Selling homemade dog treats from home can be a very rewarding and fun career path. Whether you want to sell your dog treats at a craft fair, farmers market, online or in a retail store you need to know where to start. The best place to take these 3 important steps:
Step #1 Develop Your Treat Recipes
When you first start making dog treats, you can quickly become overwhelmed with the numerous amount of recipes online and in dog treat cookbooks. The best advice we can give is to be aware of the ingredients that are in some of these recipes! Even the ones found in... cookbooks. Here is one list you can review, there are many online: Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
I point this out because I have purchased "brand name" cookbooks and was surprised at some of the ingredients that they used. The ingredients were "ok" for dogs in moderation but not necessarily "healthy" choices. So, remember, you can ask your local Vet for their opinions too.
The best thing to do is to: Keep it Simple. Master a good, healthy plain recipe, then add to it. After you develop your own recipe the best way to keep them from becoming moldy is to buy a basic dehydrator and dehydrate them for 8 - 10 hours after you bake them... viola! No added preservatives will be needed. You can find dehydrators on Amazon and Outdoor type of stores... We have seen them start at $30.
#2 Send Your Treats to a Feed Lab
Do not let this step overwhelm you. Simply search for "Feed Labs" online. Many of them are very helpful with dog treats. Just remember: You can get your treats tested for under $50 each, most cost under $40, keep searching if they cost more than that. Once you found a Feed Lab, make a quick phone call to your Department of Agriculture and ask if they "approve" of the particular Feed Lab (most States do not have preferences but some do). Then, ask what Analysis they require for dog treats. (Each State is different).
Once you have that information, simply bag up your treats with the Feed Lab requirements (some ask for 2 ounces worth some ask for more) Do not send them your recipes, etc... but do "Name" your dog treat. For example "Peanut Butter Dog Treats" or "Decorated Peanut Butter Dog Treats" This way you will know which Analysis goes with which treat when you receive it back.
#3 Register with your Dept of Ag
Now you can design your labels, add the Guaranteed Analysis that you receive from the Feed Lab and submit the label(s) to your State Department of Agriculture. Remember, you do not need to send them your recipe or treats. AND... remember, they are there to help you, do not be afraid to ask them questions or to change something on your label that they request. The best part? If you never change your dog treat recipe... you only need to do these 3 steps once then you can just bake and sell. ;)
Prior to submitting your labels to your Department of Agriculture you can use this as a guideline, but remember each State has different guidelines: Treat Label Guidelines