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The 15 Best Jobs That Involve Dogs

Do you dream of working with dogs? Have you ever wondered if there are jobs that involve dogs that pay well? You’re in the right place!

I know that there are tons of options from part-time hustles to lifelong careers that allow you to spend more time with dogs or even work alongside your own dog! 

You don’t necessarily need to be a veterinarian or a veterinary assistant to work with dogs. From dog trainer to government dog jobs, in this post, I outline 15 of the best jobs that involve working with dogs.

One thing I’ve noticed as I interview over 200 women in the pet industry on my podcast is that people who work with dogs have huge hearts! This is one of the most compassionate industries that you can be a part of.

So, why not make a positive change in your life and discover a job that allows you to make money while working with dogs!

the best careers for dog lovers

15 Exciting Job Career Paths for Dog Lovers

When you put your whole heart into your job sometimes it can be hard to turn it into a profitable business.

Alongside most of these jobs that involve dogs, I link to podcast episodes that feature women who have taken their dog passion and turned it into a real business.

Maybe you always hoped to work with animals but life had other plans—or maybe you’re just now discovering your true passion for pets.

Some of these are jobs you can do with your dog and others will allow you to meet lots of new dogs.

Keep in mind that some of these dog jobs for humans require special qualifications to work with dogs, but plenty of others don’t. I hope this post helps you find a pet industry career that is right for you!

Which pet industry career is right for you?

Become a Dog Trainer

One of the first jobs I think of when it comes to careers that work with dogs is a dog trainer! Being a dog trainer can make a huge positive impact on people’s and pets’ lives.

Proper training and socialization are among your dog’s basic needs, and it can be so rewarding to teach people how to better communicate with their pups.

You can also have a lot of fun working with dogs to learn tricks or useful skills.

Although you might think that dog training is all about communicating with dogs, it’s important that you’re good at communicating with people, too. That way you can pass on your expertise so your students are on their best behavior anywhere they go.

To be a successful dog trainer, you should:

  • Love learning
  • Be patient
  • Enjoy creative problem-solving
  • Be able to work with a variety of learning styles
  • Have great personal communication skills

To become a dog trainer you should take courses based on the science of animal behavior and familiarize yourself with the latest knowledge on balanced training or positive reinforcement dog training (like in this book by Victoria Schade).

From there you can get hands-on experience working with dogs at a local shelter or dog training facility. While it’s not required to be certified, many trainers choose to work towards a CPDT title from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

Want to learn more about being a dog trainer? Listen to these podcast episodes:
Episode 68: The Business Side of Dog Training with Veronica Boutelle of DogBiz
Episode 77: Creating an Online Dog Training Course with Stacie Bowers of Curious Canines
Episode 200: City Dog Expert Kimberly Freeman
Episode 208: Ali Smith of ReBarkable

working with dogs for a living

Care for Pets as a Dog Sitter

Many people rely on dog sitters to take care of their furry friends while they travel for work or go on vacation. There’s nothing like the peace of mind of knowing that a responsible, caring person is back at home taking care of your dog just like you would!

Dog sitters either stay in the pet’s home or look after someone’s pet at their own home. Either way, it’s really important that a dog sitter is organized, clean, and has a flexible schedule. 

Be prepared to spend a lot of time with the pet you’re caring for. Dogs need walks at least twice a day to exercise, or pee and poo.

The specific exercise needs of each dog are dependent on the dog’s breed, age and health. To be the best dog sitter you can be, you should familiarize yourself with general dog health, nutrition, dog body language and behavior for a variety of breeds. 

To prepare yourself for anything that might happen while watching someone’s dog, you should also complete a pet first aid course including pet CPR. The Red Cross offers an online pet first aid course and even has an app! 

>> I got certified in Pet First Aid and CPR in Spring 2022. It was such a great experience and something I recommend to all pet parents and anyone working with pets. Based on that certification, I also created a blog post about the essential items you need in a pet first aid kit. 

Taking care of a dog, or any pet for that matter, is a learning experience.  You’ll get better after every assignment.

As always, if you are unsure about anything about the dog while they’re in your care, refer to your local veterinarian for help or assistance.

Want to learn more about being a dog sitter? Listen to these podcast episodes:
Episode 42: Building a Pet Sitter Community with Ramsey Timmons of PetPawneur
Episode 78: Kristin Morrison of Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy

how to get a job working with dogs

Get a Job as a Dog Walker

Being a dog walker is a great job for dog lovers because the hours can be adjusted to your lifestyle and needs. You can pick up just 1 canine client that you walk a few times a week, or you can fit in many walks per day, do pack walks, specialize in dog runs… you name it!

The job of a dog walker can be what you want to make of it! From a small side hustle to get your dog fix to a full time business with employees.

Dog walkers need to be physically fit enough to handle big or small dogs and walk several miles per day.

You should be familiar with basic obedience and leash skills and know how to put on different harnesses and training collars (like a gentle leader or front clip harness).

To get started as a dog walker, you can sign up on an app like Rover or you can ask around to friends and family, and establish your own dog walking business.

Just like being a dog sitter, when you’re walking someone else’s dog, it’s good to be over-prepared. It’s a good idea to take a pet first aid course and be familiar with the health needs of different dog breeds. Oh, and make sure you have a really good poop bag holder!

Want to learn more about being a dog walker? Listen to this podcast episode:
Episode 52: How to Monetize What You Know with Adina Silberstein of Queenie’s Pets
Episode 111: Post-Covid Dog Walking with Dani Pedraza
Episode 206: SEO Tips for Dog Walkers and Sitters from WUF Design

Guide Dog Puppy Raiser

Of all the dog jobs for humans, this one is unique. Being a guide dog or service dog puppy raiser for an organization such as Guide Dogs of America can be defined as part of the unusual jobs with dogs list.

You won’t make a fortune from raising puppies, but it’s such a meaningful job. 

Being a guide dog puppy raiser means that you’re preparing a future working dog for the world and their responsibilities.

It’s an extremely important part of the guide dog or service dog program and has a lot of support built into it. You’ll learn about dog training, obedience, socialization and how to familiarize the puppies with the outside world.

Puppy raisers are volunteers, but they are compensated with a lot of love and dog joy for the time they put into it!

What’s great about this dog job is that it’s open to people of many different lifestyles (single, families, urban, rural) – as long as you can take the dog most places with you. 

The hardest part will be saying goodbye to your puppy when they go on to their next chapter, but you can find comfort in the fact that they will go on to help someone with a disability live a better life.

Want to learn more about being a guide dog puppy raiser? Listen to this podcast episode:
Episode 141: Stacie Bianco of The Good Dog Cause

jobs that let you work with your dog

Therapy Dog Team

A great job that you can do with your own dog is to become a certified therapy dog team. I did this with my dog Lucy and now we volunteer a few times a month at a local veteran’s center.

Just like being a puppy raiser, this is a volunteer job but you’ll be generously compensated in all the love and appreciation you and your dog get on the job! It’s really a job for dogs, but you get to be the human along for the ride.

To become a certified therapy dog your dog needs to:

  • Know basic obedience or pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test
  • Pass the therapy dog test
  • Be great at stay
  • Unphased by wheelchairs, walkers or a crutch that might fall on the floor

Two of the harder things on the test include your dog being comfortable while you leave the room for several minutes and then walking them past a bowl of food on the floor without lunging at it.

We got our certification through Therapy Dogs International. They also connected us with facilities and volunteer positions. You can read about my experience training Lucy to be a therapy dog (spoiler, it’s totally worth it!).

I’ve also been a guest on the Therapy Dog Talk Podcast! Listen to that episode here.

Dog Groomer

Another great job for dog lovers is being a groomer. People rely on dog groomers to help keep their dogs clean and also to pamper them.

There’s a big need in most communities for trained and qualified dog groomers. 

Dog groomers can work in a variety of places such as pet stores, grooming salons, in pet’s homes, or even in a mobile grooming van.

A love of dogs is the most important requirement because you’ll learn a lot of the skills on the job.

Most aspiring dog groomers will apprentice at their new shop for 4-6 weeks when they start out. You can also check the different dog groomers associations for workshops or even get a certification.

If you’re a creative person who loves pets, dog grooming can be an interesting choice. In addition to typical washing and trimming, some groomers get wild with colorful pet-safe dyes and hairstyles that look like a sculpture! 

The average salary for dog groomers may vary depending on the expertise in the field and the business model such as a self-owned grooming salon or a mobile set-up. The geographical location may also be a factor for determining the average salary for a dog groomer.

Want to learn more about being a dog groomer? Listen to these podcast episodes:
Episode 72: Creating a Successful Brick and Mortar Pet Business with Bow Wow Dog Bakery’s Leel Michelle
Episode 40: Pursue Your Pet Dream Job with Shannen Standiford of Pups on the Coast 
Episode 127: Melissa Mitchner of The Bark Shoppe 

Spend Less Time Working, and More Time with Your Dog

The Wear Wag Repeat Resource Guide has over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by my podcast guests that will help you run an efficient and successful pet industry business!

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Dog Treat Baker

Do you love to bake, be creative and make tails wag? Being a dog treat baker is a fun job you can do with your dog to share healthy treats with more pet parents!

Gourmet, healthy, and beautiful handmade treats, dog cupcakes, and birthday cakes are all the rage for pet parents. As a dog treat baker, you can come up with fun creations for different holidays and special events to keep your customers coming back. 

To be successful as a dog treat maker, you need to know what ingredients are safe for dogs and which aren’t. Dog treats should look good, taste great and be healthy for our pups!

When you’re getting started, try selling your treats at local farmer’s markets, maker fairs or at your local pet supplies store. And of course, make sure to take lots of fun photos to promote your brand on Instagram!

I’ve interviewed a lot of women who’ve created successful dog treat businesses! If you’re looking to start your own business, listen to my conversation with Minyoung of Dog Barkery Academy. She has a whole course that walks you through everything you need to do to launch your treat businesses! Taking a course like this will save you so much time versus figuring it out on your own!

Want to learn more about being a dog treat baker? Listen to this podcast episode:
Episode 49: Creating a Style Savvy Dog Bakery with Jen Mello of Spotted Dog Bakery
Episode 186: Amanda Yu-Nguyen, the creator of Barkuterie Boards

Jobs That Involve Dogs

Work at a Doggy Daycare Facility

Many pet owners work all day and need to leave their dogs at home alone. It’s not unusual for these owners to return home to find hyperactive or stressed-out dogs. When you’re busy working long hours, it’s hard to give your dog the time they need, and that’s where doggie daycare can be a real lifesaver.

Among all the jobs looking after dogs, working at a doggy daycare is a dream job for someone who has a lot of energy and loves to play with dogs all day. 

Doggie daycare works a lot like daycare for children. The hours can be long and you’ll have to clean up after the dogs, but you’ll also get to have a ton of fun tiring them out!

You’ll get to interact with tons of different dogs, so it’s important that you’re familiar with the behavior traits of a variety of different breeds, and that you are trained to prevent dog-dog aggression and break up fights (yes, they do happen sometimes).

Working at a dog day care, you’ll spend your time:

  • Supervising playtime
  • Giving belly rubs
  • Cleaning up poo, pee or vomit accidents
  • Walking dogs from reception to kennels or play areas’
  • Possibly going on short walks
  • Washing blankets, towels and toys 
  • Taking photos or videos for social media

If you have enough room at your house, you might even be able to set up an In-Home Dog Daycare. In-home or private daycares can usually be run by one or two people and are restricted to a low number of dogs being cared for at any given time. 

Keep in mind that you will need space for your canine guests to play and sleep when they’re in your care, as well as play equipment such as play structures, toys, and even water features for hot days.

Additionally, you’ll need care-related equipment such as kennels and cages, food and water bowls, dog beds, leashes, treats, and cleaning supplies. 

If you’re thinking of starting your own dog care business, check your state and local laws and regulations to determine the licenses or permits you need. Each state has different requirements for opening a business and specific health and safety regulations for animal-related businesses.

Want to learn more about the doggy daycare business? Listen to this podcast episode:
Episode 23: Candace D’Agnolo of Pet Boss Nation
Episode 102: Launch and Grow a Profitable Dog Daycare Business

jobs that involve dogs

Work at an Animal Shelter

If you have a huge heart for dogs (and other pets) and you are looking for jobs that involve dogs, then you might want to work at an animal rescue or shelter!

The stories you hear and dogs you meet will definitely tug at your heartstrings, but you will make a huge impact on their lives. Working at an animal shelter can be a highly rewarding career with opportunities to take on challenges that can help you develop unique skills and knowledge of animals.

Dogs come into rescues for all sorts of reasons, so you’ll need to be flexible and ready to lend a hand however you can.

Your dog rescue job might include:

  • Intake for pets arriving at the shelter
  • Feeding the dogs
  • Walking and playing with the dogs
  • Dog training
  • Providing canine enrichment activities
  • Social media posts
  • Working local adoption events
  • Vetting adoption applications to find homes for the pets

Animal shelters also need people who are good at marketing and fundraising. So if you have experience planning events or managing social media, this would be a unique place to offer your skills and let you work with dogs.

Delivery Truck Driver

Ok, you might think that from all the exciting jobs working with dogs this is definitely not one you’d expect to see on the list. We don’t usually think that a delivery truck driver job involves a lot of dogs… but I found a whole Facebook group dedicated to dogs that UPS drivers meet along their routes! 

According to the employee-run page, “UPS drivers deliver packages all day long. During each day, drivers encounter many dogs, most friendly and some not so nice. When time permits, drivers snap a photo and send it to UPS Dogs.

“Our followers love the photos and the stories told as we share our love of these special relationships with these lovable creatures.”

15 careers for dogs lovers

Dog Photographer

A growing career path for dog lovers is pet photography. Being a photographer takes creative ability, patience, and lots of practice. When you add in a furry, wiggly subject it gets even more challenging! But it’s so worth it!

Dog photographers capture our pets in a way that we never could on our camera phones. The images they create become a lasting way to remember our dogs for many years to come.

To become a pet photographer you’ll need to learn a lot about photography and unique skills that help you get the perfect shot of dogs. That might include going to people’s homes, traveling to unique locations, or learning just the right word to get a dog’s attention.

This is a very entrepreneurial career choice, so you’ll also want to learn about pricing, sales, and marketing to make your pet photography business a success! Check out my Amazon recommendations for camera and office equipment to run your pet business.

Want to learn more about being a dog photographer? Listen to these podcast episodes:
Episode 1: Milla Chappell of Real Happy Dogs
Episode 39: Improve Your Pet Photography with Nicole Begley
Episode 91: Create a Fundraising Dog Photo Calendar with Terren Bayer
Episode 138: Using Photography to make money as a pet influencer
Episode 179: Vasi Siedman created a pet photography course for pet parents

jobs that let you work with dogs

Work at a Pet Supplies Store

If you’re looking for a job working with dogs that requires no previous experience, you might want to apply at a pet supplies store. Working in a pet supples store means you’ll learn a lot about pets and how to take care of them!

Many people bring their well-behaved dogs in to shop with them, and some shops offer dog training classes or grooming. Which means you’ll get to meet even more dogs!

Working at a pet supplies store, you job description might include:

  • Lifting heavy bags of dog food
  • Helping customers to their cars
  • Orgazing shelves and displays
  • Answering customer questions about the products
  • Cleaning up accidents and keeping the store clean

I’ve met so many great people working at pet supplies stores all over Pittsburgh including photographers, rescue advocates, and retired people who got the job just so that they could be around animals.

You can work at a chain, a franchise store or a locally owned store. There are a lot of options. One of the perks of this job is that you might even get a discount for your own pet’s supplies!

Animal Control Officer

Of all the careers involving dogs, Animal Control Officer might not be the most appealing one. I think the common perception for a lot of dog owners is that Animal Control Officers should be avoided at all costs. I know I don’t want to get a ticket for being off-leash!

But that’s an outdated idea. They’re no longer the “dog catcher.” 

People who work for your local Animal Safety and Control Department are trying to keep people and animals safe. They often work with all kinds of animals, from pets to wildlife.  They perform animal law enforcement in support of proper animal treatment and care. They can be called to investigate mistreated or abused animals and can end up saving their lives. 

Animal control officers typically work for government animal organizations to enforce local animal laws and ordinances. They often work closely with local shelters to help dogs find their owners or a new family to go home with.

Animal control officers may often patrol public areas to prevent animal negligence and abuse issues. Many animal control officers also coordinate with community members to reduce animal control issues and educate the public on animal care and safety. 

Working as an animal control officer can be both challenging and rewarding. It’s a tough job, but many people do it because they love dogs so much and want to help them however they can.

You will definitely need proper training for this job. Animal control officers must have knowledge of a wide variety of animal species, animal first aid, animal care and nutrition, humane capture tools and techniques, animal behavior, public relations, cruelty investigation procedures, and law enforcement.

Some states require completion of a certification course before an applicant can be considered for a career as an animal control officer. If you are interested in pursuing a career in animal control you should investigate the specific requirements in your state or locality.

Dog Product Designer and Maker

Do you have an idea for a product that would make you and your dog’s life together so much better? I bet it would help a lot of other dog lovers, too!

I’ve met so many people who have taken their dog product idea and made it a reality. They often get to spend their day working with their own dog while they grow their business. And the best part is that their products can help dogs all over the world.

You can start simply by making bandanas. Of if you’re more ambitious, dive into the deep end and invent a better dog crate or travel bed. You know that your dog will always be there to be the official prototype tester!

A great thing about pursuing this dog job is that you can start small with a side hustle and the sky’s the limit for how big you can grow it! 

Check out my Amazon recommendations for tools that will help you run your pet business from home.

Want to learn more about making your own dog products? Listen to these podcast episodes:
Episode 80: Making Dogs’ Lives Better with Thoughtful Bandanas with Catherine Whiteman of Three Wags
Episode 66: Creating a Successful Pet Brand with Sarah Rowe of Lion and Wolf
Episode 104: From Handmade to Wholesale, Wildside Designs

Spend Less Time Working, and More Time with Your Dog

The Wear Wag Repeat Resource Guide has over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by my podcast guests that will help you run an efficient and successful pet industry business!

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Work with your dog as a blogger or influencer

Pet Blogger or Doggy Influencer

The best job you can do with your dog (I might be a little biased!) is a pet blogger and influencer. That’s been my full-time job for several years! If you love sharing your life and experiences with your dog with the world then this is a great job for you.

It’s important to be very self-motivated to keep up with consistent posts on your blog and social media accounts. It also helps to be a good writer and know how to take great photos of your dog (this is the camera I use).

As a pet blogger and influencer, you can make money from sponsored posts, banner ads, affiliate commissions or from selling your own products

You’ll also be able to test out a lot of dog products and visit dog-friendly places to review on your site.

One of the best parts of being a full-time pet blogger is the community that we have. There are so many supportive people willing to help you with that tech issue you can’t quite figure out or to recommend content ideas.

I started a membership community for petpreneurs and pupfluencers to keep each other accountable and inspired to keep working towards our dog dreams! It’s called Wear Wag Repeat Society and you should join us! 

Want to learn more about being a dog blogger or influencer? Listen to these podcast episodes:
Episode 88: Pet Blogging For Love and Money with Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality
Episode 70: How to Make Your Dog an Instagram Influencer with Tori Mistick 
Episode 75: The Human Side of Being a Dog Influencer with Megan Mullins of Stumps and Rumps

FAQs About Jobs That Involve Dogs

What is the highest paying job working with dogs? 

Animal-related jobs are ideal for animal lovers and people who find a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from taking care of animals.

These jobs aren’t going to be as lucrative as being a doctor or lawyer, but they’re a whole lot more fun! And many dog jobs for humans them will earn you a decent income. 

But you want to know what pays the big bucks? Without a doubt, a veterinarian is one of the highest-paying animal careers with an average annual salary of $102,039. There are also leadership roles in the pet industry that can pay anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000+ per year. 

What is the average national salary for jobs that involve dogs?

The average pay for these jobs is hard to define. There’s just such a range of jobs, experience levels and qualifications. But let’s look at a few examples that I was able to find data for**. 

An animal control officer can make a national average salary of $58,822 per year while a pet groomer can make an average of $36,202 per year. Pet sitters report a national average salary of $48,439 per year. While the average salary for US-based dog trainers is $83,489 per year.

Dog walkers can earn between $21,035 and $47,693. However, there are some states, such as California and Hawaii that pay way better than the other states.

It is important to note that salaries may vary depending on what state or city you live in. Of course, your compensation is also going to very depending on who you’re working for, your experience, certifications and the services you offer. 

Where can I look for dog job listings?

Big job-seeking websites such as Indeed or LinkedIn offer many listings for jobs that involve dogs. For dog sitting and dog walking jobs you can also take advantage of websites like Rover that connect pet lovers and with pet care providers. 

There’s also a job listing site specifically for the pet industry! It’s called Pack Hire and right on the homepage it says it’s “Where Pet Lovers Find Jobs.” 

Not all jobs will be listed online. A lot of pet industry places are a little behind the times when it comes to technology. So, you can also reach out by email or phone to your local shelters and rescues, veterinaries, pet supplies stores, pet spa or any other local business that work with dogs.

All the Resources You Need to Run Your Pet Industry Business

Ready to pursue one of these awesome working with dogs jobs, or start your own dog-inspired business? Discover over 150 apps, tools and more all in one guide that I put together for entrepreneurial dog lovers! These are personally recommended by me and over 90 dog mompreneurs I’ve interviewed on the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast.

Spend Less Time Working, and More Time with Your Dog

The Wear Wag Repeat Resource Guide has over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by my podcast guests that will help you run an efficient and successful pet industry business!

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Did you love this post? Check out these links:
Book Review: Dog Mama by Serena Faber-Nelson of Pretty Fluffy
How to Get Press Coverage for your Pet Brand
My Top Amazon Buys for my Pet Business

*This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that honestly trust.
**Pet Industry Compensation Data Sources: salary.com and Indeed.com

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Tori Mistick is a blogger, podcaster and certified Canine Enrichment Specialist. You might call her a professional dog mom! Tori has a soft spot for senior dogs and loves the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.

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