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11 Dream jobs for dog lovers

I've been a pet lover my entire life, but made my passion a profession in 2006. I closely follow pet lifestyle trends, industry news and assist companies with product development.

Love dogs like it's your job? Well, make it one!

Here are 11 great careers for passionate and even entrepreneurial-minded dog lovers:

  1. Veterinarians, the most dreamed-about job for pet lovers, earn on average $69,000 per year. From private practice, working within an animal hospital or larger animal health company, this is not only a fulfilling career but a really secure one as well. You'll have to invest time and money into a formal education, but this professional gig is Top Dog. Learn more about the field at the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  2. Groomers have fun styling dogs (and sometimes cats too) all day long, plus can really make a great living. Groomers operate out of their own home, a shop or mobile grooming van, and there can be considerable startup costs involved (for equipment, crates, dryers, tubs and more). Check out the National Dog Groomers Association of America Inc. to learn more about educational and certification programs.
  3. From Tupperware and supplements, to jewelry and purse parties, we all know that party plan marketing is making a big comeback. Well, good news for pet lovers! For the first time ever, you can now earn an extra income (on your own schedule, by the way) by selling really great pet products as a pawTree petPro! From custom pet foods and supplements to an exclusive line of treats, health solutions, food bowls, pet collars, pet beds and toys, there's no shortage of products to sell, sell, sell! Plus, you’ll have a ton of fun in the process. Learn more about becoming a pawTree petPro here.
  4. Become a professional Pet Sitter! Pet sitters usually charge hourly per-visit fees, but increased rates for holidays, late evening or even overnight stays. It would be wise to look into pet sitting insurance and bonding before launching your business, but there are minimal startup costs. Learn more at the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
  5. Dog walkers typically get to spend six to eight hours per day, with one or more dogs. This is great if you want to earn an extra income, plus exercise at the same time! You'll need to be marketing savvy and have a reliable vehicle, but other than that it's a pretty easy gig to set up yourself! DogWalker.com is a good place to get your research started.
  6. Pooper scoopers don't have the most glamorous jobs, but still there's a need and opportunity to earn extra income. Most charge about $45 per month for a once-weekly cleanup. If you think about it, that's not bad money for 30 minutes or less of your time on a monthly basis. With minimal startup costs, a pooper-scooper tool and plastic bags are all you need. The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists offers business resources, including an annual industry conference where you can learn more.
  7. A Pet masseuse helps animals manage chronic pain and aging, and recovery from injury or surgery. It's not just petting a dog full time; you can really provide care for your fur-clients! You'll need formal training for the job, plus several states regulate the industry through their departments of health. That said, you can charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per visit once you're set up. Learn more at the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork.
  8. Become a Professional pet photographer! If you have a good camera and love for animals, it could mean the picture of a new business success! Click away the day with animals while creating lasting portraits of your clients' fur-babies. But be aware, there's going to be competition and your high-quality equipment can get costly.
  9. A Veterinary technician is a great career for those who want to help animals on a daily basis, but not as a veterinarian. Vet techs help diagnose illnesses and injuries, run tests under the supervision of a veterinarian and help provide love and care to patients.
  10. Invent your own dog product! Why not? If you have an idea for a product that solves a common pet problem, or provides pet owners with a way to live a healthier, happy or fun life with pets, there's always room for more widgets to buy at your local pet store! The American Pet Products Association is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of pet product manufacturers and importers. They can help point you in the right direction when you're ready to get started.
  11. Dog trainers tend to be naturally comfortable around dogs, and know how to get them to obey and perform on command. There are various training methods and ways to practice dog training, and formal education is preferred. But, it's a wonderfully fulfilling career and helps both dogs and the families to live happily together as a family. Check out the Association of Professional Dog Trainers to learn more!
Image: PeopleImages/Getty Images
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