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12 Jobs With Dogs for a Canine-Centric Career (With Info Chart)

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on July 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

a smiling male vet with dog at the clinic

12 Jobs With Dogs for a Canine-Centric Career (With Info Chart)

If you are someone who loves dogs, you might have wondered whether there are careers that can marry this love with a decent paycheck. The answer to that question is yes. There are plenty of dog lover jobs out there to choose from. These 12 careers involving dogs cover a wide range of industries, from veterinary medicine to science and the arts. Whether you want to work hands-on with dogs every day or want to be in a field that helps and supports dogs, there are several different careers with dogs to consider.

Methodology

Each career listed here includes a few metrics. These metrics have been sourced from several public databases, including information provided by ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The metrics include the averages, typically comprising the median 50% of typical workers. They do not include outliers.

The number of jobs metric includes the number of known jobs currently in the United States. The metric does not include the number of current job openings. Most dog-related fields are projected to grow at steady or above-average rates in the near future due to the persistent popularity of pets, especially dogs, in the United States. This projected growth makes most dog-related careers a good option to consider. The industry as a whole is not expected to contract in the near future, barring any big shake-ups in the current trends.

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The 12 Jobs With Dogs for a Canine-Centric Career

1. Veterinarian

young veterinarian woman examining teeth and mouth of cute lovely pomeranian dog at veterinary clinic
Image Credit: Josep Suria, Shutterstock
Industry: Veterinary Medicine
Salary Range: $100,000–$175,000
Education Level: Doctorate
Experience: Required
Number of Jobs: 126,000

One of the best jobs for dog lovers is being a veterinarian. But becoming a veterinarian can be challenging. Not only do you need to get a four-year degree in a science field, but you also need to apply to a vet college and get accepted. After that, there are another four years of intensive schooling and practical work before you can take your test to gain your license. The process can take up to eight years or more to complete, putting it on par with medical school in terms of length and difficulty.

The journey is long, but the payoff can be huge. Vets are in super high demand, and veterinarians work with dogs every single day. Veterinarians also have some of the highest potential salaries of any career that revolves around dogs. Do note that some vet schools are very expensive, and hefty student loans are often a part of the deal for completing your schooling.


2. Vet Tech / Vet Assistant

Young vet assistant stands at workplace in animal clinic
Image Credit: Kostiantyn Voitenko, Shutterstock
Industry: Veterinary Medicine
Salary Range: $38,000–$48,000
Education Level: AA / Certificate Program
Experience: Not required (Tech); Required (VA)
Number of Jobs: 110,000

If becoming a veterinarian is not in the cards for you, you can still work in a vet’s office as a veterinary technician (vet tech) or a veterinary assistant (VA). Vet techs are typically entry level positions that require little experience. You can gain training on the job.

VAs are vet techs that have a few more skills. Most states require VAs to get a certificate or AA degree in their field in order to gain the veterinary assistant certification. These programs can be completed in a reasonable amount of time and are not too expensive. Being a VA gives you a bit more leeway when it comes to seeing and treating pets and it also comes with a slight bump in pay. Being a vet tech or VA is a great way to work in a vet office, spend time with dogs of all kinds, and gain valuable experience in a lucrative field.


3. Veterinary Scientist

vet analyzing data in a microscope
Image Credit: Kzenon, Shutterstock
Industry: Veterinary
Salary Range: $42,000–$95,000
Education Level: Doctorate
Experience: Required
Number of Jobs: 6,100

Veterinary scientists are similar to veterinarians except that they do research behind the scenes rather than treat pets up front. (In fact, many veterinary scientists have a doctorate in veterinary medicine.) Veterinary scientists work in a number of different jobs, including nutrition, breeding, management, and behavior. Every piece of dog kibble that your dog has ingested was formulated and designed by a team of veterinary scientists working toward the health of dogs everywhere.

Veterinary science jobs typically require a doctorate, either a PhD or a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. There are university jobs that focus on research, and there are also corporate jobs with companies that design and produce dog products such as medications, food, and more. Salaries can vary quite a bit, with research jobs typically coming in on the low end and corporate jobs coming in a bit higher.


4. Dog Groomer

groomer trimming dog's fur
Image Credit: Lucky Business, Shutterstock
Industry: Pet Wellness
Salary Range: $37,000–$55,000
Education Level: Certificate (optional)
Experience: Required
Number of Jobs: 300,000

Dog groomers deal with dogs every day, making it a fantastic job for dog lovers. Dog groomers spend their days making dogs look their best. Requirements for dog groomers can vary by area, so be sure to look at what the requirements are in your region. There are no firm requirements for education, but it is a good idea to get a certificate from a school so that you get the experience and connections you need to get started.

Dog groomers also have opportunities to get tips from their clients. You can work at an established dog grooming facility, you can freelance, or you can start your own business. Getting started in dog grooming requires experience or some sort of training, but there is not one dedicated path to take.


5. Dog Trainer

woman training german shepherd dog
Image Credit: marcin jucha, Shutterstock
Industry: Pet Wellness
Salary Range: $30,000–$42,000
Education Level: Certificate
Experience: Required
Number of Jobs: 76,000

Dog training is an important part of new dog ownership. Many people seek out dog trainers for all sorts of behavioral issues. With the number of dogs in the United States higher than ever, there is a strong demand for dog trainers. Dog training requires some knowledge and experience in order to get started, and some areas require you to be licensed to practice.

One thing to be aware of as a dog trainer is that you will mostly be dealing with puppies or ill-behaved dogs. This can be a lot to handle for some people. Many people make a good living with dog training, but getting started can be somewhat of a challenge. You might want to seek out local trainers to see if anyone is looking to take on an apprentice with hopes of growing their skills and moving up in the field.


6. Dog Boarder

handler and dogs at a pet boarding facility
Image Credit: Jayme Burrows, Shutterstock
Industry: Pet Wellness
Salary Range: $30,000–$45,000
Education Level: None
Experience: Not required
Number of Jobs: 300,000

Every town typically has a dog boarding facility in it. These pet hotels are places where dogs go when their owners are out of town. You can find a number of careers at a dog boarding facility. There are basic daily workers who take care of the dogs (including playing with them), as well as managers and owners. Owning a pet hotel can be very lucrative if you are able to obtain the permits and a great location.

Even if you don’t want to open your own dog boarding facility, working at one can still be a great way to spend time with dogs of all stripes. Entry level positions typically do not require much experience or education to get started, and if you find a good business, you can strive to move up the ladder from within.


7. Animal Shelter Staff

young woman and worker at a dog shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock
Industry: Public Health
Salary Range: $30,000–$60,000
Education Level: AA – Bachelor’s
Experience: Required
Number of Jobs: 75,000

Animal shelters are a vital part of modern life in the United States. Animal shelters deal with millions of dogs each and every year. Many of these dogs need treatment and a good home. Working for an animal shelter will put you in close proximity to dogs of all types day in and day out. There are numerous jobs you can do at an animal shelter, from a basic kennel cleaner to a director or a volunteer coordinator.

Animal shelters form the front line of animal health, public health, and neighborhood safety. Working there provides benefits to dogs and the community. Entry level positions do not include many requirements, but higher positions will need certification and college education to obtain. Working at an animal shelter is also a great way to gain experience for other dog-centric careers including vet assistants and to help get into vet school.


8. Professional Dog Handler

military dog
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
Industry: Military / Police
Salary Range: $25,000–$40,000
Education Level: Bachelor’s
Experience: Required
Number of Jobs: 26,000

There are a number of professional dog handlers in the United States. These handlers work in a variety of fields, from police work to search and rescue to airport security. Government administrations, like the Food and Drug Administration and Border Control, also use dogs on a regular basis. Becoming a professional dog handler will give you a professional companion to work with on a daily basis. Most handlers even live with their working dog.

Dog handling requires education and extensive training. Many dog handlers report high satisfaction with their jobs, and many professional dogs have become members of the handler’s family over time. The best way to become a dog handler is to look for local programs to apply to and to choose a field that you want to work in. For example, you might love dogs, but you might not want to become a police officer in order to become a dog handler.


9. Pet Photographer

pet photographer taking photos of two cute dogs
Image Credit: Ruslan Shugushev, Shutterstock
Industry: Arts
Salary Range: $41,000–$62,000
Education Level: None
Experience: Not required (recommended)
Number of Jobs: 3,000

If you think that dogs are adorable and have an eye for photography, you might want to consider becoming a pet photographer. Pet photographers specialize in taking pet portraits and family photos that include dogs. Photography does not require any education or experience (though both are recommended for the best results.) All you need is a professional-grade camera and some volunteers to start building a portfolio.

In urban areas, pet photographers can build a good base of clientele. People in rural areas or sparsely populated areas will have a hard time securing a sustainable number of clients. At first, it might be a good idea to do photography more broadly and then hone in on pets and finally dogs if you can get enough clients to do so. Pet photographers are always around people who love their animals and have ample opportunity to get up close and personal with canine companions.


10. Dog Blogger

woman with her dog working on laptop
Image Credit: Kampus Production, Pexels
Industry: Writing
Salary Range: $40,000–$60,000
Education Level: None
Experience: Experience with dogs required
Number of Jobs: 31,000,000

If you love dogs or have a lot of experience with dogs, you should consider starting a blog. You can start your own blog or write for an established dog blog. Dog blogging does not require any education, but it does require hands on experience with dogs to write compelling content. Good writing skills are also required to maintain a readable blog.

There are millions of bloggers in the United States, and most of them are part time or hobbyists. However, if you dedicate yourself to being a full-time professional blogger, you can make a living wage. Getting a blog established and off the ground can take months, if not years, so do not expect instant success. A good way to start is to set up a blog part time or on the side and then slowly work on building it into a full-time venture.


11. Pet Retail

processing payment at a pet shop
Image Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV, Shutterstock
Industry: Retail
Salary Range: $34,000–$70,000
Education Level: None
Experience: Not required
Number of Jobs: 113,000

There are a number of careers in pet retail that can put you in close contact with dogs on a regular basis. There are over 100,000 pet retail jobs in the United States. Pet retail can include owning your own pet store, managing a pet store, or simply working in a pet retail location. Ownership and management have higher potential salaries than hourly workers.

If you want to actually see dogs and work with dogs, you will want to work in a brick-and-mortar pet store rather than working for an online retailer. The number of online pet retail jobs is growing, but online work does not put you in physical proximity to dogs. However, working in online pet retail can help dogs and their owners get the supplies and medications they need to maintain healthy pets.


12. Dog Breeder

dog breeder with puppies outside
Image Credit: Iuliia Bondarenko, Shutterstock
Industry: Retail
Salary Range: $30,000–$50,000
Education Level: None
Experience: Not required (recommended)
Number of Jobs: 2,000

The explosion in popularity of dogs like the French Bulldog has highlighted the popularity of purebred dogs in modern American culture. Purebred dogs must be bred by breeders in order to get into the hands of the public. People looking for careers that involve dogs should consider dog breeding. Some dogs can sell for $4,000 or more as puppies. Dog breeders do not require any education or experience, but they must be licensed in certain states and adhere to health and safety guidelines.

Many breeders can breed dogs from the comfort of their own homes. Dog breeders often keep one or two breeding females and then stud out the males. They also take care of the puppies and the mothers when the dogs are young. Dog breeding is controversial in some circles, and not everyone in the dog industry supports dog breeding or dog breeders, which is something to keep in mind when considering this career.

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Conclusion

These are 12 excellent dog lover jobs on this list. Each career is a little different, and there is something for everyone. Whether you are an artistic type or a hands-on worker, or if you are someone who loves schooling, science, and research, there are a number of different jobs for those with an affinity for dogs. If you are looking for a career change or are looking to choose a job for your future, the best thing to do is look up the requirements, make a plan, and then start working toward your goal. Some careers take years to manifest, but the results can be extremely fulfilling.


Featured Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

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