Millions of people love and own pets in the U.S., even though some pet care expenses can rival the costs of having kids in some instances. To make pet care more affordable, many people have embraced the plethora of pet-friendly side gigs as a means for animal lovers to supplement their income while doing something they love.
How Animal Lovers Can Make Money Side Hustling
If you’ve been looking for viable work from home opportunities then consider some of the following side hustles and small business ideas for animal lovers who love being around animals.
Petsitting is an excellent option for people with flexible job schedules and minimal responsibilities at home (e.g., no or low-maintenance pets, no young kids or your kids are in school, etc.). Petsitting may involve staying overnight at the owners’ home or hosting their pets in your own home (which is typically referred to as boarding). You can typically charge higher prices for additional pets and/or services you may offer, such as plant watering, mail/newspaper pick-up, 1-3 walks throughout the day, etc.
Some owners may expect you to stay with their pets the whole time; others may only expect you to stay overnight and leave in the morning before returning after work. It’s important to get these details hashed out before accepting the petsitting gig, so check out this resource from Rover to learn more about the gig before getting started.
Walk Dogs for Busy Owners
As the pandemic comes to a close and more people return to the office, pets across the country are experiencing separation anxiety after more than a year of hanging out with their favorite humans at home all the time. To mitigate destructive behavior, countless pet owners rely on dog walking services to give their pups ample time to go potty and get exercise while their owners are away at work all day.
Getting started as a dog walker is fairly simple if you are animal lovers. You can sign up for Rover or Wag to list your services in their local marketplace, or you could simply advertise to neighbors with fliers and online postings through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You should do some research beforehand to see how much dog walkers are charging in your area and aim for the low end when you’re first starting out to build up a steady base of regular clients before increasing your prices.
Become a Pet Groomer
There are no national standards or requirements for animal groomers, but there are many courses you may want to take before declaring to the world that you’re a pet groomer who’s open for business. At the very minimum, you should take a few courses in animal behavior (since many pets don’t like their feet, face, and/or ears touched) and best grooming practices to ensure you’re capable of meeting your clients’ needs.
Alternatively, you could start out as a groomer for another company to get the education and experience you need to successfully go your own way in the future. Depending on how involved you want this side gig to be, you may specialize in one or a few types of grooming services (e.g., nail trimming, bathing/blow-drying, dematting, or cat-specific grooming).
Additionally, you could perform the services in the owner’s home, your home, or in a mobile unit. This is arguably one of the most difficult side gigs on this list, so approach grooming as a side hustle with caution unless you really want to do this long-term and have the resources necessary to do it well.
Photograph People’s Pets
If you already own high-quality photography equipment and have a knack for capturing the best photos in other contexts, why not apply your knowledge and skills as a pet photographer on the side as well as an animal lover?
Animals require some additional expertise to get the best shots while staying safe – especially around larger animals like horses or more timid pets like rescue dogs or cats – but it’s nevertheless a good opportunity to expand your skillset, have fun taking photos of people’s beloved pets, and make extra money while doing it.
Make Pet Clothes and Accessories
Pet products comprise a multibillion-dollar industry and with the help of platforms like Etsy, it’s not too difficult to market your homemade wares to anyone in the world. You could make custom t-shirts and clothing for fellow pet lovers, sew or crochet outfits for the pets themselves, design eye-catching collars and leashes made of fleece, leather, or other materials, build custom pet furniture and so much more.
You could even go to regional dog events such as obedience or agility trials or pet expos to increase your chances of selling products directly to pet owners; search for events on AKC’s website to see if there’s anything near you in the future. Otherwise, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and other platforms can be tremendously helpful for expanding your audience and generating more sales.
Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of barriers to getting involved in pet-related gigs for animal lovers to supplement your income on the side. Any responsible, able-bodied adult with a love for animals can realistically break into one of the side gigs mentioned above and generate some income while having fun with other people’s pets. You may need to take a course or two to prepare for the work involved, but these side hustles are often worth the minimal time and monetary investments required to succeed.