“Pets give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. …Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life – they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.”

– Author Nick Trout

More Americans – nearly 80 million – own a pet than ever before, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), and they’re not afraid to pamper them. 

With pet owners set to spend more than $72 billion this year on their fur babies, the APPA says there’s never been a better time to own a pet franchise. 

From daycare and boarding, to grooming, training and all-natural food options, it’s a lucrative market even in times of recession. Forbes reports that 92-percent of pet owners spend the same or more on their pets in a recession. After all, they’re part of the family.

According to the APPA’s most recent National Pet Owners Survey, the number of US households that own a pet is on the rise as well. There are 60.2 million dog owners and 47.1 million cat owners, with a combined 32.2 million people owning freshwater and saltwater fish, birds, reptiles, small animals and horses.  

Here are three popular options in pet franchising, starting, of course, with food.

Pet food

Millennial pet owners, one of the most powerful generations of pet owners, are changing the selection of pet food offered. More than 55-percent of millennials will opt for natural or holistic pet food options, according to a Packaged Facts reports on Millennials as Pet Market Consumers. Natural food and bakery options manufactured from whole ingredients are thriving.

Doggy day care / boarding

Pet parents who used to wonder why they’d want to have their dog play with other dogs while they worked, now feel guilty if they don’t do it. Pet care services is a $69 billion industry, according to APPA, and includes overnight boarding options. Some doggy day care / boarding franchises offer live webcams so customers can even check in on their dogs.


This category encompasses dog and cat grooming services, including washing and drying, nail trimming and brushing inside a storefront location. Some franchises offer specially-designed vans that will go to customers’ homes to pamper the pooch.

Other pet-based franchise options include healthcare with licensed, independent veterinarians; specialty pet supply stores; dog obedience training; in-home pet sitting; pet-waste removal; and funeral and cremation services. 

Remember – even though you may be the world’s biggest animal lover – keep your franchise business decision about business! A “cheap” business can be an expensive mistake. Even if you’ve narrowed your franchise search to the pet industry – you still need to ask the business questions. What’s the average investment? How many others are in the franchise system? How does the franchisor support my efforts? Is this business one that I need to work in full-time, or can I manage a manager? Is there an opportunity to scale the business? All of these questions and many more should be explored when looking to open your own business. There’s many opportunities in the pet industry – take the time to explore if it’s the right fit for your goals AND those of your 4 legged friends.

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