America’s love of pets is widely known, but maybe you weren’t aware of how awesome this is for marketers.
According to American Pet Products, the estimated amount of money pet and animal owners spent in the US in 2015 was $60.59 billion!
That’s a whole lot of cash!
The rough breakdown of this figure is:
- Food – $23 billion
- Supplies – $14 billion
- Vet care – $15 billion
- Animal purchases – $2 billion
- Pet services – $5 billion
Obviously some of those broad niches are hard to get into, veterinary care for instance will take some study, but that still leaves a wide area that anyone can navigate to make money from.
Here are my top 15 ways to make money from pets and animals.
1. Pet Sitting
One of the simplest ways to make money is to look after other people’s pets.
If you have a healthy respect and love for animals of all kinds, and space to host them, then pet sitting is an ideal way to get involved in the animal industry while making money.
This is often an ad hoc way to make cash, but if done right, could turn into a fully-fledged business.
2. Animal Training
Are you awesome at teaching animals to do things? Do you have skills to turn problems pets into well behaved ones?
As there is no state or federal qualifications required to become a dog or animal trainer, pretty much anyone with a love of animals and the will to put in the time and effort for self-training can jump on this idea.
3. Dog Walking
People don’t have much time, and often their pets suffer because of this. Dog walking is an easy way to pocket some extra cash while hanging out with some cool pups and getting them the exercise they need.
There’s no qualifications needed barring a love of dogs and poop! Being in good health and loving the outdoors are also factors that should be considered.
4. Animal Masseuse
The idea of helping pets overcome chronic pain via massages is a pleasant one. The idea of earning $50 to $1,000 an hour might be an even nicer one!
This way to make money with animals is a little harder than the rest because there are, sometimes complicated, state laws about who can practice formal massage therapy on animals and who can’t.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has some advice for you regarding any form of complementary or alternative veterinary medicine, but you should also check your local state veterinary medical board for further advice.
5. Animal Grooming
Even if the idea of giving a dog a hairstyle turns you off, the animal grooming niche is wide enough to cover a variety of animal lifestyle and health choices.
For example, most animals with claws need regular trimmings, and some breeds of dog require haircuts just to be able to see.
You can offer things like:
- Bathing and hair brushing
- Nail and paw care
- Face and ear care
You can even offer complementary products that can earn you a nice markup!
The main downside for this style of work is you do really need the space and tools to get started. Sure you could probably start in your garage, but you would need to look at commercial properties, especially if you want to bag the higher end of the market.
6. Animal Antics
The internet loves videos of animals, and if your pet has the tendency to act the fool video it!
Sticking up funny videos on places like YouTube can turn you (well your pet) into a viral star!
Earnings from YouTube adverts can start to rack up quite quickly if you can garner millions of views, and there is also the potential for your pet to be picked up for corporate sponsorship and other work.
Just ask Grumpy Cat…
… who has made his owner millions (allegedly $99 million…) via pet food deals, two books and even a movie! All this after hitting the limelight on YouTube (19 million views and counting).
7. Pets Shows & Competitions
Perhaps considered a more conventional way to make money with your pets, pet shows and competitions are a fun way to show of your beautiful animal and perhaps make some cash too.
Be aware that you’re not guaranteed to win, or even win money with this method, so as long as participation is fun for you it’s worth a go!
For example the winner of The National Dog Show only walks away with $1,000 bucks.
Not to be sniffed (no pun intended) at but it’s certainly not going to buy you a condo!
There may of course be follow up sponsorship deals after such an eminent win which could increase earnings.
8. Pet Models & Film Stars
If your pet is good natured and can handle a crowd, why not consider pet modelling or film work?
Finding an agent is likely the best way to get started, such as Animal Actors whose website showcases their animal stars.
Your pet obviously needs to be in good health, trained to obey at least basic commands, but don’t worry if you’re pet isn’t the pick of the litter, as pets with unique features can get just as much work as perfect looking examples of the breed.
9. Pet Party Planner
Before researching this article, I never knew pet part planners exist, let alone that the term is searched for about 50,000 times a month!
Pet parties are booming, and like with any other celebration, they take work. Here enters you as the party planner!
Organize an appropriate venue, with facilities. Provide fun and interesting games for the animals. Order (or produce) high quality animal food and treats for the guests to chow down on and make sure you have a videographer grabbing all the antics. Job done, earnings made!
There are a remarkable amount of themes you can offer and there are even opportunities for pet weddings (and bachelor parties!).
The preparation for this can be done at your or the customers home, with you hiring a separate venue. Just make sure to pick up insurance, because who knows what will happen with a room full of dogs, cats or both!
10. Pet Taxi
Become the next Uber but for dogs! Seriously though, often people struggle to get their animals to veterinary or grooming appointments because they are at work, or perhaps don’t even have a car.
You can, for a fee, provide collection of the animal, delivery to the proper place and delivery back.
Easy money but you will need a vehicle suitable for the job with comfortable cages, and insurance.
11. Animal Photography
If you have a knack for taking awesome photos at just the right moment, then animal photography could be up your alley.
Most photos would end up on a stock photo site, but there are opportunities to sell to big media as well.
Another option would be to sell the photos back to the owners of the animals.
The legal area of taking a photo of a pet and using it for commercial use is murky. In theory, the pets have no rights; however as per the American Society of Media Photographers owners “do have rights and could claim that your photo of their property has caused harm”.
As such, try to get a release if you intend to use the photo for public consumption.
12. High Quality Pet Snacks
It used to be that pets got the scraps at the table and that was that. Nowadays though, more and more people want their animals to have the highest quality food possible, even human level quality food.
That’s where you come in. You can produce vegetarian/vegan/organic/nutrient balanced food appropriate to the animal and sell it.
You could sell direct in markets or via local pet stores. Or you could set up online and bake to order!
13. Pet Blog
As a marketer, there’s no way I could leave out the good old blog. Making money from a blog is fairly easy once you get the traffic: use adverts, affiliate marketing, and sell your own products/services or a combination of them all.
Just blogging about your pet and their antics is usually not going to cut it, there are simply too many cat lovers out there!
However, you can put a spin on it to make your content enjoyable or informative.
Take Simon’s cat. The creator turned his cat’s antics into a wonderfully funny comic strip. Or you could discuss how you overcame issues with your pet, such as stopping your dog from barking all the time, or how you kept the cat from spraying everywhere.
This sort of informative content draws other perhaps less experienced pet owners and could net you some sales on the side.
14. Sell Pet Supplies
Most people might think that pet stores have the monopoly of selling pet supplies, but it’s not true.
You can easily set up an e-commerce site through WordPress and be going in ´no time.
Product wise you could:
- Order wholesale and sell those
- Use drop shipping via the manufacturer
- Create your own products and sell those
You’re not limited to selling via your own site either; you could use Etsy for hand crafted good or eBay to shift products you bought in bulk.
The Bottom Line
Owning a pet can be a lucrative way to make money, or to at least offset the cost of owning a pet! Even if you don’t have an animal yourself, but simply love them, there are many ways to turn that passion into a profitable job.