kennel worker

How to become a kennel worker

What does a kennel worker do?

Kennel workers care for dogs and cats in kennels or catteries.

They feed and groom the animals, exercise dogs, keep the premises clean and care for animals who become ill or distressed.

Kennel workers may be employed in boarding kennels, which provide care for animals whilst their owners are away for short periods, or by organisations such as the RSPCA, which look after stray, abandoned or mistreated animals.

Some administrative work may be involved, including keeping records, taking bookings and handling payments.

Some kennels may specialise in racing, breeding, hunt, quarantine or training. You'll also need to be comfortable around and at handling animals for this line of work. 

What's the working environment like for a kennel worker?

Kennel workers work about 40 hours a week, usually starting early in the morning. Hours are variable, and weekend and night work is common. Part-time work may be available.

Kennel work can be physically demanding, and involve working in noisy, dirty or smelly conditions. Kennel workers have to work outdoors in all weathers conditions. 

What does it take to become a kennel worker?

To be a kennel worker you should be:

  • fit and healthy
  • confident about handling animals, and able to calm them down
  • able to take initiative or work in a team
  • observant and alert to changes in animals' behaviour
  • able to take responsibility.

Computer skills are useful, in order to access animals’ records.


Kennel worker career opportunities

There are only about 3,500 people working in kennels across the UK, and competition for vacancies is often high. In quarantine kennels the demand for workers has decreased significantly now that fewer dogs have to spend time in quarantine. Interestingly, the percentage split between men and women working in kennels is 13% and 87% respectively. 

It is possible to become a kennel manager in a larger organisation. There are also possibilities for self-employment. Some kennel workers use their experience to move into other animal careers, such as dog trainer, RSPCA or SSPCA inspector or veterinary nurse.

Further information

If you would like to learn more about becoming a kennel worker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Lantra House
Stoneleigh Park
Nr Coventry
Tel: 0845 707 8007

Lantra career advice sites:

Wilberforce Way
West Sussex
RH13 9RS

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Head Office
Burghfield Common
Tel: 0118 983 5555

Dogs Trust
17 Wakely Street
Tel: 020 7837 0006

Volunteering England

Volunteer Scotland

Animal Care College
Ascot House
High Street
Tel: 0870 730 8433

College of Animal Welfare
London Road
PE29 2LJ
Tel: 0870 062 1122






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