The pet industry is growing by leaps and bounds!
More and more money is being spent on toys, treats, beds, and even Halloween costumes…for pets.
If you have a pet of your own I’m sure you can relate. And what better person to make pet products than a pet owner.
I currently have two dogs in my home, plus two cats. They are great company, entertainment, and companions. And when I’m having an off day, they pick up on it and come for extra cuddles.
They can also turn my house upside down when they decide it’s play time. Anyone who knows me personally has seen or heard of the destruction the cats (aka hellions) can cause. They melted my heart when I saw the picture of them, and I can’t imagine life without them now. I am, however, a little afraid of what’s going to happen to my Christmas tree when I put it up.
This post is going to give you 5 products you can make and sell either online, offline, or both. And they are just the beginning of what can become a mile-long list if you were to do some brainstorming.
1. Dog Treats
As pet owners we want what’s best for our canine companions. By making treats with basic ingredients, we know exactly what goes into them. I have recently made some with pumpkin puree, peanut butter, oil, eggs, and whole wheat flour. My dogs loved them!
I am going to try another recipe this week which uses milk, peanut butter, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. I think adding some cheese, bacon bits (not the simulated ones), and even just a tablespoon of bacon grease will give both recipes doggy-appeal.
My daughter scored the cookies before baking so they were easy to break.
Funny story: I went out for the evening the day after we baked these, and while I was gone my hellions knocked the container of treats on the floor. Cats and dogs ate almost all of the treats in that container. Luckily I had put the mini ones in separate containers so they didn’t get them.
2. Pet Toys
All pets need to be entertained to some degree, and toys are just one way of doing it. I find the easiest toys to make are cat toys because all one needs is some yarn, stuffing, fabric, and a dowel.
Dog toys can also be made with yarn or fabric, such as a water bottle inside a denim cover. If you’re into macrame, a rope toy can be made using thick cotton cord and tight knots.
Even the birds of the household need toys to keep them busy. These can be made with untreated wood, which can be easily obtained from your backyard. The key is to make sure you are using wood from a tree that is safe for birds.
Macrame can come in handy for bird toys too. Medium weight cord, a bell, and a small mirror purchased at your local Dollar Store will keep birds entertained for hours.
3. Dog Sweaters & Booties
If you live in a cold climate like I do, your puppy of any age probably wears a sweater at some point. I find the smaller the dog, the greater the need for a sweater.
I have crocheted sweaters for my dog from acrylic yarn, but I do have to say using a natural fibre is better when it comes to both heat retention and breathability.
When I had alpacas I made coats for the babies using fleece, quilt batting, and cotton fabric. They worked well to help the littles retain some body heat when it was cold out. We had a couple born during the winter so keeping them warm was essential.
Booties can be made from yarn, fabric, or even a light leather. The trick is getting the dogs used to wearing them while they’re inside so they’re not so inclined to take them off outside.
4. Blankets & Beds
Crocheters, knitters, and sewers have a lot of options when it comes to making beds and blankets for dogs, cats, rabbits, and whatever other type of pet you have.
I have made cat caves and sold a few at a local Christmas Market a few years ago. I crocheted mine from wool roving I found at a local Thrift Shop, and used a large hook. The only thing I didn’t do was add a cardboard or plastic insert to keep it open. If you’re interested in making cat caves I do suggest cutting a 4 litre ice cream bucket to make the interior support. This way the cat will be able to crawl inside easily. Otherwise it just becomes something they lay on top of.
Blankets and beds can be made from recycled denim, cotton, and even worn bed sheets/quilts. Just cut to size, add some quilt batting or stuffing, and voila!
5. Cat Trees
If you have access to used carpet (or scraps of new), scrap pieces of untreated wood, and a heavy duty staple gun you have a good portion of what is needed for cat trees.
I bought one from Amazon earlier this year for my two hellions and it is covered with something similar to minky fabric. I do have to say, carpet is definitely the better way to go. The one my ex-husband made for my cat 3 decades ago was by far sturdier than the one I have now; and it was 7′ tall. And not once did she tip it over. (The one I bought has been tipped over twice, and is now being held down by an antique sewing machine.)
A cat tree is a wonderful playground and place to relax for your kitties, depending on how they feel. Mine will play on it, then go to their favourite spots on it and nap: Mickey either in or on the cave part, and Merlot on the very top. They both no longer fit in the same spot at the same time.
I haven’t gone into great detail about how to make any of the above products, simply because this post would have been eBook size. There are resources available online (just don’t get sucked into the Pinterest Rabbit Hole) on how to make treats, sweaters, cat caves and more.
All of the above can be sold either online or offline. I would suggest local markets and/or pet stores first, especially when it comes to the cat trees. The shipping alone will be expensive, even if you can package it in pieces with assembly instructions.
Have you considered pet products as a side hustle? If so, which will you start with?