They always say that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. What if what you love is dogs? Beyond the obvious options, there are actually a wide variety of ways to make money working with dogs. Some of these options are better off as side gigs, some require additional training, and one requires a law degree, but all of these are legitimate ways to make your love of dogs start paying you, maybe in ways you never would have thought of. Here are 15 fun ways that you can put your passion for dogs to work and start earning money.
#1 – Service dog trainer
More than just training average pets to sit and stay, service dog trainers are teaching dogs very specific ways to help disabled people live better lives. Each dog may need to be taught different tasks in order to be the most useful for the person it’s going to help. As a service dog trainer, you’re not only working with dogs but making a very real impact in the lives of people who need help the most.
#2 – Dog walker
Get paid to get cardio? Why not! You need to walk your own dog anyway. Why not pick up a few other dogs along the way and get paid to walk around outside? Pick up as few or as many regular clients as you like and you have your cardio requirement taken care of for the week.
#3 – Animal rights lawyer
This one requires a law degree, of course, but if you love animals and still want a stable, well-paying job, an animal rights lawyer is the way to go. Unfortunately, animals can’t speak up for themselves, so they require humans to speak up for them. If you’re filled to the brim with empathy for animals – and the intelligence to pass the bar exam – this may be the perfect career for you.
#4 – Pet party planner
Yes, people throw parties for their pets, and yes, they will pay you to plan the party for them. It may be a birthday party, an adoption celebration, or a hurray for beating cancer celebration, but more and more people are opening up to the idea of getting together some of their dog’s favorite friends – with their people in tow, of course – for a party. If you love planning celebrations and have a passion for dogs, this may be just the right career for you!
#5 – Dog photographer
Have photography skills? Dog photographers are more in demand than ever. Whether you do candid shots or serious portraits, people will pay good money for well-done photos of their dogs.
#6 – Dog bather or groomer
Even though becoming a dog groomer requires training, many grooming salons will hire somebody with no experience to be a dog bather and will then train that person to become a dog groomer. If you have endless patience and don’t mind getting peed or pooped on while you work, dog grooming may be the career for you.
#7 – Canine massage therapist
This is another segment of the animal care industry that is gradually gaining more traction. Just as the benefits of massage have been proven in humans, they’re proving true for dogs as well. Becoming a certified canine massage therapist does require some training and testing, but what could be more rewarding than making dogs feel good for a living?
#8 – Dog adventure leader
More than just a dog walker, adventure leaders take dogs on epic hikes up mountains, through the woods, or into the ocean’s surf. If you love the outdoors and hanging out with dogs, people will pay you good money to take their dogs on epic, exhausting adventures while they are at work.
#9 – Make dog treats
Dog treats are becoming a big business. Bake up a batch of doggy biscuits and take them to vet clinics, dog groomers, and pet supply stores. Give out a few free samples with your business card attached, and you might be able to start selling enough dog treats to earn a nice income.
#10 – Dog trainer
There will always be a need for dog trainers. You will need some training yourself of course, but watching dogs grow, learn, bond with their owners, and become better overall canine citizens can be a very rewarding way to make a living.
#11 – Make dog clothes or bling
If you’re a creative type, making dog clothes, bandanas, hair bows, and the like can be a great way to bring in a little extra income. Pro tip – many dog groomers love to use bows in their clients’ hair but hate making bows themselves. If you can make cute, quality bows, you can probably get as much business as you can handle from local groomers.
#12 – Drive dogs to appointments
Many places don’t allow dogs on public transportation, so people who don’t have cars and senior citizens or people with disabilities who are homebound have no way to get their dog to veterinary or grooming appointments. Busy people who work a lot may also be willing to pay somebody else to take their dog to appointments as well. You may need additional car insurance, but this could be a feel-good way to bring in some extra cash.
#13 – Dog sitter
Some dog sitters watch dogs in their own homes and some watch dogs in their clients’ homes, but more people are choosing to use pet sitters rather than taking their dogs to a boarding facility when they leave town. Building up a trustworthy reputation and finding clients may be difficult at first, but what could be better than being paid to spend time with dogs?
#14 – Sell animal art online
If you have drawing, painting, or other artsy skills, people are willing to pay a lot of money for paintings of their dogs based on photos that they submit. Even if you can’t paint a specific dog, any dog-themed art is likely to sell well.
#15 – Dog show handler
While some dogs are bred, owned, and handled all by one person, many of the top show dogs are handled by experienced handlers who do not own the dog. Attend a local dog show and ask some of the handlers how they got started. Grooming the dogs may be required, so make sure you know what you’re in for.