Are you a dog person? There’s a pretty good chance that you are, because according to the ASPCA, nearly 50% of all households in the US include at least one canine member. In 2015, Americans spent over 60 billion dollars on care, feeding, training, and entertainment for their beloved pups.
If you’re one of those special people who loves and appreciates dogs, you may have considered starting a dog-centered business. Because it wouldn’t really be “work” if you got paid to hang out with dogs all day, right?
Well, it turns out there are a surprising number of ways to profit from your love of canines. With over 80 million dogs in America, there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone!
Here’s my Top Ten List of home businesses for dog lovers. Maybe one of these ideas will inspire you!
1. Dogsitting/ Boarding/ Daycare – Cat owners are lucky; you can leave your cat alone for a weekend. As long as they have food and water and a clean litter box, they may not even notice you were gone. Being a dog parent is harder. If you travel or spend long work days away from home, you’ll need help to make sure your dog gets food, water, bathroom breaks, and companionship.
This is an awesome opportunity for dog-loving entrepreneurs! As a dogsitter, you can stay on site in your client’s home. Or you can create a business where clients board their dogs at your home, knowing that their pooch will be cared for like one of your own. You can also work with Rover.com – basically, it’s AirBNB for dogs. Once they’ve checked you out and you meet their standards, they will send you referrals for short-term boarding gigs.
If you don’t want a 24-hour arrangement, you can also offer doggie daycare, where clients drop their dogs off at your place to spend the day napping, playing, and socializing, then pick them up at the end of the day.
2. Dog Walking – A dog-walking business requires less of your time and effort than petsitting, but there’s the potential for an ongoing long-term revenue stream. Basically all that’s involved is going to your client’s home while they’re at work each day to give their dog a bit of fresh air, exercise, and play.
3. Dog Poop Disposal Service – No matter how much we love our dogs, cleaning up puppy landmines is a part of dog parenthood that most of us would like to delegate. And that’s where a smart entrepreneur can scoop up some serious cash! Check out this article I wrote to learn more about this unique business opportunity.
4. Gourmet Dog Treat Maker – We dog lovers can be pretty fussy about what we feed our furkids. There’s a booming market for homemade treats made by hand with love and high-quality ingredients! Start out by experimenting to find a great recipe, then build your business by selling your wares at local farmers’ markets, craft fairs, or flea markets as well as online.
5. Dog Trainer – Most dog trainers offer basic obedience training, but there are also specialized trainers. A dog behaviorist is like a dog psychologist or therapist helping dogs who exhibit unwanted behaviors (like aggression, separation anxiety, etc.). A service dog trainer selects and teaches dogs to assist handicapped people. And therapy dog trainers specialize in selecting, training, registering, and handling therapy dogs.
6. Dog Groomer – Grooming can be a very profitable business, even for a solopreneur. Aspiring dog groomers can train one-on-one with an experienced groomer or enroll in a formal training program, which qualifies you to start your own grooming business or seek employment with an established groomer
One local Pittsburgh entrepreneur started a very successful business by refurbing an old panel truck and outfitting it as a mobile pet spa, fully equipped with everything you’d expect to find at a bricks-and-mortar grooming salon. Jessica brings her truck to fairs and festivals around the area, but also she’ll come right to your door – worth every penny to those of us with elderly, shy, or anxious dogs.
7. Dog Photographer – If you’re good with a camera, you can build a lucrative business taking photos of dogs (and other pets, of course!). People who consider their dogs to be family members will be happy to invest in beautiful memories of their beloved pet. Like the mobile groomer, you can come to your clients so their dog is more relaxed and comfortable at home.
8. Dog Massage Therapist – Make money for petting dogs? Sign me up! You can actually become certified as a Canine Massage Therapist with training in canine anatomy and physiology. The going rate here in Pittsburgh is about $50 an hour, so it’s a pretty lucrative business.
9. Dog Party Planner – Again, many people treat their dogs like furry children, so it makes sense that there’s a market for puppy party planners! Put your organizational skills to work and coordinate and run birthday parties for dogs and their friends… complete with a nutritious and wholesome cake, decorations, games, and goody bags for guests to take home.
10. Webmaster – If you love dogs but you’re looking for something less “hands-on,” there’s money to be made with dog-related websites. Whether the focus of your site is dog health and nutrition topics, training, or even funny dog videos, there’s an audience out there among those 50 million or so dog-owning households. There are even websites that cater to fans of one specific breed – greyhounds, pit bulls, and dachshunds, to name a few. You can monetize your site in many ways, including blogging, article reprints (with permission), selling affiliate products or ads, or launching a membership site/community.
If you’re considering launching your own dog-centered business, I hope there’s something here that makes your tail wag!
PS – Volunteering at a shelter or providing a foster home for shelter dogs is also great way to help our four-legged friends.