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Interesting animal jobs – business ideas for the self-employed

3-minute read

Professional photographer taking photos of Pomeranian spitz dog at home
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

2 November 2022

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A trend for side hustles and pet ownership may make working with animals a natural choice for your new business venture. From pet pampering and training to unique treats, accessories, and toys, the opportunities to start an animal-related business are endless.

It’s undeniable that the UK is a nation of animal lovers. Latest research from the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA) estimates 59 per cent of households have pets, so it has potential to be a lucrative market to explore.

Here we’ll look at the best ideas for self-employed jobs working with animals, whether you’re interested in setting up a side hustle or have a dream of running your own business full time.

  • 10 of the best small business ideas

Getting started – freelance jobs working with animals

Before starting any business you need to consider whether it’s going to be profitable. You should look at both consumer demand and competitors to help you define your niche.

Think about the costs involved in getting your business up and running. Do you need to buy stock and materials? Or are your only costs related to marketing and insurance? What about any extra training?

With a solid business plan and budget, you’ll be ready to start your journey as a freelancer and winning clients.

Lastly, don’t forget to register as self-employed – this is important so you pay the right tax.

So, what kind of jobs are there working with animals?

Being a vet isn’t your only option for working with animals. Here we explore some jobs with animals that work well on a self-employed basis.

Jobs with dogs

One third of UK households have dogs, according to estimates from the PFMA’s 2021 report. And they estimate there’s around 12 million dogs across the country.

This means there’s a whole host of freelance services these dog owners are looking for, including:

There’s also a high-end market for dog spas and luxury dog hotels, so if you’ve got the investment to start a bigger business then this could be worth exploring.

As a small business insurer, Simply Business comes across many unique and creative businesses. Dog swimming pools, dog rehab vans, and eco-friendly products and food for dogs are just some of the small businesses that applied for our annual Business Boost grant competition in 2022.

Pet toys and accessories

Novelty dog toys or cute pet accessories can make a fantastic side hustle project. You could design and create something and sell through your own online shop, Instagram, or look into dropshipping.

Dog raincoats and jumpers can be a practical pooch accessory. However, in the lead up to Halloween, the RSPC warned against dressing pets up in costumes as they can find it stressful. So, if you’re going down the fashion route, make sure you’re creating clothing that’s in the animal’s best interest.

Eco-friendly pet products

Other trends include eco-friendly dog shampoos and products to tap into changing demands. Research from Deloitte shows consumers are increasingly looking for a sustainable lifestyle, and 40 per cent are choosing brands that have environmentally sustainable practices or values.

With this in mind, could you offer a plastic-free alternative to traditional pet products? How about looking into how sustainable your manufacturing process is, and the materials you use? Make sure to avoid ‘greenwashing’ though, and be open and honest about how you run your business.

Pet blogger or copywriter

While you wouldn’t be working directly with pets, writing about animals is a creative option for entrepreneurs interested in the industry.

For example, animal charity jobs could involve freelance copywriting to deliver content for their website, blog, or social media. You’ll probably want to have a broad portfolio to start with, but as you become more experienced you’ll be able to pick and choose your clients based on your interests and passions.

Man writing at laptop with a grey cat
Viacheslav Yakobchuk/

Pet photographer

Arguably one of the hardest jobs working with animals is the pet photographer. You’ll need to be able to style a creative photoshoot all while keeping cats, dogs, and even horses happy and comfortable.

For example, you could specialise in family portraits or produce beautiful images for animal brands and charities. You could even consider offering an Airbnb Experience that gives travellers the chance to get a photoshoot with their pets while on holiday in a new city.

Our guide to becoming a freelance photographer will help you get started.

Don’t forget business insurance

Whatever business you decide to start, it’s important to make sure you’re protected with the right insurance.

Business insurance covers things like:

If you’re specialising in a pet business, Simply Business offers tailored pet business insurance too.

Have you thought about starting a business related to animals? Let us know your experience in the comments.

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Photographer: New Africa/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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