As the saying goes, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Sounds like a great plan to me! If working with dogs is something you crave then check out my list!
1. Dog Walker
Dog walkers are in high demand. You can set your own schedule and be your own boss. The job description seems pretty self-explanatory, but there’s more to it than just simply taking a walk. Most people today consider their dogs to be members of the family, so if they are letting someone leave the house with their pooch you can bet they really trust that person.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure you don’t take on more than you can handle. Even the most well-trained dog can be tempted to chase something in a split second. If you feel you can only walk safely with a smaller dog, then only offer your services to smaller dogs. Larger dogs need someone who can control them in case a sticky situation should arise.
If you’re passionate about dogs, in good physical condition, love the outdoors (rain or shine), and enjoy walking, then becoming a dog walker may be something to consider. Usually, a dog is picked up at his home. After his walk (and maybe a play session) then he’s returned to his home.
And one more thing … don’t forget the poopie bags.
- Try signing onto an established service like wagwalking.com or Rover.com.
- Get the word out in your local area to friends, neighbors, veterinarians, grooming shops, etc.
Once you get a couple of clients and establish yourself as being reliable and responsible — you’ll be well on your way!
You’ll need to make sure you protect yourself and the dogs you are in charge of. Dog Walker Insurance will provide you protection in the event of an accident. There are many insurance companies out there with varied policies to choose from. Make sure you check them out thoroughly. Insurance is the one thing in life to pay for and hope you never have to use.
2. Doggie Daycare
Doggie daycare is a service that’s in high demand. Let’s face it, the humans have to work and not everyone has the luxury of working at home. When people leave for their normal workday, Fido can get lonely, bored, and restless, causing him to become destructive or even a chronic barker. That’s where doggie daycare comes in. Just like kiddie daycare, it’s a safe place where pet parents can drop their furkids off for the day while they’re at work. They’ll be fed and mentally and physically stimulated, which is exactly what they need. At the end of the day – they go home.
Bump the daycare up a notch and you have Doggie Boarding. When someone drops a dog off to you for boarding, you become the caregiver for that dog until the family comes home. If you want to board dogs in your home, you need to:
- Make sure everyone who lives in the house with you is on board with this decision.
- Decide how many dogs you will be able to safely house per night.
- Will you have size or breed restrictions?
- What parts of your home will you allow them to roam?
- Will they be crated?
- Where will they sleep?
- Is your yard fenced? Is the fence totally intact? No openings or gaps where a pet could escape?
- Who will feed, play with, and walk them?
If you want well-behaved guests, they can’t be on autopilot. You’ll have to keep them occupied. As for the pet parents, they’ll appreciate it if you send photos of the furkids while they’re staying with you. A picture is worth a thousand words, and if they can see their furkids are happy, safe, and doing well, it will alleviate their anxiety. When a pet parent is happy with the way you care for their pets, trust me, positive word of mouth about your services will spread like wildfire. Lastly, be sure you have any relevant medical information and contact info for Fido’s veterinarian in case of emergency.
4. Dog Transportation
Think of it as an uber for your dog. Dog transportation companies provide transit locally and long distance. Local transports can be to the vet’s office or groomer. More long-distance transport could include things like transporting litters of puppies to their new homes or assisting a family that’s moving to a new home by giving Fido a ride.
If you are considering Dog Transport, check into the insurance requirements in your state and be sure to carry insurance. Accidents can happen. You don’t want to be without dog transportation coverage. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with the necessary safety equipment for traveling with dogs. It’s always better not to be alone, especially if you have more than one dog with you and it’s a long distance run.
5. Dog Groomer
Dog groomers can work from home, pet stores, veterinarians offices, and humane societies. Education for a groomer also varies. There is no formal requirement saying that you must go to school to learn this art. But, it is an art. To really excel at grooming, you should have formal training. You can go to Professional Dog Grooming Schools in classrooms or online. You could go to some of the larger pet store chains where they may provide you with training. Usually you’ll have to stay on and work with them for a while after your training. This is a good thing though because it will enable you to get lots of experience.
6. Pet Photographer
If you’re an animal lover and have a passion for taking pictures you may want to try your hand at becoming a pet photographer. Pet photography is booming. I mean, just think about how many dogs have their own Instagrams!
Shelters are often in need of photographers to shoot photos. Good pictures help rescue animals become family members. The three main requirements for success in this job are:
- Lots of patience. Without patience, it won’t matter how good your skills or equipment are. When shooting canine subjects you need to stay calm and positive to make the session fun.
- A camera with a good lens.
- The ability to be flexible and take creative shots. With furkids, some of the best shots can be obtained when you get right down to eye level with the pooch you’re shooting.
7. Pet Portrait Artist
One thing pet parents absolutely go nuts for: Pictures of their pets. And, as a dedicated dog parent, it’s even more impressive to get a custom painting of your precious pooch! That’s where pet portrait artists come into play. Just take SaraPaintsPets for example. She’s a recent college grad who is using her talents to paint people’s pets … full time! Her slogan? “You Pet It. I Paint It.”
8. Dog Trainer
Some people are naturally good at training dogs and some just can’t seem to grasp it. Are you someone who always wanted to be a dog trainer? If the answer is yes, take a few minutes to watch this video. It’s a free webinar hosted by The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, APDT. ADPT encourages training for the trainer and is totally pro positive dog-friendly training approaches. The video will give you a realistic overview of this special profession and what’s required to become a professional trainer.
9. Dog Baker
Have you ever swung by your local bakery and picked up delicious treats for yourself? Well, just like they have bakery shops for people (I’ll take a black and white cookie, please!), bakeries for dogs are becoming quite a popular thing too! Here in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, I know of three brick-and-mortar dog bakeries where you can pick up gourmet canine cakes, biscuits, and other fun treats. For aspiring dog chefs who are just getting started, you can also start out selling through an online shop, farmers markets, and word of mouth.
Check into your state’s license and permit requirements! When you’re serving up food, you will need this.
10. Dog Massage Therapist
Yup … there are dog massage therapists! And, no, they aren’t just petting dogs (although a professional puppy petter would be an awesome job)! Dog massage therapists use massage techniques to help relax muscles, enhance circulation and blood flow, and increase range of motion.
Education requirements differ per state. If you are interested in this as a career, be sure to check what’s required by your state. There are certification programs and tests that are voluntary and can be taken through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). They are not a school, but as long as you take the courses that meet their requirements, you can take your certification exam with them.
How many of us said, “When I grow up I want to be a veterinarian!”? Well, if that’s you and you didn’t do it then there’s no time like the present. If you have the motivation, time, and are ready to do the work — go for it. Education requirements include a Bachelors Degree before you can apply to Vet School. If you’ve already earned that, you may still have to fill in with some science courses, but you’re well on your way. If not, you have more work to do and if you put your mind to it — nothing is impossible or out of reach.
12. Veterinary Technician
Vet techs work mainly in the animal hospital setting assisting a licensed veterinarian. But they can also be found in research labs, humane societies, and shelters. They’re often the person that escorts you into the exam room with your pet, but their duties don’t end there. The vet tech has a very special and varied job. It encompasses many tasks associated with patient care, testing, client education, and emotional support for a pet’s family.
Vet tech can be a very challenging and rewarding career. Whether doing direct patient care, teaching a family how to take care of Fido at home, laboratory testing, inserting microchips, collecting blood samples, administering medications, etc., a vet techs day is ever changing. Every state has its own laws as to what tasks a vet tech can legally perform. The education requirement for a vet tech normally involves having a 2-year associates degree from a qualified veterinary technology program.
If you are considering being a veterinary technician, click the link to read a full outline which The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has put together. It includes a state-by-state list of guidelines for a veterinary tech and veterinary assistant.
13. Veterinary Technologist
Both the vet technologist and vet technician do a similar job, but the technologist does it at a higher level. It requires a 4-year Bachelors Degree in veterinary technology.
Both of these professions normally require the graduate to take a state exam to become registered, licensed, or certified.
14. Veterinary Assistant
There are certificate programs that train vet assistants, but most are normally trained on-the-job. The minimum education requirement is a High School Diploma. Vet assistants do a variety of jobs. They assist the veterinarian, vet technologist, and vet technician in caring for the animals. They may be called upon to hold an animal during an exam, administer meds, give baths, feed, weigh, walk, collect blood and urine samples, stock exam rooms, order supplies, help out at the with clerical work at the reception desk, etc. This is a career with many job responsibilities and the one thing is — you’ll never get bored!
Whether you’re new to the job market or are changing careers, I hope this list was helpful to you. If you feel like you want to work with dogs but just aren’t sure yet, why not try volunteering at a shelter or humane society? It’s not a paying job, but it’s rewarding, you can do it on your schedule, and it’ll give you taste of working with furkids. Maybe it’s just the inspiration you need to take the plunge into your dream job.