Want to Get Paid to Spend Time with Other People’s Dogs?
Can’t get enough of that sloppy kiss and wet nose? Turn your passion for puppies into cash by creating a dog-focused business. With the pet industry growing by billions of dollars every year, there is definitely money to be made caring for other people’s dogs.
When I wanted to make some extra money without leaving my teaching job, dog training seemed like a natural fit. I love dogs, I wanted to learn more about them and I wanted to spend my free time with them. While my dog business is still a side gig, it brings in several hundred extra dollars a month, and the best part is that it doesn’t really feel like work!
From the simple to the more out-of-the-box, here are 10 ways to make some cash -- and get some puppy love, too.
1. Lead Dog Adventures
This is the next level in dog walking -- especially if you live near the beach or the mountains. Charge people to take their dogs on dog adventures: frolic in the waves at the beach, swim in a lake or hike in the mountains.
It’s a great option for people who like to be outdoors, and you’ll be helping pet parents who have active dogs but don’t have the time to give them the exercise they need.
2. Plan Dog Parties
If you’re good at event planning, this is a unique way to make extra money.
Take the planning pressure off the pet parent and make some extra money by planning parties to celebrate dog birthdays, adoption days, training class graduations, or even weddings. Everyone loves a good party, and the more creative, the better!
3. Make Doggie Treats
There’s no shortage of dogs that like to eat treats and pet parents with the money to buy them. The good news is, you don’t have to open a gourmet shop to make some money on the side.
Pinterest has tons of ideas for delicious homemade dog treats, so pick a couple and start baking. Put samples in a Ziploc bag with a cute label and hand them out to friends and dog professionals (vets, dog trainers, dog walkers, doggie day cares). Soon, you’ll have requests for more pupcakes and doggie cookies than you can handle!
Don’t forget about local cupcake and pastry shops in dog friendly areas -- if they don’t already have special treats for pups, they might be open to selling yours.
4. Dog Washing
Anyone familiar with dogs knows that they can get a bit smelly. But bathtime can be a hassle and make a huge mess, so many people prefer not to do it in their homes.
Offer to take care of dog baths either at a self-wash facility or in your own backyard or bathroom. Throw on a bow or a bandana at the end for a fresh-smelling, good-looking dog.
5. Dog Grooming
As with dog training, dog grooming takes a bit of training. Look into volunteering or interning with a local trainer, or check out online training schools such as Animal Behavior College. Offer your services on your own, or partner with a doggie daycare to find new clients.
6. Drive Dogs to Appointments
Senior dog parents or dog parents with disabilities might not always be able to get their dogs to check-ups or regular veterinarian appointments, so why not offer a service that will do it for them? You could also offer to drive dogs to grooming appointments or to doggie day care for pet parents who just don’t have the time.
7. Become a Dog Photographer
Taking up pet photography is a fun way to make extra cash, either with family-style portraits or more candid shots. Build up your portfolio by taking pictures of friends’ dogs, then start offering your photography services to the local community. One artist, Adriana Willsie, even built a business turning pet photographs into painted portraits!
Check out How to Photograph Pets and Pet Photography Tips for some advice as you get started. If your clients are interested, you could even suggest they enter your photos of their dog in a pet photo contest -- they could walk away with up to $1000.
8. Dog Sitting
Considering that 47% of households in the United States have a least one dog, chances are high that you have a friend or two who could use your help while they’re on vacation. Offer to watch their dogs either at their house or at your own place.
To reach out beyond your friend base, try a company like Rover or Dog Vacay, which adds you to a database and allows pet owners to search for sitters in their area. Pet Sitters International shares great tips for new pet sitters, and offers a certification if you want to get more serious.
9. Dog Walking
Dog walking is an easy way to make a little extra cash, get some exercise and get your dog fix. Plus, if you have your own dog, it’s something you’d do anyway!
10. Dog Training
Dog training takes a bit more commitment for a part-time gig: you’ll need more education and time than for dog sitting or walking. PetSmart or Petco are good options, but you can also do internships with local trainers (just ask!), or take a course at an online school like Animal Behavior College or Companion Animal Sciences Institute. When searching for resources, look for those that focus on relationship building and positive reinforcement training strategies.
Dog trainers can offer puppy classes, basic through advanced manners classes, private in-home sessions, dog walking, and more. For more on what you might be getting into, check out So You Want to be a Dog Trainer, by Nicole Wilde.
Your Turn: What other ways can you think of to earn money while spending time with other people’s pets?
Abbie Mood lives just outside Denver, Colorado and can usually be found hanging out with her dogs, Daisy and Sadie. In addition to freelance writing and editing, Abbie is a dog trainer and an early interventionist. You can find more of her writing on her blog, Miles of Abbie.