Many people wish they could find a way to make a living off their passion for animals. Whether it's rescuing animals from kill shelters or abusive conditions, breeding dogs, or running a pet supply store, pet and animal businesses can be among the most rewarding careers available.
Some businesses require little to no training or experience beyond being an animal lover. Dog walking and pet-sitting businesses, for example, can be started with little more than a website. They can be run from your home either part-time or full-time depending on your availability and preferences.
Those looking for a long-term career dealing with animals may consider dog breeding, pet grooming, or equine therapy. These businesses allow you to combine your particular skills and interests with your love of animals. Similarly, there are plenty of opportunities for those with established careers to make a move into the pet and animal industry. If you are an experienced photographer, you may consider opening a pet photography business. If you own a farm, you can bring in additional revenue by starting a petting zoo.
Maybe the best thing about pet and animal businesses is that beyond being a lucrative way to make a living, you can get personal satisfaction knowing you are helping both animals and the people who love them. Veterinary clinics help not only animals in need of medical care, but their owners who desperately need their furry friends to be alright.
Whatever your reason for wanting to operate a pet and animal business, we’ve got a great list of ideas for you to choose from.
Animal husbandry is the breeding and raising of livestock for agricultural purposes. Consumption is the primary purpose of husbandry, with many farmers using every resource available from each animal. Some invest in cattle for their milk production and/or to make and sell cheese, while others invest in poultry for their eggs. Each region has its own strengths and weaknesses; entrepreneurs considering this field should consult with their state’s animal husbandry department to come up with a strategy that would work best in their region.
Have you ever dreamed of running your own farm? Of providing nourishment for your family and others in your community? Do you enjoy working with your hands and being at one with nature? Is the freedom that comes with being your own boss something you’ve thought about repeatedly throughout the years? While animal husbandry requires hard work, it is an exceptionally rewarding and fulfilling career.
Animal rescues do incredibly important work within their communities. They free animals from abusive situations and help liberate stray pets that have been cast out onto the streets. They educate consumers in the region and work to properly place animals with new, loving homes. Rescues are dedicated to ensuring no healthy animal is euthanized and that the sick and wounded receive the treatment they deserve. Every animal rescue’s mission is to ensure those without a voice are heard.
Have you always had a soft heart for animals? Do you feel passionate about raising awareness for animal advocacy? Are you the friend that is always saving injured animals or helping others find their four-legged “perfect match”? If you answered yes to any of these questions, starting an animal rescue may be the business venture that best suits you.
Why we like this business:
Animal rescue businesses are great because they allow you to make a living while doing something extremely rewarding. There is also, unfortunately, a huge number of animals in need of rescue and rehoming. While many think of animal rescues in terms of dogs and cats - 6-8 million are rescued each year - there are many other animals in need of help. Horses and other farm animals and livestock also benefit from rescue organizations. If you already own a farm or large piece of property this may be a great business for you. If you do choose to rescue smaller animals like dogs and cats, you can generally run your business from a small office, coordinating foster homes for animals rather than housing them in a large shelter facility. This can cut down considerably on overhead costs. No matter what animals you’d prefer to work with, starting an animal rescue can be both financially and personally rewarding.
Many people enjoy having fish, as they’re a relaxing and peaceful pet. People don’t always, however, have the time or inclination to properly look after a fish tank. An aquarium maintenance business cleans and maintains aquariums, usually serving both businesses and individuals. These businesses let people have beautiful, healthy aquariums without personally cleaning them.
Anyone who is passionate about fish and aquatic life may be well-suited for running an aquarium maintenance business. It’s helpful to be both self-motivated and a people person, as business owners often work alone but frequently interact with clients.
This is a type of business that can be started part-time, while working another job full-time. Until a business is established, a business owner can schedule their service calls for evenings and weekends—or whenever they aren’t working elsewhere.
For many, beekeeping starts as a hobby. It doesn’t take them long, however, to realize what a fascinating and fulfilling career it can be. Beekeeping isn’t just about collecting honey; it’s about getting to know your bees, their behaviors, and their response to the natural environment around them. How rewarding would it be to parlay your passion into a career?
While beekeeping is an edifying career, it’s also a lot of work. If you’re passionate about being at one with nature, and thrive on continuously learning and growing, beekeeping can be a wonderful business to enter.
Animal cafes have been popular in Asia for several years, and now they’re starting to appear in other parts of the world in the form of cat cafes. There are several cat cafes in New Zealand and Canada, and a few are beginning to appear in the United States.
Cat cafe businesses offer people a place to relax with friends and felines, while they also enjoy a beverage or meal. In addition to serving human customers, many cafes also help the cats they house by making the cats available for adoption.
People who are outgoing and have a passion for cats may enjoy running a cat cafe business. Business owners regularly interact with customers, and most of their interactions will focus on a cafe’s cats. Additionally, business owners also spend a lot of time caring for the cats their cafe houses.
Why we like this business:
Cat cafes are great because they appeal to an enthusiastic niche group - cat lovers. They are also a unique and creative way to generate foot traffic to an animal shelter to facilitate more adoptions. A cat cafe is at once a relaxing atmosphere where people can share a drink or meal and a shelter looking to find homes for cats. Whether you are looking for a way to expand the success of your animal shelter or want a quirky way to bring more business to your cafe, opening a cat cafe can be the perfect strategy.
Chicken rental is a new business which looks to give non-farmers a foray into farming. The chickens will produce eggs for the consumer and the business owner makes sure the chickens are sent with all the necessary supplies to keep them healthy and safe.
Individuals or families who have farming experience will find this business rewarding and profitable. Those with knowledge about how to raise and care for chickens will be at a particular advantage. Since you will need to host many chickens and store equipment for setting up coops at your customers' homes, you will need to have a decent amount of land available.
A commercial aviary raises exotic birds for resale. A bird breeder also known as an avian breeder, can run a small, backyard aviary with only one breeding pair by themselves, or may operate a multi-million dollar purpose-built aviary with dozens of employees. A commercial aviary can sell retail to individual customers or run a breeding program to sell wholesale to established pet stores.
Due to the requirements of breeding birds, most successful commercial breeders have a lot of experience (and success) raising birds as a hobby before attempting to run an aviary as a business. Operating a commercial aviary requires specific knowledge, time, and enough capital to build and maintain the aviary.
Many dog lovers are very enthusiastic about a particular breed of dog. A dog breeding business lets dog lovers who like a specific breed pick out a puppy of that breed. Most businesses focus on raising one breed of dog and, thus, serve people who love that breed.
People who like dogs and caring for them may be interested in opening a dog breeding business. A business owner should be in good enough physical condition to interact with, care for and play with puppies -- which are often on the floor. Business owners also usually help female dogs with births, so owners should be able to make themselves available when a dog goes into labor. It also helps to not be off-put by the birthing process.
Dog sledding is a historic sport that captivates the imaginations of many, and it’s no longer limited to harsh winter environments. Dog sledding businesses let people experience this sport first-hand by offering dog sled rides and tours.
Dog sled businesses aren’t limited to cold places like Nome, Alaska (where the Iditarod ends). Innovative products and business owners are bringing these businesses to warmer climates and metropolitan areas, in addition to cold remote regions.
Anyone who enjoys being outdoors and working with dogs might like running a dog sledding business. Ken, owner of Peace Pups Dogsledding, identifies the motivations of most business owners well. Dog sledding gets you outside in nature and you get to spend your workdays with dogs.
Many dog owners either don’t know how to effectively train their dogs or don’t have time to. A dog training business offers dog owners a convenient, safe and effective place to have their canines trained. A business may be located in a home or in a commercial space, or a trainer may go to clients’ homes.
People who love dogs and other people may be well-suited for owning a dog training business, as the work involves interacting with both dogs and their owners. Patience is another valuable attribute, because training dogs often requires repeating the same drill multiple times. Dog training businesses usually operate during the day, which can make it difficult to run a business while keeping a traditional day job.
The ASPCA estimates there are over 78 million dogs owned in the United States. A vast majority of those canines are left alone each day as their parents go to work. Presented with the option, many pet owners would happily give up a portion of their budget to ensure their dog isn’t cooped up inside all day. Enter the dog walker.
Whether your goal is to supplement your income or set a new career path entirely, dog walking is a rewarding and dynamic profession. If you enjoy the company of dogs and are ready to be your own boss, owning a dog walking business could be the change you’re looking for.
An equine therapy camp will have campers work with horses as a way of overcoming their physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. They're primarily made for children, but there are ways to open the camp up to adults as well.
Business owners should ideally be compassionate people who want to help kids become their best selves. They should have a thorough understanding of how different types of kids interact with horses and which activities will best promote that connection.
Why we like this business:
An equine therapy business is an incredible way to share your love of horses with people in need. This type of therapy can be extremely helpful to those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Running this type of business can be a challenge, but if you own horses and want to build a career helping others, equine therapy can be extremely rewarding. Similarly, if you’ve worked with disabled populations in the past and are looking for new ways to reach your clients, training in equine therapy and opening your own business can expand your work for the better. No matter what draws you to this type of work, a career helping others while working outside, with beautiful animals can be an incredible opportunity.
When overgrown brush or other large patches of ground must be shorn of grass and weeds, the goat rental business provides an environmentally responsible way of cutting and even naturally fertilizing the land. Also known as goatscaping, the goat use enables landowners to landscape without chemical fertilizers, gasoline, or the risk to human mowers of steep or uneven ground or poisonous weeds and thistles.
Since a herd of at least four goats requires a certain amount of space, this business might be ideal for a farmer or landowner with at least an acre or more of real estate within zoning that allows livestock. You should also have a basic understanding of how to care for a herd of goats, and enough knowledge of vegetation to know weeds or plants that might be harmful to your herd and those plantings that your goats will ignore.
On top of that, you should be skillful at convincing sometimes dubious prospects that your business had advantageous over conventional landscaping and mowing techniques.
Guard dog businesses are becoming very popular, especially in urban areas where nighttime burglary is on the rise. Business owners train guard dogs to protect the property of customers during all non-business hours. Guard dogs can be rented or sold to companies or individuals that require protection.
This is a wonderful business for dog trainers and handlers, as well as people with an interest in security and crime deterrence. A business owner should be in good physical condition, since they will be training, caring for, and possibly transporting guard dogs.
A horseback riding business offers lessons to people of all skills, from someone who has never been near a horse before to the experienced rider who wants to improve on a skill or learn a new skill, such as a different style of riding.
The perfect person to run a horseback riding business is someone who loves horses, doesn't mind working outside regardless of the weather, and is physically active. Other factors include being able to work with customers, having business management experience, and having stable management experience. Depending on the side businesses you may want to add retail management knowledge and some knowledge in horse nutrition.
Many dog owners, for a variety of reasons, don’t bring their dogs with them on trips. A kennel business gives dog owners a safe place to leave their dogs while they’re away. At a kennel, dogs have a safe place to rest, are fed and get exercise.
Anyone who loves dogs may be well-suited for owning a kennel business, as most of the work involves taking care of dogs. Owners often have to play with dogs, and they sometimes need to physically move stubborn pooches. Therefore, owners should be in decent physical condition.
As life becomes increasingly busier, consumers are looking for ways to simplify their lives and get more done with less time. Pet lovers across the globe have proven that they will go to great lengths to ensure their animals are properly cared for. For the busy pet owner, a mobile dog groomer is the perfect solution, offering both convenience and individual attention for each animal.
While you will have some interaction with pet owners, much of a mobile dog groomer’s day is spent alone with the animal. Therefore, this business venture is best suited for the individual who is comfortable working solo a majority of the time. If your plan is to manage the business and hire an experienced groomer to care for the animals, it’s important that you understand the intricacies of the industry and carefully consider a groomer’s portfolio during the hiring process.
Why we like this business:
Mobile dog grooming businesses are great because they provide an important service with the added convenience of traveling to their clients. Most dog owners will need to have their pets regularly groomed. In today’s busy world, everyone is looking for ways to save time. Whether your clients work long hours, have small children, or just prefer to keep their cars dog-free, having a groomer who comes to them can be a huge help. As a business owner, you’ll also have the convenience of running your business out of your vehicle. While there are still plenty of expenses involved, you will not need to worry about finding, maintaining, or paying for a large space. This does not mean that you can’t grow your business. While most mobile grooming businesses start as solo operations, as you build your reputation and client base you always have the option to add one or more employees and vehicles, potentially creating an entire fleet of mobile groomers under your brand.
Many dog and other pet owners are concerned about what’s in the food they feed their pets. Pet bakery businesses cater to these owners by providing specially formulated pet foods. The ingredients that pet bakeries use in their pet foods are usually healthy and natural, and they often come from known sources.
Anyone who is passionate about pets and nutrition may be interested in opening a pet bakery business. Pet bakeries usually start out selling through other retailers or online, rather than their own brick-and-mortar store. Because business owners don’t need to keep specific retail hours for customers, it’s possible to start this business up while maintaining another job.
As the owner of a pet clothing business, you’ll either resell or design and fabricate pet attire. You might own a brick and mortar store, run your business online, or operate in a hybrid model by serving customers in both modes.
Hopefully, you love dogs and other animals. You should also have good instincts for finding vendors, pricing items, and promoting and marketing your business. If you’ll be making rather than buying and reselling items, you must also have a talent for pet fashion, clothing design, and sewing.
As the proud owner of a pet fish store you not only will sell goldfish to young fish fanatics, you also have the opportunity to build a large commercial customer base tending to those interested in large aquariums in doctors offices, restaurants, and other public spaces. A wide range of accessories such as gravel, plants, and filters are offered to keep your customers' tanks clean, healthy, and unique looking. It can be a challenging business to open, but if you are passionate about fish, it can be a creative, rewarding, and profitable venture involved in customer service, design, and animal care.
Opening up an aquarium store is perfect for the entrepreneur looking to support their passion for keeping beautiful and healthy aquascapes filled with exotic and common fish. Owning a pet fish store also allows owners to share such passion with their fellow aquarium enthusiasts. It's encyclopedic knowledge regarding water quality maintenance and fish health that will separate a local fish store guy from a valued member of the fish hobbyist community. Attention to detail and a commitment to maintaining a pristine, yet attractive storefront is also crucial in building a customer base that will return. Of course, the successful pet fish store owner will also have a solid understanding of good business practices.
Many people take excellent care of their pets, which includes feeding them great foods. Pet food businesses create high-quality pet foods for people’s pets. Most businesses offer a variety of recipes, so pet owners can find one that’s perfect for their pets. According to IBISWorld, the pet food industry brings in $27 billion annually and is growing.
Anyone who is passionate about animals and enjoys coming up with recipes may like running a pet food business. Having a passion for animals helps business owners connect with potential customers, and a love for experimenting with recipes will help a business owner come up with unique foods to sell.
The most basic service for a pet grooming business is, of course, basic grooming and cleaning services. However, there is a growing market for services such as facials and other pampering services for the animals as well. Some grooming businesses focus on a certain kind of animal, such as only working with dogs, while others offer more diverse services for a more diverse range of animals.
First and foremost, this is a job for animal lovers. Both cleaning and grooming the animals require that the animals be relatively calm, so someone who is good with pets will have an easier time completing these tasks. On the flip side, this job is also good for those who are good with people, as you must be able to convince pet owners who highly value their pets that you will take care of their beloved animal without hurting it.
With pet specialty stores and dog-friendly restaurants becoming the new norm, more and more families are embracing the idea of openly expressing their love for their pets. Pet photographers, whether working in teams or as individuals, are there to catch a family’s four-legged loved one in action. Whether at an adoption event, dog show, horse race, or private photo shoot, these moments are captured on film, delivering pet lovers a keepsake they’ll cherish forever.
Pet photography is the perfect career for an individual who understands, and is inspired by, a family’s love for their pets. Whether photography is your hobby or your current chosen profession, uniting your passion for both is the ideal way to venture out on your own professionally.
People love their pets, and many pet owners want to memorialize their non-human friends through artwork. Pet portraits businesses create custom portraits of pets for customers. Many businesses are run by a single artist, but businesses can also have several artists on staff. The mediums these artists create offer a different feel than photographs -- which pet owners can take themselves -- provide.
Anyone who is artistically inclined and enjoys animals may like running a pet portraits business. For those who like to draw, paint, or work with another medium, doing commissioned portraits is a great way to earn an income creating art. Loving animals helps business owners stay interested in their work even when they’re working on animal portraits several days in a row.
This is a business that can be started as a part-time business. It’s easy to schedule taking orders, working on portraits and shipping completed pieces around another work schedule or a class schedule. Ramsey Beyer, for instance, go into this line of work as a “side hustle.”
Every year, about 3.2 million dogs and cats are adopted. Most of these adoptions are done through non-profit pet shelters. It’s possible to run pet shelters as for-profit businesses, though.
For-profit pet shelters take in unwanted pets and pets that people can’t care for. Shelters provide veterinary care for these pets. Then, they find new owners who will adopt the pets.
Anyone who loves pets and has good business sense might enjoy running a pet shelter business. A heart for animals is needed because these businesses focus on helping pets. Business acumen helps owners transform a traditionally non-profit model into a for-profit business.
Pet sitting businesses offer pet owners a variety of animal care services, including exercising their pets while they are at work. They also provide an affordable alternative to boarding pets at a kennel during vacations or business trips. Being able to remain in their own home environment can reduce separation anxiety for both pets and their owners.
This illustrated Field Guide to Pet Sitting is a cute and humorous overview of what it takes to be a stellar pet sitter.
This is a great business for animal lovers who enjoy walking and staying active. It’s ideal for people who prefer lower stress levels, since spending time with pets has been shown to reduce stress. Those who are compassionate and responsible, yet prefer to work alone and be their own bosses as well as make their own schedules thrive in this type of business.
Why we like this business:
Pet-sitting businesses are great because they offer flexibility, require virtually no start up costs, and can be run right from your home. If you love animals and have the time and space to welcome furry guests into your home, you can run a pet-sitting business. While you’ll need to spent some time and money advertising your services with flyers, ads, or a website, there is little investment required beyond that. You’ll also benefit from word of mouth advertising once you’ve had a few happy customers. Pet-sitting businesses allow you to work when and how much you choose. Since the overhead is minimal, you can choose to take time off or limit your clients whenever you are unavailable or need a break. You can also determine the type of animals you work with and what services you are willing to provide. If you’re not comfortable bringing pets into your home, you can still run a successful business walking dogs during the day or visiting other people’s homes to feed their cats or other animals when they are on vacation. No matter what type of pet-sitting business you feel comfortable with, it can be a very rewarding career.
A viable pet supply store sells anything and everything pet-related. From fish tanks to dog toys, a pet supply store offers the products needed to keep a pet healthy and happy. Some pet supply stores have walk-in clinics. Others have adoption centers. While large pet supply stores like Petco exist, there are plenty of successful local pet supply stores.
A pet supply store isn’t necessarily hard to upkeep, but it’s best operated by those who love animals. Because all products and services are catered to animal owners, pet enthusiasts, and animal-lovers, having similar interests helps. A pet shop owner needs to not only be happy around animals, but also understanding of them. Frequently, pet shops allow animals on the premises. For this reason, a store owner must be willing to pick up after, calm down, and handle dogs, cats, and other animals. Day-to-day care for pet shop adoption centers is also needed.
A petting zoo provides a space where customers can pet an assortment of small animals. Petting zoo animals may include goats, llamas, sheep, and other friendly animals. Such businesses are usually favored by children but enjoyed by clients of all ages. A petting zoo may be in a standing location or may specialize in providing animals for parties and other special events.
Obviously, this business is perfect for those who love animals. It is also good for those who like children, as they will be a major part of your visitors.
Many of us view our pets as an integral part of our family. Others rely on the health of their animals for their livelihood. Veterinary clinics ensure our animals receive the vaccines and care needed to live a long and healthy life.
People who are properly certified and passionate about animals are best suited to open a veterinary clinic. In this line of work, however, you’ll often treat very sick and dying animals, many of which you and your staff will have toput to rest. Therefore, running this type of business requires emotional stability and compassion for the families left behind.
Zoos are family-friendly attractions where everyone can see their favorite animals, learn more about nature, and enjoy related entertainment. They also function as wildlife preserves of some of the most endangered species.
Zoos are excellent for those who love animals and want to protect them from environmental dangers. The idea of the attraction is to pass a love of planet Earth down to younger generations. However, zoos can be incredibly expensive to run, meaning an owner will need to have a knack for business.
Looking for a flexible work environment? Want to be your own boss? Starting a home-based business can be a great way to launch your new company.
An online business is one that is primarily web-based. This type of business is a great option for someone looking for a business idea that will be easy and fast to setup and have low startup costs.
Do you always need to "spend money to make money," as the saying goes? We don't think so. Often a good idea and hard work can get your business up and running with little to no startup costs.
Starting a side business while working a full-time job can be a great way to test out a new business idea and gain invaluable experience as an entrepreneur.
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is the sense of adventure in taking a risk for the sake of a great idea. But don't think you'll make it big without working hard to achieve your goals.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, starting your own business can be fun, profitable, and a great learning experience. Being your own boss sure beats working at the local community pool or fast-food joint.
Being an entrepreneur can be an incredibly valuable experience, in more ways then one. For teens who have an inclination for it, starting a business might be a great way to spend their time.