Animal lovers often decide against pursuing a career with animals. Indeed, becoming a vet in the USA can take about 8 to 10 years of studies after graduating from high school. Most people choose another career path that can enable them to finish their studies in a shorter time.
However, you don’t need to pursue veterinarian studies to work with animals. There are plenty of side hustle opportunities or even full-time businesses you can start as an animal lover. You can bring your knowledge, passion, and commitment to supporting animals and their families. Whether you love dogs, cats, or even donkeys, there is something out there for you. Are you ready to embrace your passion? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Helping families cope with unexpected puppies
New dog owners are sometimes inexperienced when it comes to making important decisions. Therefore, many might find it cruel to neuter their pets. However, they are often faced with a surprise when their dog suddenly gets pregnant. Unexpected pregnancies are always tricky to manage, especially for new dog owners. Many don’t know how to look after a pregnant dog or puppies. But you can provide your services as a puppy carer or a foster parent. Indeed, caring for puppies is tough, especially as they have different needs from adult dogs.
Puppies are typically ready for adoption within 6 to 8 weeks, during which you can help home train them. Puppies also need to be fully vaccinated, preferably before they can be adopted, so you can be sure they are safe.
As a foster parent, you play a huge role in socializing the young dogs. Nervous or aggressive puppies lack social skills and may never be adopted. But as a puppy carer, you can ensure they get to meet people and other pets as they grow up, so they can be ready for adoption.
Providing daycare for dog owners
The pandemic has encouraged many households to adopt pets as a way to cope with self-isolation. Unfortunately, as people are heading back to the office, they are worried about leaving their dogs alone at home. That is where a dog daycare business can offer a unique service to workers in the city. You can look after dogs during the day, as office employees leave their dogs on the way to work and pick them up at the end of the day. The service can include a variety of activities, such as feeding, playing, and walking dogs. If you are unsure what this includes, you can read a little more about starting a dog daycare: everything you need to know to make sure you are prepared. Daycare ventures are highly popular in cities. They are best located around big offices or on the outskirts of town, depending on your audience group.
Become a pet-sitter
Unlike daycare businesses, pet-sitting is similar to babysitting in the sense that it’s a service provided at your client’s home. Pet-sitters can work for a few hours to several days at the same location, depending on the client’s needs. Pet-sitting services are especially useful for families who wish to go on holiday but can’t take their pets with them.
Your role is to both look after the property and the animal. The client gives you access to their homes, including the bedroom, bathroom, entertainment system, and kitchen. For the duration of the client’s vacation, you will live and sleep inside their property. The service is preferred for senior pets who will not be safe traveling anymore. They may also need special attention and medication, so you have to be comfortable with those. Alternatively, you may be asked to look after tropical or unique pets, such as fish, reptiles, small mammals, or birds.
Help train guide animals
Some assistance animals require special training, such as guide dogs and horses. You may not be able to train them, but you can offer your services toward the end of their training. Indeed, both guide dogs and guide horses need real-life situations to put their training into practice. You can help trainers by taking the animal with you to run errands. The experience allows you to spot potential problems that the trainer can fix. More often than not, the person who receives the animal also joins some of the training sessions to learn how to communicate with their guide. It can be the occasion to interview them and ask what a typical day looks like to take the animal through the same situation. For example, an office worker who needs to take the train every day to work will need a guide animal who’s confident in public transport services. You can test the guide pet and help them get familiar with public transport noises and systems before meeting their future owner.
Help people find ESA approval for their pets
Emotional support animals also require training to be able to handle most situations. Typically dogs are the preferred animal when it comes to ESAs. However, other animals such as cats and birds can also be used as ESAs. Emotional support animals require less specialized training, which makes your task more manageable. Animals need to be well-behaved so they do not cause a nuisance to neighbors or the general public.
- be calm and docile
- able to recognize a dark moment and engage with the owner
- social around people and other animals
- know stress-reducing techniques (such as resting their heads on the person)
Build unique cat trees
Cat owners can struggle to fit unique cat toys inside their homes. House cats need plenty of entertainment and activity every day to maintain their health and agility. Unfortunately, store-bought toys and climbing constructions can be disappointing. Suppose you own a large cat breed; traditional toys and cat trees may not be the appropriate size for your pet.
Alternatively, specialized brands may not fit inside a small home or apartment. You can provide a unique decorating service for pet owners, building a cat tree that fits their animal and decor. This can be a great side hustle venture for enthusiastic and talented DIY artists. Professional woodworkers and decorators can also add the service to their portfolios.
Serious pet fashion knitter
Pet fashion is growing in popularity. Even high street brands such as Zara are now offering a pet collection for dogs. But there is more than a fashion statement. Some animals need clothes for practical reasons. Small dog breeds that are best suited for warm climates need to wear a coat in winter as their fur is too thin.
Similarly, pets that happen to shed their hair or feathers as a result of stress or an illness need clothes both as physical and mental health support. A bird that loses its feathers can benefit from a tailor-made coat in the same color as its plumage. It can help the animal relax in a stressful environment. You can start a handmade pet fashion shop online, providing custom orders for animals of all sizes and colors.
Pet photography can be hugely rewarding, as you can get beautiful results. However, a good animal photographer has a keen understanding of pet behavior. You can choose your unique niche based on your preferences and experience. If you are a dog owner, for instance, dog photography is best suited to your skills. But if you have grown up with guinea pigs and rabbits, you could include this skill in your portfolio. The better you understand the pet, the better the photo will be, as you can anticipate their behavior and capture their essence.
Work with therapy animals
Animal therapy refers to the process of using animals to help people with physical or mental conditions. Therapy animals are patient, good-natured, and calm. They are selected for their temperaments to interact with people and build a bond. But they are not trained to support a unique individual.
You would be surprised to know that therapy animals can come in many forms. Patient farm animals, such as hens, ducks, or even sheep, can make fantastic therapy animals for large groups. They are equally suited to seniors or younger adults. Farm therapy can also encourage patients to work with the animal for the duration of the visit, such as brushing them or collecting eggs.
Similarly, in an urban environment, dogs, cats, and dwarf horses are excellent therapy companions. They can play with people and be affectionate too.
Make unforgettable pet arts
Losing an animal can be heart-breaking. While you can’t erase the pain, you can help pet owners to come to terms with their grief through art. You can provide an artistic rendition of their pets. Canvas painting is a favorite. But more and more pet owners prefer a tactile experience, such as a small, crochet version of the pet. The stuffed animal can be a source of comfort.
There are so many options and creative ways to express your love for animals, and just as many options and ideas for how to make it a part, or all of, your job!