114 North Alfred Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Pet Businesses You Can Start Today

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Pug with a Toy in its MouthMany people dream of starting their own business, and pet owners are no different. Our companion animals are faithful friends that provide us with comic relief and unconditional love. This thoughtful imagination doesn’t have to simply be a dream; there are many animal related business ideas that would be a lively career change and a strong investment.

Inspired by entrepreneur and author James Stephenson, Entrepreneur discusses many ways to get involved in this growing industry. The animal industry is constantly expanding, and there are many ways to be involved with this multi-million dollar, animal-loving business.

Here are some business ideas that you can start today:

Dog Walking Service

With pet owners working eight to twelve hour shifts, dog walkers can provide exercise and socialization during the day. Start with walking your neighbor’s or friend’s dogs and work your way up through references and local fliers. This job is perfect for active animal lovers, and is suitable for city and suburb communities.

Pet Photography:

Pet photography was once something to laugh about, but the business has become increasingly popular. Many families include their animal companions in family portraits, engagement pictures, and even wedding photos!

If you love photography, you can start a part-time or full-time business making animals the star of the show. Check out this “newborn baby shoot” that highlights the couple’s lovable Jack Russell Terrier, which was debuted in multiple media sites last month.

Homemade Dog Treats

Many dog owners are conscious about what their dogs eat. There are now healthy choices for dog foods, including: all natural, grain-free, vegetarian, and more.

However, that doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t deserve a sweet treat. If you love spending time in the kitchen, try making homemade dog treats like dog cupcakes, donuts, ice creams, jerkies, and more. For ideas on how to make your dog drool, check out this recipe website.

Alexandria is full of great farmers’ markets and small boutiques where you can find great homemade dog treats. You can also promote your bakeries on blogs, Pinterest, or Etsy.com.

Dog Training

If you have experience training animals, you can be a part of this multi-million dollar industry. Families can be overwhelmed with their first dog, and training can be the bridge to better communication.

You can train animals in the comfort of your home or the owner’s home.  If you are just starting out, look into mentoring with an experienced and certified trainer. To learn more about the various certifications, take a look at this article from The Whole Dog Journal.

Dog Day Care

Dog care facilities are becoming popular for a variety of reasons. While you are away at work, your dog can be socializing, being active, and cared for by loving professionals.

You can drop your dog off before work and pick him or her up in the evening. Many dog day cares charge per day, but you can charge additional money for grooming or a video camera that connects to a phone app.

Animal Boutiques

Animal boutiques have been trending recently, and it doesn’t seem to be diminishing any time soon. Pet owners are looking towards local boutiques to have the trendiest, healthiest choices for their pets.

Boutiques are typically pet-friendly and can provide most of the other entrepreneurial ideas that are listed above. You can supply homemade food and bakeries, clothing, bedding, and other accessories for your community.

A great, local example is Wylie Wagg. Wylie Wagg is a family-run pet store that is dedicated to providing the healthiest and affordable choices for your pets. The pet store was awarded the Best Pets Boutique in 2012, voted by Virginia Living, and voted best pet supply this year by the Washingtonian.  They have stores in Arlington, Fairfax, Middleburg, Tysons, Virginia, and Woodley Park in Washington D.C.

The most important aspect of pet businesses is the safety and quality of the product. To ensure that you are following animal law regulations (especially for stores and day cares), talk with an experienced animal law and small business lawyer today.


Photo Credit: Gamma Man via Compfight cc

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About Heidi Meinzer

Heidi is an attorney and animal lover, not necessarily in that order. She handles small business, animal law, and nonprofit legal issues. She is licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Washington State. Heidi is also a certified dog trainer. Heidi Meinzer's Google+ Profile