Animal shelter volunteer pets a dog adoptee

Work with pets? You bet!

Are you passionate about pets? So are we! I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world because we get to work with them every day. If your dream job is to work with them, too, there’s probably never been a better time to make that career shift. In 2015 the pet industry was worth over $60B, and it’s on track to be over $92B by 2019.

Here are a few good ways to get your paws wet before taking that leap:

Educate yourself. With the growing popularity of online education, it’s easier than ever to get a good basic foundation in fields as diverse as canine behavior, business administration and equine husbandry. Check out resources like FetchFind, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Coursera.

Become a volunteer. Volunteering at a local shelter or animal advocacy group is probably the single best way to prepare yourself for a career working with animals. You’ll receive hands on experience and see if you really enjoy the work. At large shelters, you can volunteer in areas such as dog and cat care, veterinary clinic, marketing, fostering and public relations. Advocacy groups often need researchers, marketers and lawyers, so if you already have those skills you can gain valuable industry-specific experience.

Apply for an internship. If you want to take a more formal approach to learning about the pet industry from the ground up, consider applying for an internship. Many established companies, as well as small startups, offer both paid and unpaid internships in areas from dog training to social media. One of the great things about internships is that if you like the company, you’ve already got an “in” for a full-time position. At the very least, you will have gained a portfolio of skills, contacts and references that can help you later on. 


Jaime Migdal is the founder and CEO of Fetchfind, a talent recruitment and services organization dedicated to the pet industry.

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