Animal Care Jobs
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.