7 Business Ideas for Animal Lovers Credit: Terriers image via Shutterstock

Were you one of those kids who always dreamed of being a veterinarian when you grew up because you loved animals? If you never made it to vet school, you can still make a living working with your favorite four-legged friends. Here are 7 great business ideas for animal and pet lovers that you can start.

Pet boarding/daycare

If you've got a big backyard and some extra space in your house, you could turn your home into a pet hotel. Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you're available to watch their pets while the owners go on a vacation or weekend trip. People often feel more comfortable leaving their pets in the care of an individual rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn't be too difficult. Some states require a pet care certification to board animals in your home, so be sure to check and comply with your local ordinances before officially opening for business. Being certified can also put pet owners' minds at ease about leaving their animals in your care. Visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters for more information on turning pet sitting into a career.

Dog trainer

Anyone with a love of dogs and a whole lot of patience can work toward becoming a dog trainer. There are currently no official state requirements to work as a trainer, so a basic education can start with reading books on the subject and getting some hands-on practice at local obedience classes with professionals. According to the Animal Humane Society, the job of most professional trainers to teach dog owners how to train their pets, so great people skills are a must. For more information on becoming a trainer and acquiring the necessary skills to work as a professional, visit the Assocation of Pet Dog Trainers or the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors websites. [Related story: A Dog Trainer's Secret to Success]

Pet supply retailer

Know of some great pet products that aren't carried by your local pet supply store? Open up your own retail shop and sell high-quality items made by small-scale manufacturers. Many small business owners would be thrilled to offer you a wholesale discount for carrying their products, and your customers would feel good about supporting local businesses.

Dog-walking

In larger cities with a lot of pet owners in apartment buildings, dog-walking is a great part-time business opportunity. City dwellers don't have yards for their dogs to play in, and if they work long and/or irregular hours, they may not always have time to take Fido for his daily walk. Put up flyers in your building and see if any of your neighbors would be willing to entrust this task to you for a small fee. It's important to educate yourself on not only the local dog walking market but also proper animal care and handling. Dogtec offers a four-day training workshop to become a certified professional dog walker.

Grooming

This business idea requires a working knowledge of animal health and anatomy as well as training (a good place to start is experience with bathing and grooming your own pet). But once you've established a name for yourself, local pet owners will be lining up to let you groom their furry friends. Grooming services at chain stores are often just one of many aspects of their business, so your startup could have the advantage of fully-focused professional services and personalized attention. Offer a referral discount to encourage word-of-mouth advertising from your clients. For more information on becoming a professional pet groomer, visit petMD.

Dog treats

Recipes for homemade dog biscuits are fairly abundant on the Internet. They don't require a lot of time or effort to make, and the ingredients for many of them are probably already in your kitchen. Experiment with different recipes and let your dog be the official taste tester. Once you've found a winner or two, you can bake them in bulk, package them and sell them online. List the ingredients on your website and packaging so pet owners can feel confident that your product is right for their dogs.

Handmade pet accessories

Pets often become like children to their owners, and many individuals are perfectly willing to invest in custom-made collars, food bowls, clothing and other accessories. Etsy and other e-commerce platforms are a perfect avenue to sell handmade items like these, so with some basic materials and a little time to spend on crafting, you could get this business up and running within a day or two.

Disclaimer: BusinessNewsDaily's business ideas articles are intended to provide entrepreneurial inspiration, and are not a substitute for professional education. If you are interested in pursuing one of the ideas listed above, we urge you to conduct further research on the necessary skills and credentials to do so.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily. Updated on Jan. 6, 2014.