Animal care workers are involved in the welfare, handling and supervision of a range of small animals, and the associated administrative duties. They provide food, water and exercise, and make sure the animals’ environments are hygienic and safe. They also contribute to the animals' well being and health by grooming and applying treatments, and sometimes help to move and restrain them.
They may work in a variety of settings, including kennels, catteries, rescue centres, sanctuaries, pet shops and open farms. In many cases, animal care workers deal with customers and callers regularly, developing business relationships with them and acting as receptionists. In most roles, they gather, provide and record information and may liaise with veterinary staff.
Animal care workers also work as animal welfare assistants at Blue Cross adoption centres, animal collection officers for the RSPCA, kennel assistants at quarantine centres and animal care auxiliaries at animal hospitals.
Animal care workers usually work 40 hours a week, generally starting early in the morning. Shifts can be variable, and weekend and night work is common. Part-time work may be available.
Cleaning kennels and other animal accommodation can involve a lot of bending and standing in dirty conditions. Animal care workers may have to work outdoors in all weathers.
A driving licence will be useful for some jobs.
To be an animal care worker you should:
Experienced animal care workers may be able to progress to centre management. There are also opportunities for self-employment. Some animal care workers move into related animal care careers. They may become dog trainers, breeders or groomers; RSPCA or SSPCA inspectors; or veterinary nurses.
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