12 Jobs That Let You Play With Animals All Day

For animal lovers, ditching a traditional 9-to-5 to work with creatures covered in fur, feathers, scales, or fins can seem like a dream come true.

However, if you want to get paid to work with animals, you should know a few things upfront. Because you’ll be working with living things, you can expect to work nights, weekends, and holidays. You’ll also have to clean up a lot of waste.

Some of these jobs for animal lovers even require you to be there 24/7. But if you’re interested in jobs with animals that can help you earn a living, it’s worth changing your career to land your dream job.

Dog Walker

  • Median hourly wage: $15.41

Dog walkers primarily exercise animals for owners who aren’t physically able or don’t have the time. Other duties include cleaning up dog waste and providing water as needed.

Although there aren’t any minimum educational requirements for this job, you’ll need experience working with dogs and getting them to obey. You’ll also need a certain amount of physical strength to control the dogs that you walk, especially if you walk more than one animal at a time or find yourself wrangling spirited canines. Dog walkers can work as independent contractors or seek out a position with a dog-walking service.

Animal Trainer

  • Median hourly wage: $13.15

Animal trainers teach animals like horses, dogs, and marine mammals how to do certain things or learn new skills. Voice commands and body language are used in training to help with obedience, security, helping people with disabilities, and entertainment.

There are degree and certification programs for training animals, but many animal trainers learn on the job by figuring out how to interact well with animals well.Animal trainers are often self-employed; however, job opportunities exist at zoos, aquariums, military bases, ranches, horse farms, and boarding kennels.

Not all trainers have the animals’ best interests in mind. Learn why one woman tells people not to spend money on animal attractions.

Pet Hotel Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $16.59

Interactive pet care and customer service are the primary duties of a pet hotel worker. There are no minimum education requirements for the job, but you should enjoy talking to pet owners as they check in and check out their pets.

Once the pet is checked in, you’ll help with things like feeding, watering, walking, and playing with the dogs, as well as petting the cats and dogs who are staying there. Other important tasks are making sure each animal has clean, comfortable bedding and giving them any medicine they need.

Wildlife Rehabilitator

  • Median hourly wage: $31.08 (with a bachelor’s degree)

Although you might not be able to play with wild animals, you’ll definitely work closely with them as a wildlife rehabilitator. You will help injured, sick, or orphaned wild animals get better and care for them until they can live on their own again in their natural habitats.

Respect and admiration for wild creatures are a good start, but you’ll also need specialized knowledge and training to succeed in this job. Nutritional requirements, caging protocols, and behavioral considerations for various animals, as well as basic first aid and handling and restraint safety, are all essential knowledge. Various legal permits are also required, which you can study for and qualify for.

Wildlife rehabilitators often get the skills they need by doing things like volunteering, working at an animal rehabilitation center, or taking part in an internship program. Getting a formal education in veterinary medicine or wildlife biology can also be helpful.

Pet Sitter

  • Median hourly wage: $15.67

Pet sitters come to pet owners’ homes while they vacation, travel for business, and more, which means responsibility and integrity are required for the job. Owners might want the sitter to make routine visits each day or temporarily stay in their home full-time while they’re away.

Pet sitters are in charge of many things, like taking pets for walks or playing with them, cleaning up after them, giving them medicine, and making sure they have food and clean water. Pet owners could also ask for extra things to be done, like getting the mail or watering plants.

Pet sitting is popular as a side hustle but could also be a full-time job if you build up a large clientele.

Cat Cafe Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $13.75

Although food and beverage servers are needed in a cat cafe, you’ll work in a separate area if you want to interact with cats. Being a cat lover is a fundamental requirement because you’ll be spending the bulk of your time around a potentially large group of felines.

As part of your job, you will need to give cats food and clean water, give them medicine, write down any health problems, clean their litter boxes, clean up their areas, and handle cats. You must also be able to bend, stoop, and lift up to 50 pounds. Some cat cafes also facilitate adoptions, so you might need customer service skills.

Animal massage therapist

  • Median hourly wage: $29.15

An animal massage therapist needs to know a lot about animals’ bodies and how they work, as well as how to massage them correctly. And in some states, you might need a license or other kind of specialized training to work in this field.

Animal massage therapists make treatment plans for their clients to help relax their muscles, make it easier for them to move, and get the blood flowing. They sometimes work in tandem with the animal’s veterinarian. Animal massage therapists might choose to specialize in massage for certain animal species or work with a variety of animals. They can work as independent contractors or seek out positions at vet clinics, grooming salons, zoos, or pet store chains.


  • Median hourly wage: $11.88

A zookeeper usually needs to have a degree in zoology, animal science, or biology, as well as a lot of experience working with animals in places like aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation centers, vet clinics, or stables. Physical labor, often taking place outdoors, is a basic requirement of the job.

Zookeepers are also tasked with ensuring the health of a wide variety of species in their care. Animal caretakers usually have to feed, water, check on the animals’ health, give them medicine, and clean and take care of their habitats and enclosures.

Zookeepers tell vets about any health problems with animals and may also help with medical or birthing procedures. In some facilities, zookeepers take on the role of educating the public about the animals via special programs or presentations.

Veterinary Assistant

  • Median hourly wage: $13.69

Veterinary assistants help a vet tech or a vet take care of animals while being supervised by one of those two people. Typical duties include feeding, bathing, and exercising animals. Vet assistants also restrain animals during exams or lab procedures, assist with emergency first aid, monitor and care for animals following surgery, and clean and disinfect kennels, exam rooms, and related equipment.

Most of the time, all a vet assistant needs is a high school diploma and some experience working with animals. Both vet clinics and animal hospitals employ people in this field.

Marine Biologist

  • Median hourly wage: $27.49

Students who are interested in becoming marine biologists often get an undergraduate degree in biology, zoology, or animal science before pursuing a master’s or doctorate in marine biology.

Most marine biologists choose a specialty, such as marine ecology or marine mammalogy, or opt to study a particular species. As part of their training, many students participate in an internship at a marine research institute, where they work in a hands-on aquatic environment using equipment such as scuba gear, nets, traps, and sonar.

Marine biologists can work for research institutes, universities, or private companies. Job opportunities are also available with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. Job duties vary but can include collecting and analyzing data, writing grant proposals, publishing papers, delivering lectures, advising students, facilitating lab sessions, or taking on a consulting role.

Animal Shelter Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $15.40

Animal shelters house homeless pets to reunite them with their owners or help them find a new forever home via adoption. The people who work at animal shelters are responsible for taking care of the animals there and helping people who are looking for their lost pet or who want to adopt.

Most of the work is routine, like cleaning kennels, changing litter boxes, feeding and watering animals, taking pets out for walks, and giving them medicine. Animal shelter workers may also have to take in and record information about new animals.

Animal Photographer

  • Median hourly wage: $20.72

People with photography skills and a love of animals can seek out a job as an animal photographer. Animal photographers can specialize in one type of animal or photograph a wide variety of species. For this kind of job, you need photography gear, photo software for your computer, and a professional portfolio. There is no need for a formal degree, but technical classes or an internship can be helpful.

Most animal photographers work on their own, and those who photograph wildlife often travel all over the world to find their subjects.  People who take pictures of pets or other domestic animals usually have a studio or are willing to go to a convenient location for photo shoots.  Many animal photographers have full-time jobs in other fields while they build up their portfolios and clientele to the point where they can make enough money to live on.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top