Starting a Pet Food Business

Getting into the pet food (products for dogs and cats) business means complying with all the local, state and federal regulations that apply to such a business. This website is designed to help you get started down the right path. The site has explanations and links to Resources in the states and U.S. government. Many people are surprised by how many regulations apply to the pet food business.

“I make treats for my dog. He loves them. My neighbors’ dogs love them too. I can earn a few bucks by selling them. It’s a snap!”

WHOA! Not so fast. Selling dog treats or other food product for pets is getting into the business of pet food. You want the best for your pet and you want to have the best business, too.

“I wanted my business to be completely legal and to comply with all the regulations. It was very confusing at first and a lot more involved than I thought. But I stuck with it and now have a product that I can sell with confidence.” – from a woman in California who developed her own line of dog treats.

To start off:

  • We recommend that you purchase a copy of the AAFCO Official Publication, which can be ordered directly from the AAFCO website.
  • Read through the section in this website: Starting a Pet Food or Pet Treat Business.
  • Find out about ingredients to use in your products.
  • Read the section on Labeling.
  • Then you can progress to the section on Registration and Licensing requirements for your state or any state where you want to sell your product.
    Get started now. You can comply with the regulations AND earn some money!

[Please remember that laws and regulations change, and you are responsible to know and comply with all laws and regulations.]


The information contained in this website is designed to provide advice to small petfood and treat manufacturers on regulatory requirements and to assist them in the development of proper labeling for these products.

AAFCO has no statutory authority to regulate pet products.

Rather, enforcement of violations is the purview of the state feed control officials, so companies must comply with each state’s requirements. While most states follow AAFCO model regulations, exact language and interpretation may differ between states. While these documents offer guidance that are helpful in the vast majority of states, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure compliance with individual state requirements.

Did you know?

AAFCO does not regulate, test, approve or certify pet foods in any way.

AAFCO establishes the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods, and it is the pet food company’s responsibility to formulate their products according to the appropriate AAFCO standard.

It is the state feed control official’s responsibility in regulating pet food to ensure that the laws and rules established for the protection of companion animals and their custodians are complied with so that only unadulterated, correctly and uniformly labeled pet food products are distributed in the marketplace and a structure for orderly commerce.