There’s no argument the UK is a nation of dog lovers, so much so that a study conducted in by American Express in 2016 found that we spent an estimated £10.6bn on our four legged friends.
Growing up my our family always owned dogs, so I can fully understand why we are so besotted.
Unfortunately my wife didn’t have the same experience of dogs when she was growing up and as a result will do her very best to avoid them, no matter what their size. In fact I think she is probably more terrified of the smaller dogs than she is of the bigger ones.
As much as I’d love to have a dog, my wife’s fear and our current circumstances mean that we can’t commit the time and attention that I believe that all dogs deserve. I don’t imagine her being impressed with having to clean up its mess either.
I’ll openly admit it, I might just be one of those annoying pet owners that can’t quite understand why anyone wouldn’t want a dog or any other animal in their life, especially if they have never had a negative experience. They can pick you up when you are feeling down and they provide companionship when you most need it and all that they ask is that you treat them with love and exercise and feed them daily.
If like me you are unable to own a dog, there some ways that you can get your doggy fix and at the same time maybe earn a bit of cash on the side.
Be cautious of the fact that if you are going to make an extra income from working with other people’s dogs the good old tax man is going to want to take his cut, so unfortunately you are going to have to let him know what you’re up to.
You are going to need to show that you are reliable and are able to look after another persons pet to, so a DBS check might be a necessity, together with some doggy/pet first aid training. If you think that this is a waste of time, think about it. Would you leave your child with someone who is untrained and unable to cope in difficult situations? I would hope the answer is no. Dogs for many are an extended part of their family, I know they certainly were in our family, and because of this, they quite rightly expect them to be cared for in a professional way by someone who is more than capable.
Dog walkers offer an invaluable service to dog owners that for one reason or another are unable to take their dogs out for their much-needed walk, whether that be because of work or ill-health. You too will benefit from the fact that you can do away with that expensive gym membership you probably don’t use anyway.
Before providing a dog walking service you are going to have to decide whether you want to offer a one to one service or take a number of dogs out at a time. Some owners, depending on their pets temperament will have a preference whether their dog is walked alone or in a group.
Being a dog walker comes with a lot of responsibility, so while it is fun you must also consider your overriding responsibilities not only to the dog or dogs that you are walking but of those around you.
Dogs are sociable animals and leaving them alone for long periods of time is probably going to make them unhappy and could lead to long-term behavioural problems.
In offering a pet sitting service you will be taking care of the dog in its own home. Pet sitting is great for those looking for an extra income but are unable to look after pets in their own home.
Not as long-term as dog boarding, dog sitting is a great alternative if you only want to offer short-term care, during work hours or a couple of hours on a weekend.
Unlike pet sitting, when you offer a boarding service you are essentially inviting the pet into your own home, often for an extended period of time.
Some owners prefer boarding over putting their dogs in kennels as they believe their pet is getting the care that they perceive they might not receive in Kennels whilst at the same time receiving the benefit of being in a comfortable family home.
Pet taxi service
There are a number of reasons why someone might want to use the services of a pet taxi service, whether it be a visit to the vets, grooming service or boarding.
Initial outlay isn’t going to be cheap as you will probably need to invest in a van, van adaptations (transportation crates), signage and insurance. not to mention the marketing and networking that you have to do once you have all the equipment needed.
Depending on the service that you offer you might be able to charge as much as £20, though this would obviously be subject to competition in your local area and the services that you want to offer.
It you’re ready to invest in yourself (City & Guilds qualifications) then a dog grooming business might be right up your street.
Big dogs, little dogs and anything in between all need to be cared for and pampered. The problem is some for pet owners doing this themselves can be somewhat of a war between man and beast with the beast always coming out on top.
Like any business you are going to have to carry out some careful market research into whether there is a market for it in your area and then the other considerations such as whether you are going to be mobile or static and the implications of this choice such as the investment needed.
If you are static will you be carrying out the business from home (in which case you might have to tell your mortgage and insurance company) or from a mobile van and again these costs are not going to be cheap.
I’m not talking about simply taking a picture with your smart phone.
If you’re at all handy with a camera and know your way around photo editing software you could try your hand at pet photography.
People love their pets, that’s why there are thousands of YouTube videos of pets doing pretty mundane things and I can bet that you have never met a pet owner that thinks that their pooch or other pet is ugly, even if it’s obvious that it has a face that only a mum could love
There are going to be those that want to try to see whether they can make their pet into the next Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat (apparently amassed a fortune of £64 million) or they might just want a beautiful picture as a keep seek.
So what next?
Well I hope that these ideas have given you a few ideas how to turn your passion for dogs or any other pet into something that can make you a little extra cash, but it’s not all about the money I know so below are a few ways that you can work with dogs that are not your own.
What about if you just want to work with dogs?
If you want to get your dog fix without the necessary evils of having to tell the tax man or your are not interested in making any money, you might also consider becoming a Volunteer Canine Assistant, with the Dogs Trust, a Guide Dogs Volunteer or sign up to websites where you can actually borrow a dog