The Best Side Hustles for Animal Lovers

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Imagine spending the entire day with animals and making money, all without having to go to vet school! Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s called having a pet side hustle (or job!).

If you love spending time with animals and are looking for a side hustle, why not combine the two? There are countless side hustles for animal lovers out there to cushion your bank account… and heart.

Whether you’re interested in just walking the occasional dog or starting a full-time animal grooming business, this is everything you need to know about side hustles for animal lovers. 

How to Pick an Animal Side Hustle

There’s no shortage of lucrative pet side hustles. The question is, which side hustle or second job is right for you? There are pros and cons to any kind of animal-related job, and it’s ultimately up to you and how your skills and interests line up with each hustle.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • What’s my favorite part of spending time with animals?
  • How much time each week do I have to dedicate to this side hustle?
  • Am I willing to take a course to get certified for new, relevant skills?
  • Am I willing to put money into starting up my own business? How much?
  • How much money do I want to make?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be better equipped to take a look at the below side hustles for animal lovers. 

For example, if your favorite thing to do with animals is snuggle up on the couch and watch Netflix, pet boarding might be for you. 

If it’s going on a run in the park with a dog on a leash, dog walking would be more appropriate. 

And if it’s dressing up your dog in silly outfits and doing mini photoshoots, you might want to consider pet photography. 

You get the point!

Another thing to consider is how much time you have. If you have a full-time job and are just trying to add some extra cash to your wallet, you probably don’t have time to start up a dog grooming or pet photography business. 

So consider your schedule and earnings goals before you take the leap.

8 Top Side Hustles for Animal Lovers

  1. Dog walking
  2. Pet sitting
  3. Dog training
  4. Pet grooming
  5. Pet photography
  6. Dog adventures/hikes
  7. Pet influencer
  8. Raising chickens for eggs

1. Dog Walking

Most dogs need a daily walk to stay happy and in shape. And while their dog owners might love walking their fluffy friend, they might be too busy to do it every day. That’s where you come in. 

Whether you find one dog to walk in your neighborhood once a week on Wednesdays (I do that) or find a family with four dogs that need three walks a day every day, a dog walking side hustle can be very profitable. 

You might also want to check out these outdoor side hustles for jobs that keep you outside and active.

Average income: $22.56 per 30-minute walk.

2. Pet Sitting

When pet owners go on vacation, they usually need someone to give their animals love and care while they’re away. 

This doesn’t apply to just dogs, of course. You can get gigs watching cats, turtles, iguanas, gerbils, rats, fish, snakes, and more (I once watched someone’s pet snail). 

For this gig, you’ll either post up at the pet owner’s house for a few days or invite the animal into your home (as long as it’s safe to do so!). 

But make sure that you actually know how to take care of the animal. Here are some resources for basic dog care and cat care

Average income: $25 per 30-minute visit, $25 per day, $60 per night, or $312.50 per week. But these rates fluctuate a lot based on how many pets there are, what kind of pets, and your experience.

3. Dog Training

While this one will require more schooling than dog walking or pet sitting, dog training can be a highly lucrative side hustle (or career!). You’ll want to choose a dog training specialty to have the best chance of finding niche clients.

Here are some dog training specialties to choose from:

  • Puppy training
  • General obedience
  • Therapy dogs
  • Sports training
  • Dogs with separation anxiety
  • Reactive dogs
  • Aggressive dogs

Average income: between $30 and $80 per class.

4. Pet Grooming

Similar to dog training, you’ll need to learn how to become a pet groomer through further education. Pet groomers need to study with a state-approved grooming school and ideally get certified with the National Dog Groomers Association of America. 

But once you’ve learned the ropes, pet grooming can be quite a rewarding and creative job. To get started, learn some animal grooming basics to see if it’s something that interests you.

Average income: between $60 and $90 per session.

5. Pet Photographer

If you’re talented with a camera, you could take photos of people’s pets as a side hustle or job! 

Think: Christmas cards, pet portraits, or even a cat tea party photo shoot (hey, you’re the artist! Anything goes). 

While it might take a bit of time to get set up, if you find your niche, everyone in the neighborhood might just sign up to get you to take photos of them and their best friends.

Average income: $120 to $200 per photoshoot.

6. Dog Adventures/Hikes

In addition to offering regular dog walks around the block, you could bump up your rates a bit and offer to take people’s pets into the wilderness for adventures. 

Dogs are domesticated wild animals, after all, and would love a chance to get out of the city and hike a mountain! 

For busy dog parents who can’t go hiking at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, this kind of offering could be a real special treat for their pet.

Average income: This animal side hustle is a bit more niche, but our guess is that you can charge between $35 and $50 per adventure hike!

7. Pet Influencer

If you have a really cute pet, you could consider creating an Instagram account for them, and hey, maybe you’ll go viral. If you get enough followers, you could start making money from ads and sponsorship deals. 

As with pet photography, being a pet influencer will involve snapping lots of photos of your fluffy friend and getting creative!

Average income: A dog with 20,000 followers can make $200 per post. If your dog has between 150,000 and 250,000 followers, you could make up to $3,000 per post! And if you’re really famous (we’re talking more than 1 million followers), you could make $10,000 per post.

8. Raising Chickens for Eggs

This might sound like a stretch, but if you’re more of a chicken person, you could raise some chickens in your backyard and sell their eggs. 

You won’t make a ton of money, but it can be a fun way to run a tiny farm on the side. Plus, you’ll be able to eat the eggs too.

Average income: Between $2.50 and $5 per carton of eggs. (But if you ask me, pasture-raised eggs from my local grocery store go for like $7, so go wild with your pricing! I’m already paying a fortune for humanely raised eggs.)

What You Need to Start a Pet Side Hustle

You’ve considered your options and have decided to start a pet side hustle. Now what? Here are some tips to get you started. 

Download a Pet Side Hustle App

Modern society has made it really easy to pick up an animal side hustle. 

Simply download one of the many pet care apps to get started. This includes apps like Rover, Wag!, Care.com, Fetch!, PetBacker, Petsitter.com, and more. 

You’ll be able to make a profile, set your rates, and be connected to local pet owners in need of pet care. (Obviously, these apps won’t help you if you’re interested in selling chicken eggs.)

Market Your Business

The only downside of pet side hustle apps is that the companies usually take a cut of your profits. 

For example, Rover takes 20% of every service you provide. So if you make $20 for a walk, you’ll only take home $16. It might not seem like a lot right now, but it definitely adds up.

For this reason, you might want to try finding clients the old-fashioned way: with flyers! 

An even better idea is to set up a website, get business cards, and build an Instagram profile. Pet owners are looking for help online; they just need to find you!

Get Your Supplies

Depending on your chosen animal side hustle, you’ll need different supplies. 

But do your research! Becoming a pet photographer might not be as simple as using your iPhone camera in a park with a dog. You might want to invest in a tripod, a zoom lens, a DSLR camera, or an attachment camera flash. 

Decide on Your Prices

The best part of these kinds of gigs (other than getting to pet animals all day long) is getting to set your own prices. Do some market research to see what other people are charging for the same services as you in your area, and then set your price!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’re looking for minimal effort, download a pet care app like Rover or Wag! to find local pet owners who need some help with dog walking and pet sitting. 

If you’d like to invest in your own business, you can consider getting certified as a dog trainer or groomer, or even starting your own pet photography business.

The truth is, animal-related jobs are everywhere. You just need to look for them. 

Try finding clients through social media, Craigslist, and Nextdoor (or printing out flyers). 

One of the best ways to get clients is through word of mouth. So the next time you go to a dog park, talk to dog owners about your offerings (and bonus points if you have a business card ready to give them). 

What Are the Advantages of Working As a Pet Sitter, Dog Walker, or Animal Trainer?

Apart from getting to spend time with animals, there are lots of advantages to working as a pet sitter, dog walker, or animal trainer. 

  • Flexible hours/schedule
  • Supplemental income in addition to full-time job
  • Petting animals
  • Snuggling with animals
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Making money without spending time on a screen
  • Running your own business

What Factors Affect How Much Money You Make From an Animal-Related Side Hustle?

You can make a lot of money with an animal-related side hustle. 

It just depends on how much you want to hustle, and how strategic you are in your business planning. 

Factors like your prices, your target clients, the materials you use, startup costs, and more all influence how much money you will take home at the end of the day.

The Bottom Line

Whether you love dogs, chickens, or iguanas, there’s a pet side job for you. 

Which side hustle you choose is up to your financial goals, personal skills, and ambition. 

The main thing to remember is that Americans love their pets and are usually willing to spend a lot to keep them happy and healthy.

If you’re creative and dedicated, you can turn pet care into a lucrative full-time or part-time hustle. Here’s to spending time with animals and making money at the same time!

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