bakery business because you will be selling food. Even though you are selling food items to pets, these are starting to become regulated. You will need to ensure that you have the proper licensing and equipment if an inspection process is required.

Certain states have their own food ingredient requirements. These requirements may also come into play if you are planning to ship baked goods, especially in certain countries.

Dog Bakery Logo and Labels

Business labels are an important asset if you plan to start a dog bakery business.

Start-up businesses often don’t have the capital to create fancy packaging and designs. Frequently, they are still testing logos and type fonts to find the best look and feel that characterizes their company and what it has to offer.

To keep costs at a minimum, businesses will start out with labels on blank packaging until they are ready to invest money into more professional printed packages.

Labels are also useful to place on boxes or packages that you ship to customers.

You can print labels on your computer and in many cases, they work well, but if you could get professional labels at the same cost as your homemade labels (after you pay for the blank labels and the ink), wouldn’t that be a better choice?  

Look for the following benefits when researching a label-making company:

  • No plate charges
  • No die charges
  • Cut any shape you desire
  • 4-color process printing – get any color under the rainbow
  • Durable UV inks
  • Near photographic quality
  • Wide variety of materials
  • Short runs for low quantities
K9Cakerylogo
Example of our customized logo

Our business logo is not even a square or rectangular shape, but this is the shape that was desired. Be aware that label companies or a quick printing shop usually charge an extra plate or die charge for custom shapes and multiple colors.

Questions about dog treat icing, dog treat frosting, or starting your own dog bakery business? Drop a comment below and we’ll do our best to get all your questions answered!

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3 responses to “From Kitchen to Canine Customers: A Few Tips for Starting a Dog Bakery”

  1. I’m interested in possibly starting this here where I live..I’m a chef by trade and an animal lover and advocate since I was very young.ive made dog treats before and sold them..but not as a brick and mortar bakery.i was trying to figure out how to make a cafe you could bring your dog in ..I think I need a dog cafe/bakery they can bring their hoomans too

    • I personally think this is the best of both worlds with regards to accessing multiple revenue streams. Another thing that is cool about this approach is it gives you a model to show other Hoomans that they could be serving the pets of their communities as well and drive some of those Starbuck’s pup-cup customers to you instead. Now, I must argue that if you do both I believe you will have to do both very well. I have noticed that the standards and bar for local smaller coffee shops and bakeries is immensely high. It’s a bit ironic when you think of people eating packaged foods from Panera or Starbucks and then turning their nose at a local cafe but as a chef by trade I am sure you are all but aware of this. Also, expanding your sales and brand to other cafes via wholesale to carry your treats will amplify your revenue to cover the increased cost of brick and mortar. We will have more posts on these topics and producing several guides such as digital marketing for dog treat makers in the near future. Always reach out with questions if you’d like us to create a special post in response.

      – Chef Fido

  2. Hello – I have a question that has been blowing
    my mind and no letter how many times I try and find the answer – I can’t!!
    How do you know what the shelf life of your
    products should be? Is there a formula depending on the products? Do you have to do it through a research company?
    I’ve been asked to bake for small
    independent pet suppliers but
    no idea what sell by / use by date to put????
    HELP!!!
    Thank You

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