Animal Care Jobs

94c2347093

Can you speak 'dog'? Is your home ever mistaken for a branch of the RSPCA? You could get paid for working with animals. Here’s how.

What’s Involved

  • Whether an animal care-taker or trainer, health and safety are the first principles of animal care. Most animal care jobs involve providing food, water, exercise and hygiene.
  • Also in the pet job description is companionship. Providing animals with a social environment is not only enjoyable for them, but allows you to detect changes in animal behaviour.
  • Places you could get jobs with animals, especially as a caregiver are: boarding kennels, animal shelters, veterinary hospitals and clinics, stables, aquariums and zoos.
  • You could be a pet-sitter, dog-sitter, or work with animals at farms.

Working conditions

 

  • Be prepared for work that may be occasionally unpleasant and physically draining. For example, every zoo-keeper has had to, at one point, clean up after an elephant.
  • The dangers of working with animals can be minimised with correct procedures, but the risk of bites and scratches must be factored in when in close contact with animals.
  • Many animal jobs involve outdoor work and the weather that comes with it.
  • Irregular hours can be a feature of vet work, because animals – like people – must be fed every day, including weekends and holiday shifts. Night shifts are not impossible.
  • Emotional stress is not unusual in the animal care industry. Encountering abused, neglected or unwanted animals is distressing, even for professional animal care workers.


Get Qualified 

  • As in most professions, employers prefer people with experience in the field. It helps to gain some basic skills by starting as a volunteer or intern, and the on-the-job training is a bonus.
  • Animal caretakers in shelters aren’t always required to have specialised training. Formal training through apprenticeship programs is increasingly available.
  • Experience and training can lead to exciting careers in animal welfare, from adoption co-ordinators, to emergency workers and animal shelter managers.