Pet festivals are great for a lot of things including socializing your dog, picking up new pet products (and samples), getting travel ideas, and likely the most overlooked: getting pet business ideas. I found myself thinking about all of these things and more after attending the Canadian Pet Expo.
Pet events, expos, and festivals are back in 2022 – maybe not all of them and maybe with precautions – but I’m looking forward to introducing my new pup to new experiences. Not just at the festivals, but in the cities, towns, and generally destinations hosting these events.
Easter weekend, we attended our first pet expo of the 2022 season – the annual Canadian Pet Expo near the Toronto airport. As usual, the event was vendor-focused but I’m always impressed with the number of entrepreneur opportunities in the pet space. So many pet opportunities to provide products, services, and experiences to doggies and the people who love them. Companion animals are big business.
Here are three seed pet business ideas for creative animal-loving entrepreneurs – and the travel ideas they inspire – based on things I purchased at the pet expo:
Pet business idea #1: Providing portable dog activities
Something almost every pet festival and event needs are more activities for dogs to participate in when they’re leashed up and excited. A canine lure course is one option – DogLoversDays is a company that’s been providing portable dog lure courses at events for years.
My previous dog tried it out in the Kingston Sheepdog trials and my current dog was game to give it a whirl at the Canadian Pet Expo. She’s a natural, and races the course almost too fast. Of course, like an amusement park ride, there’s a camera set up to get just the right photo (for an extra charge) of your pup leaping over a small hurdle. And what dog mom doesn’t want that?
Travel idea: Where to learn dog agility
Because my dog took to the lure course like, well, a spaniel to a chase, it got me thinking about what else she could learn and where. Turns out Mr. Spot Dog Camp runs a week-long event, this year in Toronto, Ontario, where your dog gets introduced to a number of canine sports including agility, flyball, and more.
And yes, Mr. Spot Dog Camp is an actual camp. You stay there night and day, living and breathing dog fun. Hopefully, I’ll get there with my dog this year.
Pet business idea #2: Creating dog treats
After getting a pro dehydrator for Christmas last year, I’ve been threatening to make my own dog treats for months … the results are on the way here on dogtrotting.net, I promise.
In the meantime, I bought dehydrated sardines and dehydrated beef (which my dog loves) from Grand Valley Quail Pet Treats. That’s right: quail. The company specializes in raw quail eggs, quail egg meal topper, and quail egg large and small treats for dogs. However, other proteins like beef, pork, and sardines are available in resealable brown paper packaging.
Travel idea: Where to hike with your dog
Grand Valley Quail pet treats had me asking – where is Grand Valley, Ontario? Turns out, it’s a rural area west of Toronto in Dufferin County along the banks of The Grand River. Population 3,000, so maybe a quaint small-town day trip soon?
Grand Valley’s central attraction is Luther Marsh Conservation Area, a marsh covering more than 40 square kilometres and run by the Grand River Conservation Authority. My pup loved visiting the marshy trails at Presquile Provincial Park, so Luther Marsh is on the list for our next outing. Maybe we’ll discover more Grand Valley Quail for sale.
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Pet business idea #3: Selling unique dog products
No secret, I buy my dog too much stuff. Exploring new vendors is the main reason I like to attend pet festivals like the Canadian Pet Expo. Each time, I find something different. What’s new in 2022? Bubbles … for dogs.
Called Bubble Lick, these are bacon flavoured bubbles (affiliate link) – the same kind you blow from a stick for kids. Only these bubbles are for dogs, or kids if your kid likes to bite bubbles out of the air. I imagine my dog will have a great time with these because she was very captivated by the bubble machine at the expo.
Travel idea: Where to camp with your dog
The first vision to appear in my head after buying dog bubbles was sitting around an outdoor campfire blowing bubbles and watching the dog leap for them. For some reason, I imagined bubbles as a camping activity, or maybe a beach game. Either way, there’s both where the dog and I are going this summer.
I’m planning our most adventurous road trip yet: a drive from Ontario to the east coast of Canada, likely through Maine, USA, and ending up in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia.
Like all of Canada’s 46 National Parks, Kejimkujik is dog-friendly including three glamping oTENTiks, one of which will be our home for a few days. Stay tuned … I for one am getting excited about this summer.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for 30 years and travel writer for the last 20. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion.