7 purr-fect ways for pet lovers to make money

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Did you know that the U.S. pet industry surpassed $60 billion in 2015? While the biggest expense category for the pet-owning population is food ($23 billion), over $5 billion is spent on pet-related services each year. If you're one of the 54 million households that own at least one dog or 43 million households that own at least one cat, there are many ways to cash in on your love of animals.

Ways for Pet Lovers to Make Money

Or, perhaps you're in a situation that doesn't allow for pet ownership currently – traveling a lot, pet-unfriendly living circumstance, etc. – and you want to care for other people's pets until you're able to have one of your own.

Top 7 Perfect Ways for Pet Lovers to Make Money

No matter what your current lifestyle is, there are several different ways to make money by providing goods and services to pet owners:

Dog Walking

What better way to make money while staying active with your favorite animals than by offering dog-walking services? Dog walking is a much-needed service for many owners that work at full-time jobs and can't get home to let their pups out during the day, so if your work situation can accommodate midday walks, then there is likely already demand for your services.

All you need to get started is some poop bags, athletic shoes, and a spare leash. You can advertise your dog walking services on a t-shirt, business cards, or even by posting on Craigslist and social media. Once you build up a steady stream of customers, you might also want to get a pedometer just to see how many miles you're walking every day!

Pet-Sitting

Whether you love dogs, cats, reptiles, birds or all of the above, pet-sitting services are great ways to interact with animals while getting paid to do it. You can start out on a site like Rover, which takes a 20% cut of your proceeds in exchange for hosting your sitter profile and promoting it to pet owners in your area who need someone to watch their beloved animals.

You can choose to board animals in your home (not recommended for apartment residents or home renters), or you can offer to stay overnight at the pet owner's home and care for their pets in a familiar setting. Duties of pet sitters include: cleaning up the pets' messes, feeding, changing water, taking outside animals out for potty breaks and walks, cleaning litter boxes, and potentially administering medications. If you want to get heavily involved in the pet-sitting biz, be sure to check out your city's business license requirements and explore your pet insurance options for liability purposes.

Dog Treat Baker

Are cooking and baking your favorite hobbies? If so, then why not transform that hobby into a pet-related income stream by baking dog treats for your friends, neighbors, and family's dogs? There is countless dog treat recipes on Pinterest to help you get started (be sure to research which ingredients are dangerous for animals, too!), and you can offer local shelters and dog rescues free samples in exchange for advertising placements at their facilities and on their websites.

Pet Photography

Do you own a high-quality camera and have quite a bit of experience in photography? Pet photography is somewhat tricky since you can't exactly tell animals how you want them to pose. However, a skilled photographer who knows how to get dogs and cats' attention could do well.

You can start out by offering to photograph your local shelter and rescues' dogs free-of-charge in exchange for free publicity. Offering your services not only get your name out there but also build up your pet portfolio in the meantime, which you should post on a free blogging platform so you can send potential customers to your site to get a glimpse of your photography skills.

Once you start bringing in paying customers, you can offer anything from new puppy portraits (similar to newborn baby photos) to family holiday photos with the pets.

Selling Animal Art Online

If you've got a knack for arts and crafts and you adore animals, then why not sell your unique creations on sites like Etsy or Fiverr? There are thousands of online sellers that offer pet-related art and trinkets, but original and creative pieces will capture people's attention and sell.

Don't forget to advertise your wares on social media to access a wider audience, and you may also opt to donate some of your art to local pet charities' auctions to get your name out there with a boost of goodwill in your community.

Pet Party Planner

Did you know that pet party planners exist? Their main goal is to set up fun and safe environments for many pups to come together and celebrate, whether it's a puppy's first birthday or a senior dog beating cancer. Setting up a pet party planning business isn't too difficult, though it does require a bit of creativity and a flair for affordable extravagance.

You can develop game ideas, bake dog-friendly cupcakes, and create festive collars or bandanas for every four-legged attendee. If you already have these skills, then the main hurdle is packaging your party plans and promoting them to dog owners in your area (social media and dog rescues/shelters are great places to start).

Design Doggy Clothing

Creative folks who love coming up with new wardrobes for their pups could supplement their incomes by creating handmade doggy clothing. Creating clothing is perfect for anyone who already knows how to knit or sew, but even if you're not as skilled in handmade crafts, you can still design bejeweled collars or sell bandanas made from cute fabric cuts.

Whether you specialize in doggy jackets and sweaters or make and sell bows and bandanas, you can earn money from the comfort of your home by coming up with all sorts of new outfits and accessories for other people's pooches.

You likely won't get rich off any of these ideas, but if you love animals and want to supplement your pet budget by caring for other folks' pets, then the above ideas are ideal. If you work at it, you might even be able to turn your pet-related venture into a part or full-time job. Just be willing to invest in your skills and get your name out there by donating services or goods to local pet charities, and you'll be on the path to success!

The post 7 Purr-Fect Ways for Pet Lovers to Make Money appeared first on Money Q&A.

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