Do Dog Treats Have to Be FDA Approved? (Solved & Explained!)

No, you will not need premarket approval to sell your dog treats, but they will need to be produced in a sanitary place, you’ll need accurate labelling, and your treats cannot contain any harmful substances. They must also, of course, be completely safe to eat. For further details on FDA specific requirements and ingredient classifications for pet foods, check the FDA’s website here.

For the remainder of this article we’ve compiled a Dog Treat Marketing FAQ based on popular questions trending on the web this week. Are dog treats taxable? How do you avoid mold? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more – details are waiting for you below!

Do you need approval to sell dog treats in the U.S.?

Yes, you are going to need licensing to sell your treats and the requirements, unfortunately, will vary a bit from state to state and there is no single ‘all state’ agency you can use for this.

The easiest way to ensure compliance is to work with an attorney, so that you can register for the states you will do business with, or start with only local sales and licensing which will let you sell your treats in your state and to Canadian customers, where pet treats will not require extra licensing beyond local to ship to.

Can I sell dog treats without a license UK?

Yes, if you are located in the UK and wish to sell dog treats, then you will need to register with the Trading Standards Office which is local to you.

Beyond this, you will also need to check regulations for any countries that you will be shipping to in order to ensure that there are no special requirements or licensing required.

Can I make dog treats at home and sell them?

Yes, you most certainly can, but you will need to check with your state and local health department first to obtain licensing to sell these products.

If you intend to sell them to any other states, further licensing for each state may be required, although some countries such as Canada can be marketed to instead as no additional licensing beyond your local requirements will be needed.

Are dog treats taxable?

This is a gray area, as some classification of these foods is a bit poorly defined, and a California company was recently informed that they owed about 8 years of back taxes on animal food products that they distributed.

While this was ultimately ruled in the companies favor, you need to check the laws for your state and other states you will do business with to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to you down the line.

Do dog treats need to be made in a commercial kitchen?

That depends on where you are marketing them. Farmer’s markets, for instance, may have no such requirement, though you’ll need to check that specific market in advance. Some online options, such as Etsy, will indeed require paperwork stating that your treats were produced in a commercial-grade kitchen.

It will all depend on where you are marketing online and the target states or countries that you will be shipping to, so you’ll need to do a bit of research in advance or start off with a smaller location range until you can grow the business a little.

Are dog treats in demand?

It really depends on where you are marketing them. Some areas don’t seem to have much demand for gourmet dog treats, while other locations this will definitely not be the case.

That said, in 2020 alone, Amazon reported 1.1 billion in sales on dog treats and pet foods, so there’s certainly a good bit of demand out there if you do your homework before you market your treats!

Are homemade dog treats good for dogs?

An important selling point with homemade dog treats is that owners can know exactly what went into them. This is not always the case with commercial treats, where companies have made an art form out of making clever descriptions for additives and preservative in their products.

Use this to your advantage by keeping your treats simple, healthy, and accurately labelled – this makes a huge difference in marketing your product.

How do you keep homemade dog treats from molding?

When you are packaging your treats, you should vacuum seal anything that you will be mailing out, or even things you’ll be using in your local Farmer’s Market if you aren’t sure how fast the products will move.

Moisture is the biggest contributor to your treats getting moldy, so the vacuum seal or airtight containers are the best way to get the most mileage out of preserving your treats.

How long do homemade dog treats last?

With optimal conditions and additions like mold inhibitors and vitamin C, you could have a potential shelf life of around 6 months, but it really is going to boil down to your specific treats and what you are putting in them.

That said, if you vacuum seal them and freeze them, usually they’ll last a good 8 months, so try to keep your initial amounts produced at a level that is adequate for sales but not so much that you’re freezer gets crowded and you end up throwing away lots of treats.

Do homemade dog treats need preservatives?

It is best if you can avoid going the preservative route and the easiest way to do this is by investing in a vacuum sealer and after sealing your products, either ship them immediately or put them in the freezer until it’s time to ship or sell them locally.

That way you can advertise your product as having no preservatives and this is an important selling point with many dog owners.

If you want some natural preservatives, seal you treats in with rosemary, Vitamin E, or dried egg whites. These can help to keep them fresher for a longer time and you can list them in a section called  ‘natural’ preservatives’ in your labelling.