Selling homemade dog treats is a very wonderful business to consider in Canada since you can start and run it from home. Note that this sort of business falls within the category of a pet food business, however, Canada’s pet food industry is not regulated and this brings about a whole lot of risks and lapses. Still, starting your home-based dog bakery remains a massive opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.

In Canada, there is a massive demand for this type of business especially since people love to spoil their dogs and treat them as members of the family. The products you make can help pet owners celebrate their dog’s birthday or a special milestone; it can be an afternoon snack or even a reward for good behavior.

However, unlike in the United States, Canada has different laws when it comes to making and selling homemade dog treats. Note that you are allowed to make and sell homemade dog treats as long as they are baked or low risk. While there are no regulations in Canada, you must consider your scientific formulation.

Know that improper balance of ingredients can lead to health concerns for a pet. At a minimum, you should consult an Animal Nutritionist to ensure that your combination of ingredients is appropriate. If you also intend to make raw diets, then you should bother about Salmonella or Listeria, which are most often found in raw diets. Salmonella in dog treats tends to present risks not only to the dogs but also to their owners.

Rules and Regulations for Selling Homemade Dog Treats in Canada

Just like it was noted above, there is no all-inclusive regulation for pet food in Canada.  Howbeit, some acts impact the production and sale of pet food, the importation of pet food ingredients, and the exportation of pet food.

Coupled with these regulations, there are policy documents that note basic expectations of pet food manufacturers, as well as requirements for some imported raw materials that might be used in pet food. Therefore, if you are looking to start making and selling homemade dog treats, here are rules and regulations to be wary of;

  1. Formulations

The formulation is the recipe used to make your homemade dog treats. A recipe contains ingredients that all contribute to the nutrition of the product as a whole. Have it in mind that each ingredient in the recipe serves a specific purpose and will have to be selected carefully from a well-noted supplier. A good number of businesses that make dog treats tend to regularly audit their suppliers to ensure they adhere to strict specifications.

Since the dog treat is primarily a source of nutrition for the dog, the formulation of the recipe remains very vital, very complicated, and should only be developed in consultation with a person who has formal training in the nutrition of dogs.

Most often, home-based dog bakeries make the mistake of projecting the principles of human nutrition on pet nutrition. Always remember that a dog’s nutritional needs vary exponentially from that of a human. Products should be tested in a laboratory to verify that the formula is delivering the desired level of nutrition.

  1. Ingredients

Although there is no Canadian regulation (other than the Health of Animals Act) that notes ingredients and product formulations, no reasonable person would want to make and sell dog treats without expertise in dog nutritional requirements.

If you are looking to make and sell dog treats that are safe and meet the nutritional requirements of the pet, ensure you consult an Animal Nutritionist to formulate the product. A good number of ingredients needed to make pet food are not available in Canada and may have to be imported from the USA or other countries.

Note that you may need an import permit, so it is advisable to consult the AAFCO Official Publication, especially since it provides a very good insight into safe ingredients.

  1. Food Safety

You have to understand that the basis of all pet food production, whether the production is home-based or large complies with safe food production methods. Have in mind there are numerous examples of food safety protocols to consider when looking to make and sell dog treats.

For one, consider the safety protocols developed by the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA). This protocol explicitly notes the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for producing processed food or pet food.

While the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) go beyond inspecting finished food or pet food products, it works to find, correct, and prevent hazards all through the production process. These include physical, chemical, and biological hazards.

  1. Labeling

When looking to make and sell dog treats in Canada, there are two considerations to note about product labeling. First is what is necessary by law or recommended by government policy, while the second consideration is to ascertain what a consumer expects to see on a pet food label.

  • Regulation Regarding Labeling

From a regulatory perspective, note that The Guideline for Labeling and Advertising of Pet Food was put together by Industry Canada in consultation with the pet food industry and consumer association, and can be found on the Competition Bureau’s website.

Although this is not the law itself, the Guide is supported by The Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act and The Competition Act. It also buttresses accepted industry practices and is referred to by Industry Canada (Competition Bureau) when a labeling complaint is received.

Also note that it states what is expected on a pet food label, such as ingredient declaration, a guaranteed analysis, a feeding guideline, nutritional adequacy and nutrient profiles coupled with direction on naming products, and very general guidance on claims development.

  • Labeling and Consumer Expectations

Most often, your potential clients will read labels on their own foods and have an expectation, irrespective of what the law says as to what should appear on the label. Agreeably, consumers will expect all your claims to be truthful and not misleading or exaggerated.

Some may want to see certain information concerning the sourcing of ingredients (e.g. Origin, method of production) that is not required by law, or maybe a “best before” or “sell by” date. Potential product spoilage owing date tends to be of massive concern to consumers too.

5. Laboratory Testing and Analysis

Ideally, tests are developed to look for the presence of specific toxins and they can be quite costly for a home-based dog treat business, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Note that no government laboratory tests products for the general public and you are not expected to carry out an analysis on a treat product unless you are calling attention to the label regarding a specific ingredient or benefit of an ingredient or nutrient. Howbeit, some companies offer laboratory analysis for the sole aim of confirming a guaranteed analysis.

6. The Manufacturing Facility

Although there is no requirement in Canada for pet food preparation in a commercial kitchen, but local bylaws and even your household insurance policy may limit the use of your residence for this business. Owing to that, it is advisable to check your local bylaws to confirm.

In addition, unless you intend to export your products to another country, an inspection or license is not required. However, ensure you do not go against Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) just because no government agency mandates it.


Have it in mind that anyone who makes and sells dog treats has a significant responsibility to both the dogs and their human companions. Generally, making and selling pet food is a complicated undertaking which at a minimum requires training and expertise in pet nutrition and food safety.

In Canada, dog nutritional standards have been developed for many years by the scientific community, and while there are no all-inclusive regulations for pet food in Canada, it is your responsibility to carry out diligence for your home-based dog treat business.