Do You Love Animals? Here Are 5 Ways You Can Turn Your Passion into Real Money

The pet industry is a multibillion-dollar one — so if you love animals, this could be the industry for you. Here's how to monetize your love of animals to earn a high income.

By Ray Leon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you have a passion for animals? Are you looking for business ideas that are financially and emotionally rewarding? If you answered yes to both questions, you'll be happy to know there is money to be made in the pet industry — and a lot of it.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 70% of U.S. households own at least one pet. In 2021 alone, Americans spent over $123 billion on their pets. That's up from $103 billion in 2020. Why not grab a slice of this pie?

Let's explore five of the top ways you can make money in the pet industry.

Related: 6 Reasons You Can't Go Wrong With the Pet Industry

1. Pet sitting

I'm putting pet sitting at the very top of the list because there is a universal need for it and it's a flexible business model. Taking care of other people's fur babies in their homes while they're away gives you a lot of control as far as how much you work and when — and it's fairly easy to get started:

  • Decide on where you would like to offer your services. Will you only work within a 10-mile radius of your home or are you willing to drive further?
  • Acquire any local permits and licenses. You can do this by checking with your local business licensing offices.
  • Buy liability insurance that will cover you as well as the animals should anything happen while they are in your care.
  • Decide on what type of payments you will accept from clients.
  • Choose a unique name for your business that people can easily remember. Be sure to do an internet search to make sure that name is not already in use in your local area.
  • Create a business website that lists the services you offer and your rates. There are plenty of inexpensive website-building platforms that can help you build a great-looking site within minutes.
  • Market your new business! Flyers, business cards and social media are some great channels to use.

Once you get those first clients under your belt, be sure to ask them to leave positive feedback for you on your website so prospective clients can feel great about hiring you.

Related: 'Man's Best Friend' — And Investment: The Thriving Industry of Pet-Related Franchising

2. Dog training

Life with a dog can be a joyful experience. Unless of course, that dog develops some frustrating behavioral issues like pulling on walks, barking at neighbors and chewing up furniture. That's where dog trainers come in.

A career as a dog trainer is very rewarding. First, you get to spend your days surrounded by dogs! And second, you get to help people have better relationships with their pups.

Similar to the pet-sitting business model, there is some flexibility here. You can either run your own training facility and offer group classes, or you can visit clients' homes and offer one-on-one training.

To become a dog trainer, you'll need to get educated and get some experience under your belt before offering your services to clients. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is a great resource to check out for information about becoming trained and certified.

Once you have taken the appropriate courses, it's time to get some hands-on experience. Ask your friends and family if you can work with their dogs. You can also volunteer your services at some local shelters in your area. When you feel comfortable and ready, you can begin marketing your services to paying clients.

Related: How I Did It: Getting Started in the Pet Business

3. Pet insurance referrals

To continue growing their customer base and their bottom line, most businesses rely heavily on generating a steady stream of leads. Industries such as mortgages, insurance and lending in particular have a massive demand for quality leads. Because of this, they are willing to pay top dollar to acquire new customers.

Now add to this the fact that more and more pet parents are recognizing the benefits of having pet insurance and you start to see the potential. By creating a lead generation website, you can introduce pet parents to one or more of the many pet insurance companies in the country. Your website would collect the contact information from prospective customers and then sell that information to insurance companies. If you take the time to develop your website and have it rank for key search terms, this can be a very profitable business model.

To build a successful site, you'll want to be certain to develop a lot of valuable content for readers. You can write content around the benefits of pet insurance, as well as around pet health and well-being topics. A quick search on YouTube or Google for the key components of a successful lead generation website should offer up plenty of advice and guidance to get you started.

Related: More Ways for Dog and Cat Lovers to Make Money

4. Pet massage therapy

For many people, pets are part of the family, and as such, they deserve their fair share of spoiling and pampering. Pet massage is a niche market that has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. Some of these businesses also offer acupuncture and hydrotherapy, as many pet parents are looking for ways to help their pets live healthier and longer lives.

It's important to do a bit of research to see if there is a market in your area for pet massage. Talk to vets, vet techs, shelter staff, dog walkers and dog parents to see if people in your area would be willing to spend money on such a service. If the consensus is that yes, people would pay, just crunch some numbers to determine if you will be able to earn enough each month.

Next, look for a holistic animal health school in your area that offers training in pet massage. Once you have completed your training and gotten any certifications or permits you might need, it's time to create your website and start marketing your services.

Related: How To Use Your Current Career As A Stepping Stone For Doing What You Love

5. Pet blogger

If you have pets, a lot of knowledge of said pets and a knack for writing, then a great business idea may be to start a pet blog. One of the best things about having a blogging business is that you can do it from anywhere. You simply need a laptop, an internet connection and a love for animals.

Bloggers who consistently write great content and create an enthusiastic following typically make affiliate income by endorsing products and providing readers with a link to make a purchase. Once readers make a purchase, bloggers receive a small percentage of the sale. Bloggers can also monetize their content with ads and sponsored content opportunities.

While blogging can be a lucrative business, the money won't come overnight. In fact, forget about the money at the beginning. Your key goal is to create great content that is informative and helpful to the reader.

But what should you write about?

It's a good idea to choose a specific niche. For example, writing a blog about pets in general is a bit… well, general. It's better to drill down and find that niche in which you can be successful. For instance, you could focus on writing about cats, bunnies, fish or pet pocket animals like gerbils. You could also focus on a specific breed. Instead of a blog about dogs, you could create an authority site about Great Danes, German Shepherds or whatever dog breed you love and have experience with.

Take some time to develop your site and fill it with tons of great content around your specific topic. Once you get some traffic coming to your site, feel free to begin monetizing that traffic. You could use affiliate links to highlight a particular pet bed, pet toy or any other item that aligns with the blog post you've written. There is an almost limitless supply of affiliate programs in the pet space — just do a Google search and you're sure to find a lot of companies to work with.

As you can see, all it takes is a love of pets and some great business ideas, and the pawsibilities for a solid income are endless.

Ray Leon

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Pet Insurance Review

I'm a dad to two wonderful kids and two amazing rescue dogs. I own and my mission is to promote the pet insurance industry for the benefit of pets, vets and pet parents. I'm also an ex-finance exec and consultant.

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