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In the growing pet care franchise market, passionate and enthusiastic people starting their  own pet business are opening high-end pet boutiques, aquatic-supply stores, mobile dog grooming, doggy daycare , gourmet pet grocers  and even pet "butler” companies.

According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), in its “Pet Products Trends Report for 2009,” commercial retailers, hotels, high-end luxury pet care providers, and scores of small businesses catering to pet owners are all getting in on the act.

“More and more companies traditionally known for human products are going to the dogs, and cats, and reptiles,” according to the APPMA report. “Big name companies including Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.”

Timing is right

With the pet market growing – the APPMA estimates that Americans will spend more than $45 billion on pet care products and services in 2009 – the opportunity to run your own pet care franchise may never be better.

“Pet care is a great business for us,” said Ray Hays, president of Tucson, Ariz.-based Doo Care, a pet waste removal company. "With today’s busy lifestyles, many people don't have the time to scoop and dispose of dog waste, yet they still want a clean and healthy yard. As a result, dog waste removal is growing as a common and viable business service.”

Hays is hardly alone. Chris Gaba operates Central Bark Doggy Day Care, in Oakland Park, Fla., which he describes as a one-stop-shop for all canine needs. “We offer day care, overnights, training, grooming, and retail, all in a safe environment. Central Bark currently has 30 franchises running in the U.S. with more in development,” he said.

“There are so many opportunities in the pet care industry, but you have to really want it,” he said. “I cannot tell you how many folks we talk to day in and day out that say – ‘gosh, I’d love to do this.’ Or ‘I’ve wanted to do this all my life.’ Well, most of those people are still saying that. The difference between a real entrepreneur and an ordinary person is that the entrepreneur does the extraordinary and steps through the fear and takes action on their dreams.”   

Getting involved

The good news is that getting involved in a pet care franchise – or even starting your own pet care business – isn’t as difficult as you might think. Hays, for example, says he started Doo Care as a sideline business before it really took off, and Gaba is starting his second decade as owner of Central Bark.

“As a pet business owner, you really have the best of both worlds,” Gaba said. “You get to own and operate your own business and be your own boss. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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