15 Best Side Hustles for Animal Lovers (#4 Is So Cute!)

Transform your affection for animals into extra income with these fulfilling side hustles.

couple with dog in outdoor garden
Updated May 28, 2024
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Do you love your current furry family member but wish you could spend more time around more animals?

If you’re looking for a way to transform one of your interests into a money-maker, it’s your lucky day.

There are all kinds of jobs on the market for animal lovers anxious to make extra money with something they’re passionate about. Here are some great side hustles to consider if you love working with animals. 

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Animal portrait photographer

New Africa/Adobe male photographer photographing pomeranian dog

Professional photography isn’t the easiest skill to pick up overnight, but if you’re already well into a photography career, taking animal portraits is an easy, obvious way to boost your bank account.

You’ll probably spend more than a bit of time wrangling antsy, anxious pets into position for a picture — but if you’re already used to taking family portraits, you’ve likely already got the basics under your belt.

Wildlife photographer

WildMedia/Adobe male photographer taking pictures of deer

Becoming a wildlife photographer might require even more patience than becoming an animal portrait photographer.

Depending on your subject, you’ll likely spend hours outdoors waiting for the perfect photo opp. But if you’re already committed to the craft and animal subjects, you’re already even closer than you thought to a fun, financially successful side gig.

Hone your skills and build a portfolio. Eventually, you can look into selling prints and picking up freelance work.

Chicken farmer

Rawpixel.com/Adobe Happy young woman with a brown hen

Many cities have ordinances allowing for backyard chicken coops. If yours does, consider acquiring a hen or two to raise, feed, take care of, and collect eggs from.

Selling eggs on the side probably won’t generate much income, but it might just add a little extra cash to your wallet.

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Pet clothing maker

annaartday/Adobe miniature schnauzer in blue pullover

A simple search for something like “dog sweater” or “cat costume” on Etsy turns up thousands of results.

If you’re a crafty person by nature, consider putting those skills to work making clothes for pets of all shapes and sizes. Luckily, e-commerce sites such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade have made it easier than ever to reach enthusiastic customers across the globe.

Animal massage therapist

gumpapa/Adobe woman massaging persian kitty on bed

Like their human counterparts, pets can get sore, achy, or injured, which often means they need a combination of physical and massage therapy to get back on their feet.

Becoming an animal massage therapist can require hours of training and official state licensing, so it’s a side hustle with a potentially high initial investment.

However, suppose you’re interested in massage therapy and committed to improving the quality of life for injured or aging pets. In that case, the coursework will likely be worth it for you and your wallet.

Dog walker

hedgehog94/Adobe lady walking dogs on leash

If you love outdoor exercise nearly as much as you love dogs, consider adding dog-walking to your list of side gig options.

Exercising other peoples’ four-legged friends helps keep you healthy and ensures the dogs in your care get ample companionship while their owners are away.

Check out an app like Rover to see how popular dog walking jobs are in your area and start looking for potential clients.

Animal groomer and stylist

luckybusiness/Adobe professional pet groomer grooming dog

If you love nothing more than making Fido look his best, consider dabbling in animal grooming. While certifications aren’t legally required to ply this trade, attaining one can increase your skills and job prospects — and, most importantly, keep the animals safe.

Want to take it a step further? Upscale hairdos and rainbow-colored bangs aren’t just for humans. Many pet owners want their dogs to hit the park with style, but not all groomers offer specialized services like dye jobs or manicures.

That’s where animal stylists come in. The most successful animal stylists might find themselves working on movie sets with animals waiting for a glow-up to make their screen debut.

Treat baker

RoJo Images/Adobe making dog biscuits in bone shape

Many people want a home-baked treat to surprise their pet with but don’t want to buy mass-produced treats at the local big-box pet store.

If you’re enthusiastic about cooking (and aren’t afraid to taste-test your pet products), look into pet-friendly recipes the pooches in your area will surely enjoy.

Pet birthday-cake baker

Keitma/Adobe cute kitten celebrating birthday at home

Not satisfied with simply whipping up batches of dog biscuits on the side? Take your baking game to the next level by becoming a full-fledged pet-birthday caterer.

Dog-friendly cakes — not to mention treat-filled goody bags to send home with partygoers — can take a good amount of time and energy to bake, making this side gig worthwhile with the right rates.

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Animal trainers

Svitlana/Adobe instructor training dog with hand signal

Not all pet owners have the time, means, or inclination to spend hours training their beloved pet — which creates plenty of opportunities for enterprising animal trainers like you to get into the business.

While animal training doesn’t necessarily require a specialized education, you’ll have much more success (and keep yourself and your animal pupils safer) if you learn the tricks of the trade upfront.

Consider signing up for an apprenticeship with the American Human Society or a mentorship through the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

Veterinary clinic or shelter office assistant

Seventyfour/Adobe male and female dog inspecting dog

Are you eager to ensure animals get the medical care they need, but you don’t feel particularly drawn to veterinary school?

Working as a receptionist, secretary, or office assistant at a veterinary clinic lets you chat with pets and their owners while ensuring the office runs as efficiently as possible.

Daily job activities will likely include filing paperwork, helping patients check in and out, accepting payments for medical services, and helping pet owners schedule appointments.

Backyard beekeeper

kosolovskyy/Adobe female beekeeper holding wooden honeycomb frame

Whether you want to build a better habitat for pollinators or sell honey on the side, backyard beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby to pick up.

Before you set up shop, check with your local municipality to make sure you’re allowed to keep bees in your area and, if so, which regulations you must follow to keep yourself, your bees, and your neighbors safe.

From there, you can find a local (or online) beekeeping association and check out professional beekeeping sites like Betterbee to get started.

Pet hotel worker

jb325/Adobe woman handling dogs at pet boarding

Many pet owners dislike boarding their animals at an impersonal kennel while away from home for extended periods.

Pet hotels emphasize luxury stays and upscale services, which means more peace of mind for pet owners, better vacation time for pets, and a more enjoyable job for pet lovers, who get to pamper pets while their owners are away.

Pet adoption counselor

Cavan/Adobe girl posing with cat at shelter

Becoming a pet adoption counselor can be hard on the heartstrings since it brings you in constant contact with shelter pets longing for a good home.

At the same time, it can also be a gratifying job: There’s no payoff quite like the emotional satisfaction of finding a loving home for a dog or cat in need.

Your duties can vary depending on the shelter you work for. Daily activities might include caring for shelter animals, helping prospective owners fill out adoption paperwork, and checking in on adoptees to ensure they’re well cared for at their new home.

Pet sitter

AnnaStills/Adobe woman giving pet food to dog

Pet sitting is a super reliable animal-related side gig, making it a great choice if your top priority is finding a job that generates enough cash to supplement your income.  

As with dog walking, you can sign up for an app like Rover or a site like Care.com that matches pet owners with potential sitters in their area. If you’re willing to house- and pet-sit, you might find even more lucrative opportunities.

Bottom line

Pixel-Shot/Adobe african american woman with dog

Turning your passion for animals into a solid side hustle can help fill the hole in your wallet and get ahead financially.

But perhaps most importantly, it can fill the animal-sized hole in your heart that’s just waiting to be filled.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.