Pet Care Jobs That Are Perfect for Animal Lovers and How to Find Them
Last Updated: 20th October 2021
Pet Care Jobs That Are Perfect for Animal Lovers and How to Find Them
Fluffy, sweet, and cuddly – who could ever resist the cute and funny antics of our furry friends? Not many, so many animals have come into our homes to become a part of our families. However, some owners do not have the luxury of attending to their pets, giving rise to pet care jobs.
Raising pets, like raising human beings, can be very challenging physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Raising pets is a lifetime commitment. And so, the animal care industry is on the rise, according to Insider, as more people, especially millennials, raise pets in recent years. Because of this, there are loads of pet care jobs that animal lovers and pet owners can take on to earn a living.
How Much Money is in the pet care industry?
Market research firm Edge by Ascential reports: the pet care industry in North America rose to become a $225 billion business in 2018 and is seen to increase up to $281 billion in 2023.
Pet care job salaries vary, but on average in the United States, one can make about $22,300 a year, working on an hourly rate of $11. This rate can go up to $35,000 and down to $18,000, depending on skill level, location, and years of experience. These jobs include pet grooming, pet sitting, dog walking, pet boarding, pet shop, pet care assistant, and pet photography, among others.
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With the rising trend of pet humanization worldwide, it is not surprising to see pets treated with more products and services normally available for humans, including professional pet photography.
Most, if not all, pet owners can’t get enough of their pets’ adorable quirks and charms. They want to keep all of these forever through photos. Although pet owners’ smartphones get easily filled with these photos, professional shots just hit differently.
How Much Money Can You Make?
If you love both photography and animals, this is the right career for you. Pet photographers in the United States earn $36,685 yearly on average and can go to as high as $62,000 and as low as $24,000, depending on the skills, location, and experience.
How to Get Started
Pet photography is an enjoyable and profitable way to spend time with animals, which can turn into a full-time job. To get started, have the necessary photography skills and equipment, business management skills, and interest and patience to work with different kinds of animals.
Each animal has different behaviors and personalities, and a good pet photographer can work around and maximize these to get the best photos.
Training photographing animals (special skill)
A good pet photographer knows the natural behavior of the animal they are working with. Learn about animal behaviors by reading books or taking training courses to familiarize the body language of pet animals. This will help you know when the animal is stressed, getting tired, or still in the mood for the photoshoot, allowing you to use the necessary and appropriate props, treats, and tricks to make it look at the camera, smile, or strike a pose.
Spend time with the animal you are going to work with before the photoshoot proper. Use the opportunity to introduce yourself to the animal so it won’t get spooked and be more comfortable and relaxed with you, your camera, and other photography equipment.
Photo editing enhances and brings out more impact from a photo. Do not be afraid to edit your raw photos, especially those taken in non-ideal locations or situations. Take care you don’t overdo it, though, as the results may come out overwhelming and unrealistic. Always go back to what your clients want and let it guide you as you work on the photographs.
Enroll in pet photography classes to internalize the fundamentals, tips, and tricks from long-time experts. Various institutions offer pet photography education, such as Unleashed and Udemy. They have masterclasses, workshops, e-books, and blog posts about various topics related to taking photos of pets and running an animal photography business.
A pet photography business will become successful with the right business management skills. You must ensure that you are well-compensated for your work. Your fees must cover your skills, time, expertise, photography equipment, studio space and utilities, props and costumes, travel expenses, staff and assistants, printing costs, as well as location permits.
Set aside funds for business registration fees, taxes, accountant, insurance, workshops, and marketing tools. Prepare for these matters that legitimize your business, improve the skills sets of your personnel, and advertise your business to your target market.
Distinguish yourself from other pet photographers in the business. Set your style – indoor or outdoor, an action only, avant-garde, etc. Specify the animal you want to work with. Deciding on these things will create your brand and identity in the industry.
Get a good DSLR camera. Learning the basics of photography – its pillars, elements, camera settings, and others – will give you the best quality and impactful photos. Laurie Elmer of the Urban Dog Studio advised aspiring pet photographers to opt for a DSLR camera as smartphones and digital point-and-shoot cameras are not practicable for an animal photography business.
The lens is another essential piece of equipment for pet photography. Various types of lenses capture photos with different kinds of feels. A standard photo lens is the most common and basic, showing you a perspective similar to a human’s naked eye. If you wish to capture the finer details of the animals like the snout prints, paw pads, or eye color, then use a macro lens. A telephoto lens is useful for more active and shy animals as you can shoot from afar, giving more space and comfort to the animal.
The lights and reflector are also useful for pet photography. Play with lights and shadows to portray various kinds of mood and drama in a photo. Studio lights are a must if you shoot indoors, like a photo studio or inside the pet’s home. For outdoor shoots, reflectors are handy as these can help you provide, control, and balance out the light that must show on your subject.
On average, photographers spend around $4000 on photography equipment such as cameras, lenses, camera gears, and photo editing software. The camera body and lens would cost around $1200, camera gears such as tripod, camera bag, cards cost around $1000, another $1500 for the photo editing computer, inclusive of the software.
Buying Into Franchise
Once your business has brought in a steady flow of income, you can open this up for franchising to other aspiring pet photographers and business owners in other cities and states. Like Lil’ Pals Pet Photography, franchising a pet photography business needs a cash capital of about $57,000, including training on pet photography, sales, and customer service.
If you don’t have the talent, skills, and confidence to venture into photography, take on pet sitting jobs instead. Pet sitting is providing care for another person’s pet for a given time. It is usually done in the owner’s home while away, but it can also be done in the pet sitter’s home.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Pet sitters in the United States earn an average income of around $37,000 per year with an hourly rate of $12.26. It is a very comfortable and laid-back job or business, especially for those who adore and love animals – perfect for those who have lots of extra time to spare in a day or a week.
Popular Pet Sitting Jobs
There are various types of pet sitting jobs you can choose from. Most popular jobs include dog walking, dog sitting, puppy sitting, cat sitting, and overnight pet care. Start with the task and the animal that you are most comfortable with. From there, expand your task coverage and animal clients.
Dogs need to go on walks for potty breaks and exercise. But for owners who have full-time office jobs or regular travels, this can be quite challenging to maintain. To address this, owners hire dog walkers to take their canine babies out throughout the day. Dog walkers come to the owner’s home to take the dog out for a 30-minute walk in the park or around the neighborhood, then return to the pet’s home right after. It can repeat two to three times a day, depending on the needs of the dog.
Dog sitting requires more work than dog walking. Dog sitters stay at the owner’s home and provide the dog with full attention and care while the owners are away. Their tasks include giving food, water, vitamins, and medications, if any, to the dog; playing; taking out on walks; cleaning up the mess; and maintaining the home’s orderliness. While dog sitting can be done in the sitter’s home, the sitter should go to the owner’s home, so the dog stays where it is most familiar and comfortable. This prevents the dog from getting stressed and avoids the risk of the pet escaping.
Much like dog sitting, puppy sitting requires full-on attention and care. It needs extra patience as puppies are hyperactive and playful balls of energy and need close supervision as they heavily chew on things and make potty accidents. Know how to teach puppies how to behave and socialize with other people and other dogs. Puppy training may include going to puppy pre-school or the dog park.
Unlike dogs, cats exude an intimidating aura. They look disinterested in whatever people are doing and would love to go about their own business all the time, making cat sitting easy. As long as their food is given on schedule, there is enough clean water, and the litter box is regularly cleaned, half of a cat sitter’s work is done. Know cat behavior and body language, which is the challenging part of cat sitting. Cats’ emotions are not as evident as dogs’, so it is important to distinguish if the cat is relaxed, playful, irritated, or in pain. Cat sitting must be done at the owner’s home as cats get easily wary of new people and a new environment.
Short-Term Vacation Pet Sitting
It is challenging to travel with a pet when the vacation is set on peak days, such as holidays and weekends. Owners are likely to hire pet sitters to care for their pets while they are gone. Short-term pet sitters are handy for one- to three-day vacations. Often, they do not stay in the owner’s house and just come in at certain hours to check in on the pet.
Long-Term Vacation Pet Sitting
For fur parents who will be out of town for weeks or even months, this is the best way to ensure the pets left behind won’t feel lonely while they are gone. Pet sitters hired for this job usually end up staying the entire time, assuring pets they have company, are well taken care of every hour, and emergencies are reported immediately. This doubles as house sitting since the pet sitter can take care of other house tasks, such as maintaining the plants or property.
Pet Sitting / House Sitting
It is a two-in-one job and would entail a much higher pay rate. Pet sitters can cater to different kinds of pets, not only the usual cats and dogs but also the birds, fish, rabbits, hamsters, and the like. As pet sitting services are usually done at the owner’s home and last the entire day, pet sitters can also be given small household tasks such as receiving the mail, taking out the trash, watering the plants, or simply watching over the house.
Overnight Pet Care
Owners staying out for the night can hire pet sitters to check in on the pets while they are away. They ensure the pets are well-fed and the mess made is cleaned up. The arrangement is useful for pets that need special care, have separation anxiety, or are too young to be left alone. Pet sitters provide the necessary food, medications, cuddles, and love throughout the night or until the owners arrive.
Do You Need the Experience To Become a Pet Sitter?
Pet sitting does not require any college degree, and what’s important is that you are familiar with animal behavior and how to handle different animals of different sizes. You can also start with zero experience, but you will get plus points if you have worked in a veterinary clinic.
How to Become a Successful Pet Sitter
Pet sitting jobs may seem easy, especially for animal lovers. However, you must do things and prepare to leave good impressions and experiences to your first clients. If you are going to take on the challenge, make sure you will succeed in this career.
Strive to become a professional pet sitter by getting certified by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International. The school offers educational courses that will give you extensive knowledge and skills to become a reliable and efficient pet sitter. These include animal behavior, pet safety, pet first-aid, and business management, among others.
You must love pets
The most basic requirement for a pet sitter is a love for pets and animals. You must enjoy taking care of them and spending time with them. This way, the job will feel more like a hobby than a task. You must also be able to treat them like your own. Most pet sitters have their furry family members, and seeing pet sitters have healthy pets is an advantage, especially in the eyes of picky pet owners.
Pet sitters need to prepare for each pet sitting job. Get to know the pet and the owners ahead of time. Visit their home before the actual pet sitting day, or have the pet visit your place, allowing the pet to get familiar and comfortable with your scent and your presence. Also, owners get to know you better and feel secure about leaving their pets and homes in your care.
Review owner’s expectations
Set expectations with the owner. You must clarify with the owner the tasks you need to do while they are away. Do they only need you to provide food, water, and vitamins or medicines? Take the dog out on a walk and give potty breaks? Or do you have to observe the pet’s behavior? Will you be teaching tricks or training for proper behavior? Knowing all these can help you prepare the things you would need for the job.
It is also important to clarify to the owner your expectations as you do the task. Let them know what your requirements and needs are so they can also prepare their home for you. Do you need to have all pet food, treats, and supplies in one location? Do you have a work schedule, and does going beyond the schedule entail additional fees? Will it be okay for you to take care of the owners’ plants and mail?
Ask for emergency contacts
Get the emergency contacts of the pet owners and any family or friend nearby that can respond immediately when something unexpected happens. You must also know the first-aid response for the basic pet illnesses and injuries. Set cure the contact details of the pet’s veterinarian in case of emergencies that urgently need medical attention.
Get comfortable with the pet
On the day of your pet sitting gig, settle down and get comfortable with the pet. Offer food and playtime and show that you care. Animals can sense human moods, so come to work with good intentions. They can sense danger, so keep an eye out for the signs that their body language will show.
Show the pet you care
Keep it on a regular feeding, potty break, grooming, and hygiene schedule. Play with it, but be sure there are no toys that pose risks to their health or safety.
Don’t force anything on animals
Don’t force yourself to the animal. Do not force the animal to like you or eat the food you give. Pets, particularly those that are very shy, need some time to adjust to your presence, even if you have visited the home before. Just calmly do your tasks and let the pet come to you out of its own accord. This approach lets the animal trust and feel secure around you.
An integral part of pet sitting is cleaning up. A good pet sitter cleans any mess without issues. Pets always leave a mess – in their food, their things, their owners’ things, and the things around the house. Puppies that can’t control their bladder and bowel movement yet leave traces of their dirt on the floor. Cats get over-excited with scratching on their litter boxes, sending some litter sand flying out of the box. Dogs chew on things, leave toys all over the floor, or swim through mud. Maintain the cleanliness of the house just as how the owners left it.
Show up and do your job
A responsible pet sitter is the one that shows up and does the job properly. For you to be paid, you have to do the actual work. Be there on time and accomplish all the tasks assigned to you. Pet owners usually leave care instructions for their pets and follow them to the last bit. You can also show your sincerity and care for the pets by doing the extra mile, like refilling the food container or providing updates through photos and videos.
Be up for anything
Be flexible. Pet owners may ask you a favor or two while you are pet and house sitting for them. Accommodate these favors as long as you are comfortable doing them. If too much, you can always ask for extra fees.
Typical Pet Sitting Jobs Schedule
Typically, regular pet sitting lasts around 30-45 minutes per visit, with 30 minutes for walks and 15 minutes for mealtime. You can set this twice a day to take the pet on a morning walk after breakfast and nighttime potty break after dinner. You can also add some 15 minutes for indoor playtime and cuddles. With this scheduling, you can take in a couple of pet sitting jobs in a day.
Vacation Pet Sitting Job
For vacation pet sitting services, you can schedule overnight or whole-day stays. It could even reach weeks or months, depending on the needs and requirements set by the pet owner. For overnight stays, visit the pet’s home around early evening in time for the evening walk and dinner. After some post-dinner playtime, you can take the pet out again for a potty break. Then you settle the pet for sleep time. Make sure you clean up the house before bed and send photo and video updates to the owners.
Full-time dog walker
Full-time dog walkers use up the entire day, seven days a week, for dog walking with a mix of pet sitting. Many full-time dog walkers start as early as 5:00-6:00 a.m. for the early morning walk clients, then go on midday visits and late-night walks before capping the day off. Sometimes, group dog walking is also done, but this must be arranged properly, especially if the dogs have different owners. One dog might be apprehensive and anxious in the company of other dogs, so you have to be careful with it.
Part-time dog walker
If you are not up to dog walking full-time, you can start with part-time schedules that depend on your free time. You can choose either the early morning, midday, or late night. Dog walking usually just takes 30 minutes, so you can still accommodate multiple clients in a span of a few hours.
Special needs pet sitting jobs
If you have a special needs animal to pet sit, you have to free up the entire hour or day you are booked to focus your attention and care for the animal. These animals usually are elderly, sick, or disabled pets that will require you to administer medicines, guide exercises, or just provide company throughout the day or night.
Best Sites for Pet Sitting Jobs
Start your pet sitting career by joining a company and build your knowledge, skills, and experience from there. Some of the best pet sitting companies in the world now include:
Rover They offer pet sitting services for dogs and cats, such as boarding, house sitting, dog walking, doggy daycare, and drop-in visits. Their services are available across the United States and around the world. They also hire pet sitters and provide training and tools to make your pet sitting business easier.
Wag! Aside from boarding, dog walking, and pet sitting, they also offer dog training, vet consultations, and pet insurance plans. They also hire dog sitters, boarders, and walkers. This company is best for dog lovers as their services mainly cater to dog clients.
Care.com This company offers pet sitting services as scheduled in a week or months and even immediately. Aside from pet sitting, they also accommodate child care, senior care, tutoring, and housekeeping jobs.
Fetch! Puppy sitting, dog walking, pet sitting, overnight care, pet transport, and pet medical administration are some of the services offered by Fetch! They accommodate cats, dogs, birds, and other small animals. They also use technology to ensure the security of the owner’s home.
PetBacker Pet sitters of the PetBacker are matched with the owners or clients and scheduled to meet and greet. Pet owners can change pet sitters until they decide on who best suits their needs. PetBacker’s services are available in over 50 countries around the world.
PetSitter.com This company also matches pet owners and pet sitters across North America. It introduces owners in need of pet sitting services to a community of pet lovers that can take on the job. It also has a blog filled with articles on pet care, pet sitting services, and many more.
Meowtel Meowtel provides pet sitting services specifically for cats. Cats have different behavior and needs compared to dogs, so this is perfect for cat lovers and cat parents.
Nextdoor This app allows pet owners to know who are the available pet sitters in their neighborhood. They promote the idea of a “neighborhood” where people and organizations build a community together, helping each other.
Bay Area Pet Pals Armed with 26 years of experience, this family-owned and -operated company assures pet owners the best and professional care for their furry families while they are away on work or travel.
Sniff and Go LLC This company offers pet sitting and dog walking services, focusing mainly on dogs. They also offer pet transportation services within their service area.
Tips on how to maximize pet sitting jobs
One pet sitting job can only be done in an hour. To maximize your day and pet sitting jobs, you can take on multiple clients in a day or a week.
Work directly with clients(not via company/agency)
You can also work directly with clients and do not go through any company or agency. You can start offering your pet sitting services to your family and friends then build your connections along the way.
Set aside money for taxes
You must also set aside money for taxes. Being a professional is making sure the business is legal and compliant with all rules and regulations. This can build your credibility in the industry.
Review job description
You must also review job descriptions before taking any job. Know what you are applying for and the owner’s expectations so you can properly plan for the pet sitting job ahead of time.
How much money can you make?
If you do not have enough time to do pet sitting or dog walking services but have a good and reliable vehicle, you can become a pet transporter instead. Pet transporters bring rescued animals from kill shelters, breeders, zoos, and others to foster homes. They earn around $47,000 annually on average.
Qualities of a Good Pet Transporter
To become a pet transporter, you must be of legal age already and have a driver’s license and insurance. You must also have vehicles that can accommodate different animals of different species and sizes. If you love both animals and travel, then this is the best match for you.
Good people skills
You must have good people skills as you will be coordinating with different people to take the animals out from their dreadful locations.
Ability to organize and plan in advance
You must have good people skills as you will be coordinating with different people to take the animals out from their dreadful locations.
You must also learn the necessary paper trails for pet transportation. You must process the necessary travel documents such as permits, tickets, taxes, and others in this business.
It is not easy to travel with animals in tow, so it is important to love animals if you want to be a pet transporter.
Like to travel
You cannot be picky about where to transport the pets, so you must naturally like travel.
No vehicle? Then perhaps, the right pet care job for you is a pet massager.
Why Pets Need Massage
Pet massage is also essential in providing the best health condition for animals and is especially useful for elderly, disabled, obese, or injured animals. Pet massage can help alleviate their pain, prevent any other injuries, recover from an accident-induced disability, or improve the pet’s mobility.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Animal massage therapists in the United States earned on average around $40,000 a year back in 2016. Upon starting, you can immediately earn around $17,000-$18,000, and this can go up to $70,000 as time goes by. You have to train to become an animal massage therapist, and training involves up to 200 hours of study and costs around $2,000.
Legal requirements to become a pet massage therapist
Regulations on animal massage therapy vary per state. Some allow veterinarians only to become animal massage therapists, while others require massage therapists to work under veterinary supervision. Meanwhile, some states allow anyone to become an animal massage therapist. Check out the specific regulation in your state.
Join the required training course conducted by reputable organizations for animal massage therapy.
Canine Massage Therapist (CMT) Program
Several schools and organizations offer a canine massage therapist (CMT) Program. One of these isthe International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork (IAAMB) which promotes various types of animal-directed therapies, massages, and animal communication. IAAMB offers courses on animal massage therapy around the world.
Northwest School of Animal Massage. They offer training courses for large and small animals and are located in various states in the United States and Canada. Their certification program has three levels: Foundation Level, Performance Level, and Rehabilitation Level.
Other Pet Care Jobs
Other pet care jobs you can take are cat cuddling and cat cafe hosting.
Cat cuddling involves taking care and fostering cats in shelters until they are rehomed. To get this job, you must first have basic knowledge of cats’ behavior and attitude, and you must be gentle and patient with cats. Many cat cuddling jobs often start as volunteer work, but cat clinics may hire professional cat cuddlers with a pay range of around $22,000-$28,000.
Cat cafe host
Being a cat cafe host is also a fun job to do. Cat cafes allow cat lovers to spend time with cats while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea. To be a cat cafe host, you must love and know how to take care of cats. You must also know how to run a cafe business – source out suppliers, conduct marketing and advertising strategies serve good coffee and delicious pastries and provide space for the cats to hang out with the customers.
How to Get Started
Tell your network (family, friends, community)
Whatever pet care job you will take, tell your network of family, friends, and community about it, especially if you are still starting to go about it. Your family and friends are your first clients, and offer your services to them and ask for any recommendations on improving your service to your future clients.
Determine your basic rate.
Consider equipment and the like. You can start your basic rate small and then increase it as you expand your clients’ knowledge, skills, and services.
That certification will serve as your medal of credibility and professionalism and can attract more and more clients. You also have to be armed with the right knowledge and information on animal behavior and their needs to provide the best care for them.
Promote your business and services to a wider group of audience by getting online. Make your services easily accessible. Your social media accounts and website pages serve as the portfolio of your work. Many pet owners conduct preliminary research on the different pet services near them by checking out the social media pages and websites before making an inquiry or booking an appointment.
Frequently asked questions
Do you need the experience to become a pet sitter?
Experience is not necessary, but it will help you get more pet sitting jobs.
Do pet sitters make a lot of money?
Pet sitting is a lucrative job, which allows you to earn about $12.26 per hour. Aside from it being a relatively laid-back job, you get to enjoy the company of pets.
Do you need a license to provide pet care?
Except for a driver’s license, when you decide to become a pet transporter, no other license is required to provide pet care. However, certifications from accredited pet care organizations can boost your credibility as a pet care provider.
However, you must be trained and certified to be a pet massage therapist in some states.
Is it dangerous to work as a dog walker?
There are a few risks to being a dog walker, such as exposure to extreme weather conditions, caring for a dog who can be aggressive, and the possibility of slipping or stumbling while dog walking. However, these are dangers that anyone can be exposed to and are preventable.
"Show me the MONEY!!!" – Jerry Maguire
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