Whether they're walking dogs or cleaning up after them, millions of Americans have landed gigs that combine their love for warm, furry creatures with their desire for cold, hard cash.
Americans are spending more and more money on their pets. It's estimated that in 2019 $6.31 billion will be spent on pet services, which include grooming, boarding, training, pet sitting, pet exercise, and more.
As a result, the job market for pet-related services has exploded. Employment of animal care and service workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, a rate that far exceeds the average for all occupations. This should lead to very good job opportunities, according to labor analysts.
Could one of these 7 jobs be your latest pet project? Let’s look at some possibilities.
1. Pet sitting
In 2015, members of Pet Sitters International, the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, reported they had performed more than 17 million pet-sitting assignments, earning more than $391 million in revenue.
Pet sitters care for animals in the pets’ homes, allowing them to stay in a familiar environment.
While nearly all pet sitters will offer services for dogs or cats (96.1 and 95.5 percent respectively), a range of other animals, including birds, fish, and caged pets, also need sitters.
Dogs and cats may generate the most business, but other animals, including birds and fish, could require someone with more particular knowledge of that creature. Either way, there’s money to be made for your animal instincts.
2. Animal photography
I recently signed up for a program that offered professional head shots. When I read the material, I saw that the photographer also provided head shots with the person’s pet in the photo. That should tell you all you need to know about how much people love their pets and want to capture their images.
Pet photography requires the usual photography skills — knowledge of photography equipment and software, and an eye for photo composition — with an ease with animals and their owners.
Sound good? Give it a shot.
3. Start a pet blog
If you’re like most pet lovers, you love to share photos and stories about your pets. So why not create a blog and post images and insights on your four-legged friends for the world to admire?
I can’t guarantee Duke or Chloe will become as popular as Grumpy Cat (in fact, I can pretty much guarantee he or she won’t) but there is money to made. Get enough readers and advertisers may place banners on your site. When a reader clicks on the ad, you get paid.
And either way, you get to find a creative outlet to brag about your best friend on four paws. (Or with feathers or gills, no judgment.) That’s priceless. Especially if you can earn a few extra dollars along the way.
4. Dog groomers
It seems like you can’t drive three blocks without seeing a grooming shop. They often sport the prettiest colors and the cutest names.
Groomers are in demand as more and more pet owners who want their animals to look and feel their best are willing to pay for their services.
While some groomers work in a brick and mortar shop, others will come to your home with their traveling pet beauty salon. I recently saw one in a small pop-up camper attached to a pick-up truck...proof that there’s more than one way to paint a dog’s nails!
Most groomers acquire training through apprenticeship programs, which typically last 6-10 weeks. Apprentices learn grooming skills, such as bathing, drying, haircutting, nail clipping, and dog handling through hands-on training under the supervision of experienced groomers.
This job takes a steady hand, a love for animals and a little creativity. I’ve seen Pomeranians that have been clipped to resemble pandas. You know the masqueraded dogs didn’t do the work themselves!
5. Pet Taxi Service
Like their human counterparts, pets sometimes need to be transported to the groomers, the vet, or maybe to their “grandparents’’ for an afternoon with their grand dogs.
This has opened up the field of pet transport. For the most part, drivers use their own vehicles to ferry animals to their appointments.
This one would probably require a visit to an accountant and maybe a lawyer to find out the license required, contracts to be signed by the owners of the pets being transported. But the open road — and a new source of income — awaits.
6. A new leash on professional life.
Walking a dog keeps the canine healthy and happy, but it takes time that some busy owners don’t have. (Pet food isn’t free, after all, or even cheap, in many cases. Pet owners must close their doors on their pets for long hours and head to the office to earn some cash.)
So they hire a dog walker to make sure their pet receives exercise and exposure to the outside world and its many sights and smells.
But this job can also benefit you, assuming you have the dogged determination. Being forced to walk on a regular basis in all kinds of weather means you can pretty much scrap the gym membership; a workout is guaranteed. And if you can juggle leashes — I’ve seen walkers with as many as five dogs per walk — the money can add up.
7. Here’s the poop
When you have dogs, something else adds up: Waste.
It’s the ugliest and smelliest part of dog ownership, and as a result, it’s one more and more owners are opting to avoid. That’s where poop scooping businesses come in.
A growing number of businesses specialize in visiting the yards of dog owners and leaving them clean of waste. It’s not a job for the squeamish but it’s easy to do, requires no special education or training, allows you to set your own schedule, and even has its own association, complete with an annual convention.
They do their business, you do yours.
And another pet-related side gig is in the (waste disposal) bag.
Love pets but prefer working with humans? We're hiring at Hanscom FCU!
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