Starting a Business in the Pet Industry

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The American Pet Products Association estimated that the pet industry would earn $72.13 billion in 2018. Everyone loves pets, it seems, including dogs, cats, hedgehogs, fish, birds, and reptiles. Pet owners need everything from food and supplies to pet-sitting and even spa services for their companions. As they become more savvy about, for example, nutrition and health, they increasingly seek better quality products.

Entrepreneurs in the pet industry have many different options to explore if they’re considering doing business with people’s pets. And with the explosion of Instagram and other visual media, it’s easier than ever to get your products in front of consumers.


Why the Pet Industry?

Members of the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts view pet ownership and pet-friendly lifestyles more favorably than previous generations. After all, many refer to their puppies and kitties as their fur babies. That means they want the best for their pets. According to Market Research, sales of pet products and services increased five percent in the last year, showing that people will spend their money on anything for their pets.

Before you fully commit to diving into the pet industry, test the waters. Try volunteering at local animal shelters or rescues. You can gain exposure to numerous species and breeds to better understand their needs. If you’re going to launch a business where you actually spend time with pet, such as a dog walking service, make sure you can handle being around a large number of animals at once!

If the idea of being around animals all the time makes you happy, especially if your dorm room or off-campus apartment doesn’t allow animals, it’s a great way to get some quality time with pets while also preparing for your business venture.


Find Your Niche in the Pet Industry

There are endless options for you if you’re considering entering the pet industry. You may even think of something no one ever has before. By spending time around pets and their owners, you may discover an unmet need or a way to improve on an existing product. However, explore some of the product categories already out there to see if one matches your skills and passion.

Tank Designer

When people think of pets, many think only of cats and dogs. However, the APPA notes that freshwater fish are the most common pets in America, followed by cats and dogs. Appeal to the fish owners, who may feel neglected, by designing custom fish tanks.

Organic Treats and Pet Food Creator

Forbes reported that people give their pets eight to 10 treats a day. And, of course, they have to eat. With a rise in interest in organic and sustainable foods, plus a few scares about deadly toxins in imported pet foods, people are more discerning about pet food than ever before. Many view organic pet food and treats as the answer.

Pet “Furniture” Designer

Sometimes people don’t want their pets to sleep on their bed with them. If that’s the case, pet beds come in handy. People aren’t going to buy uncomfortable beds for their pets, especially if they consider their pets a part of their family, so the comfier, the better. Older pets and those with joint issues benefit from memory foam. People also want pets beds, crates, scratching posts, and other furniture items to blend with their overall decor. Study interior design trends to see what’s making a splash.

Pet Spa Owner

People want to make sure their pets are well taken care of when they go on vacations. That’s where you come in. If you open a pet spa, you can pamper pooches or cuddle with cats. You can also charge more if you plan on offering amenities for people’s pets, like pet manicures or pet massages. People will enjoy knowing their pets are taken care of while they’re on vacation.

Pet Sitter

For pets that have anxiety over being in new places, pet spas may not be the best idea for them. That’s where a pet sitting business can come in handy. Pet sitters either stay with people’s pets the whole time their owners are away, or check in them every so often. If you’re considering building a pet sitting business, start small. If a professor you like is going out of town for a conference, pitch yourself as the ideal pet sitter. Word of mouth is a strong tactic in getting your business out, so impress your professor and get ready to spend a lot of time with different pets.

Cat Café Owner

For people who want to experience pets without all the responsibility of owning them, cat cafés fill the void. Cat cafés are rising in popularity. If you’re unfamiliar, cat cafés are places where people go for coffee and snacks and cats roam freely, visiting with customers. You need a staff willing to care for and clean up after cats, in addition to waiting on customers. You might partner with a local shelter to bring in cats who need homes and help facilitate adoptions.


Humans tend to care for their pets as if they’re a member of the family, leading to the recent pet industry boom. With estimates of the pet industry growing, it’s a great time to join the trend and pamper the animals in your life.


PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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