Working as a Dog Food Tester

By Eric Hammer

If you've looked at Fido's canned dog food and wondered if it tastes good or not, then you might just be interested in becoming a dog food tester. Yes, you read that right. Amongst weird jobs, dog food testers are definitely up there right along with breath odor evaluators and dice inspectors.

Very few people work in this profession (after all, how many people really are willing to make a career out of tasting dog food all day) and most are also nutritionists who work not just on taste tests but also on making sure the stuff is actually healthy for dogs to eat (according to one web site we looked at for this article, the leading cause of animal death in the United States today is cancer due to poor quality dog food).

Generally, the taste testing part of the job is actually quite minimal and most of your time will be spent writing reports on the nutritional value of foods that a research department has developed. You will work with the major pet food companies such as Alpo and Purina in order to learn about this business.

How Much Can You Make?

While we found no salary data specifically for dog food testers, pet nutritionists typically earn between $12-$15 per hour so it's nothing to bark over and you shouldn't be running to fetch the paper in exchange for this kind of job.

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While you don't need to be a veterinarian in order to work as a dog food tester, it does help quite a little bit to know a lot about animal health. This way, you can better evaluate how dog food will taste to the audience that's actually meant to be eating it (i.e the dogs).

Remember that most Americans do love their pets and there is nothing that most people won't do for them so you can potentially make a business out of recommending and selling assorted dog foods if you get turned down by Purina for the job of dog food tester.

Qualifications / Requirements

You'll obviously need well developed taste buds and a strong stomach, but more importantly, you should have a college degree in nutrition and you should know something especially about pet nutrition.

First Steps

Contact veterinary schools and ask if they offer a certification program in pet nutrition. Once you know everything there is to know about it, contact the pet food companies and ask if they employ a dog food tester. If the person you initially speak to doesn't know or says no, ask to speak to the research and development department and they will be able to give you more guidance.


Check out these helpful resources to find out more about becoming a dog food tester:

Career Search: Dog Food Tester - This is an overview of the job of a dog food tester, though as previously noted, in most cases this is part of a larger job of being a pet nutritionist rather than being only a dog food tester.

Schools in the USA: Animal Nutritionist - This is a description of what's involved in becoming an animal nutritionist (which is really what a dog food tester is).

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