But what about people who love animals — and specifically dogs? What can they do?
Well, there are plenty of options, way beyond the traditional path of a veterinarian.
Want to know what they are?
Check out our list of the 25 best jobs for dog lovers for inspiration!
25. Kennel worker
Average salary: $28,610
Kennel workers typically have a lot of duties, but their main task is to exercise and care for the dogs in their charge. This includes walking the dogs, making sure they have enough food and water, and cleaning out the kennels on a regular basis. They may also be responsible for bathing and grooming the dogs, as well as providing basic training.
Although the job can be demanding, it is also very rewarding. Kennel workers often form close bonds with the dogs in their care, and they take great satisfaction in knowing that they are helping to improve the animals’ quality of life.
24. Animal welfare officer
Average salary: $29,110
Animal welfare officers work to ensure that animals are safe and well-cared for. They investigate reports of animal abuse and neglect, and they also conduct regular inspections of zoos, shelters and other facilities that house animals.
In addition to their investigative work, animal welfare officers also educate the public about proper animal care, and they often work with law enforcement to prosecute cases of animal cruelty. As a result, they play a vital role in protecting the welfare of animals and, unsurprisingly, they’re often dog lovers themselves.
23. Doggy spa owner
Average salary: $30,000
Pet pampering is a popular pastime for luxury-loving dog owners. If you have the skills to manage a business and offer unique services for our canine friends, you’ll be on to a winner. You could also incorporate boarding kennels and training classes to be the go-to doggy sanctuary.
22. Canine hydrotherapist
Median salary: $31,880
Dog hydrotherapy is a type of water therapy that can be used for a variety of purposes, from helping dogs recover from injuries to providing exercise for those with mobility issues. Hydrotherapy usually takes place in a heated pool, and the water can help to reduce pain and inflammation while also promoting healing. In addition to providing physical benefits, water therapy can also be beneficial for a dog’s mental health, as it can help to alleviate boredom and provide a sense of calm.
Canine hydrotherapists are specifically trained to work with dogs, and they will create a customized treatment plan based on each dog’s individual needs. If you’re interested in this role, you’ll need to be able to swim and be confident dealing with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
21. Dog yoga instructor
Average salary: $32,500
Yes, doggy yoga (otherwise known as Doga) is a real thing! Our furry friends are getting involved in a little light exercise, too — and can you blame them? If you want to spend some time getting in shape and bonding with your pet, you could become an instructor to teach others how to do the same.
20. Therapy dog handler
Average salary: $33,000
Anyone who’s ever felt completely at peace from a poochie cuddle can attest to the fact that sometimes a helping paw is just what the doctor ordered. Therapy dog handlers train, register and look after these animals. If you have a love for helping humans with the power of a tail wag, this might be the path for you.
19. Dog trainer
Average salary: $33,000
Dog trainers must have a calm nature and the patience of a saint, be extremely comfortable around canines, and know how to get them to obey and perform on command. Josh Weiss-Roessler writes: “You may want to start by focusing on a few specific problem behaviors and expand from there as your experience grows. And, of course, to be a trainer, you’ll need to spend a lot of time with dogs to gain that experience.”
18. Dog walker
Average salary: $35,000
If you love dogs as much as I do, this job will literally be a walk in the park. There are two vital interests you need to have: a love for dogs of all sizes and a love of walking. You could start off by walking a few pets at a time before racking up an uncontrollable pack.
17. Dog groomer
Average salary: $35,960
Dog groomers are responsible for the care and appearance of a dog’s coat. They may work in a grooming salon or they may travel to the dog owner’s home. Dog groomers must have a strong love for animals, as they will be spending a lot of time with them. They must also be gentle and patient, as some dogs may be resistant to being groomed.
Their role includes brushing the dog’s fur, trimming their nails and cleaning their ears. They may also give the dog a bath and style their fur in a certain way. To be successful in this job, you must be able to handle dogs of all sizes and temperaments.
16. Animal control officer
Median salary: $39,160
Animal control officers play an important role in keeping our communities safe. They’re the ones who respond to calls about animal cruelty, dangerous dogs and animal bites. They also work with animal shelters and rescue groups to find homes for homeless animals. They also often train school children about animal safety and responsible pet ownership.
As a dog lover, it might be a difficult job to do with the awful situations that you’ll often see, but the work of animal control officers is important for the safety of our four-legged friends.
15. Drug detection dog handler
Average salary: $39,230
We all know that dogs have sensitive noses, but did you know that they can sniff things out from up to 20km away? If you’re interested in stopping drug trafficking and have a love of dogs, then maybe becoming a drug detection dog handler could be right for you.
14. Doggy daycare worker
Average salary: $40,000
To work in a doggy daycare, you need to have more than a passion for pooches. Although a few hours of your day will be spent playing with the animals, the rest of your day will require cleaning after accidents, ensuring kennels meet hygiene standards, feeding your furry friends, and keeping any brawls apart.
13. Dog sitter
Average salary: $41,630
Chilling at home with man’s best friend and getting paid for it seems like a dream come true for us dog lovers. Yet it’s actually a real-life job that pays well, too! In order to look after other people’s dogs when they’re away, you’ll need to establish trust within your clientele and a valuable name for yourself. Start off by looking after your friends’ pooches and rack up your reviews online.
12. Dog photographer
Average salary: $42,000
If you have adoration for furry animals and a passion for photography, why not combine the two and take cute photos? You can do this remotely or be a mobile photographer, traveling to different locations to take high-quality images for people and companies.
11. Dog behaviorist
Average salary: $45,790
Also known as a doggy psychologist, these are the people whose expertise can come in handy when your fluffy pal is behaving out of character. They can help with separation anxiety issues, resource guarding and general training.
10. Rescue worker
Average salary: $46,630
Many rescue workers have dogs as part of their team, and you could be the next Shaggy and Scooby-Doo working together to find stranded, lost and injured people. This career is hard, to say the least, as it can be very physically and mentally demanding, and you may be required to work odd hours of the evening or on shifts.
9. Dog show handler
Average salary: $53,160
Dog lovers who appreciate beauty, poise and dignity may want to follow a career in the dog show world. You could be involved in training, pampering and participating in dog shows, or being on the judging spectrum. You’ll need a good eye for detail and patience to deal with the pooches.
8. K9 police officer
Average salary: $54,000
If you want to fight crime with a loyal partner by your side, a K9 police officer might be the route to take. The handler is responsible for the dog at all times, as the dog lives with them and their family during off hours — which means you get a pet, too. In order to become a K9 police officer, you’ll need to complete a criminal justice degree and further police academy courses.
Average salary: $54,700
There’s a lot more to becoming a breeder than selling purebred dogs to high-paying buyers. You need to have a passion for the specific pedigree and maintain good standards, keeping the pups happy and healthy. You also need to stay away from getting too attached to the pups you breed, as you will need to give them to a good home when they are old enough.
6. Pet product tester
Average salary: $55,680
According to the American Pet Product Association, Americans spent over $136.8 billion on their pets in 2021 alone. This means there’s a large market for pet products, so if you love animals but don’t want to get your hands too dirty, you could end up in a role testing dog products or even inventing one yourself.
5. Dog artist
Average salary: $63,250
If you’re artistically inclined but don’t want to be covered in dog hair on a daily basis, why not paint or draw pictures of them instead? Dog artist Heidi D Hansen says: “I love capturing the individual dog’s personality and mood and motivations as seen in his or her eyes, posture, ears, snout, and overall body idiosyncrasies”.
4. Dog fashion designer
Average salary: $68,000
Pet fashion is just as important as humans. If you’re like me and have a separate wardrobe for your furry friend, why not choose a career in designing clothes and accessories for pets? If this is your dream career, start off by completing a degree in fashion design before setting up your own label.
3. Animal communicator
Average salary: $77,000
If you believe you have a sixth sense and can communicate with pets on a spiritual level, why not become an animal reader? You could be raking in the big bucks every hour if you choose to change careers and get a little more spiritual, like ex-lawyer Nikki Vasconez. You could communicate with living animals to understand them on a more personal level, too.
Average salary: $101,450
When people think about becoming a veterinarian, they think they’ll spend all of their time treating sick animals. And while that’s definitely a part of what vets do, it’s not the whole story.
Vets also work to prevent illness by vaccinating animals against diseases, and teach pet owners about how to keep their furry friends healthy. They also provide care for healthy animals, such as performing routine checkups and spaying or neutering pets. In addition, vets often serve as advocates for animal welfare, working to ensure that all creatures receive the best possible care. In short, vets play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our animal companions.
1. Animal rights lawyer
Average salary: $119,990
It would be great if dogs could speak out for themselves and fight back against abuse, but seeing as they can’t, this is where animal rights lawyers step in. They fight against injustices and give dogs a voice, while sticking criminals behind bars.
Working with dogs can be delightful. “It enables you to become part of a happy pack,” says dog celebrity trainer Cesar Millan. “And having your passion for animals as the focus of your life brings enormous rewards. It’s a job that’s going to satisfy the intimate space. If your happiness has no price, go for it. Do whatever it takes.”
To sum up, here are the five highest-paying jobs for dog lovers:
Do any of these dog-loving careers take your fancy? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published on January 19, 2018. Updated by Hayley Ramsey.