Yes, you do, and it’s a very good idea. Frivolous lawsuits occur every day and if someone accuses your treats of making their dog sick then you’ll be in for an expensive ride if you are not insured.
You will need liability insurance to protect yourself and your business and this also comes with the benefit of additional protection in the form of assistance if your business damages your commercial space or your home during production.
In most cases liability insurance will be legally required, but even if that is not the case in your particular state, skipping this option is something that you do at your own peril – you need to be insured!
For the remainder of this article, we’re going to explore the world of marketing dog treats. Can you ship dog treats to Canada with no special requirements? Do both the FDA and USDA govern the sale of dog treats? Read on to find out the important information that you need to know before you start your own dog treat business in this lucrative, but sometimes tricky market!
Table of Contents
- How do you sell dog treats legally?
- Do dog treats have to be FDA approved?
- Does USDA regulate pet food?
- Do dog treats need to be made in a commercial kitchen?
- Can I sell homemade dog treats in Canada?
- Do dog treats sell on Etsy?
- How do you package homemade dog treats?
- How do you label pet treats?
- Do dog treats need a nutrition label?
- How do you keep homemade dog treats from molding?
How do you sell dog treats legally?
If you wish to sell dog treats legally then you are going to need a business license for your state, as well as for states that you will be doing business with. One notable exception that can help you get started on the cheap is that Canada only requires that you have local licensing to ship dog treats there.
Aside from this, obtain a license locally and for states that you intend to sell to and be sure to check their requirements – some may require a licensed kitchen or special notation on ingredients. Your best bet is to go through a lawyer to avoid any pitfalls while you are establishing your business.
Do dog treats have to be FDA approved?
Yes… and no. Premarket approval is not required, but the FDA still definitely regulates dog treats so there are a few requirements that you’ll need to meet to avoid trouble down the line.
Your treats must be safe for dogs to consume, with no harmful ingredients, all of said ingredients must be listed, and the treats must be produced in sanitary conditions. Provided that you meet these requirements, you won’t have problems with the FDA.
Does USDA regulate pet food?
While the USDA regulates meat that is marketed for human consumption, their authority does not extend to dog treats – even ones that include meat. Your dog treats are FDA regulated, but the USDA does not come into the equation and no special steps will be required in regards to this government entity.
Do dog treats need to be made in a commercial kitchen?
In most states this is not to be required, as commercial kitchens are typically only a requirement with human food. That said, pet treats are kind of a gray area, both in how the categories that it might fall in and even for taxation purposes.
Since it varies wildly from state to state, you need to check with your local and state health department before doing business locally and you need to research states that you will be marketing to outside of your own. This can be time consuming when you are getting started, but once you know the rules it will be easy sailing.
Can I sell homemade dog treats in Canada?
Yes! Canada is a great market to start with if you are worried about the complications of marketing In the states. Canadian law allows you to market and ship your dog treats with no special requirements other than what is required in your home country to sell your treats locally.
The pet treats market is fairly lucrative here, so many treat vendors will start with this market to begin building their clientele before expanding their business’s geographical range any further through more complicated state-to-state marketing.
Do dog treats sell on Etsy?
Yes, but check current marketing requirements, as Etsy may very well require that your home treats must be cooked in a licensed, commercial kitchen.
Many vendors have reported that this is currently the case, but rules change all of the time and as a commercial kitchen is generally a requirement for human food, this one might well change.
How do you package homemade dog treats?
One of the most cost-effective methods is to simply buy paper bags in bulk, along with a rubber stamp that depicts your company logo. Print up your ingredients list, making sure to state the ingredients, nutrition amount, and that they are dog treats, and put this label on the back with a stamp on the front.
Place your vacuum-sealed treats inside and give the top a triple-fold so that it looks like a child’s sack lunch, and you have a charming little package for your treats that won’t break the bank!
How do you label pet treats?
When labelling your treats, there are some basics that you want to include to make the ingredients and nutrition apparent and to give your product the professional touch. Be sure to include the following in your label:
- The name of your product with ‘dog treats’ clearly stated
- Your ingredient list
- Nutrition per serving (with serving size)
- Any special feeding instructions
- ‘Best by’ or projected date when treats start going bad (most place this towards the top)
Do dog treats need a nutrition label?
In most states this is not required but doublecheck – treats fall into a gray area in many states and you might be required to include this in some. That said, in most cases this is completely optional, but you’ll sell more treats if you take the time to determine the nutrition.
The easiest way to total this up is by using online ‘calorie counters’ that include nutrition and assessing the ingredients from your product individually, then totaling the amounts for ease of reading.
It will take you an hour or two, but it’s worth it – customers love nutrition information and often avoid products that don’t have this.
How do you keep homemade dog treats from molding?
With dog treats that you’ve made at home, preservation can be tricky. To get around this problem, vacuum sealing your treats is highly recommended.
If they will not be sold immediately then you can pop them in the freezer for up to 8 months and the vacuum seal should help ensure that they arrive fresh to your customer once you do sell them. Running your treats through a dehydrator first is optional, but also a good idea.
They last longer and they’ll be crunchier to boot!