Kennel Assistant: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Kennel assistants, also known as kennel attendants, are entry-level workers who provide basic animal care in environments where animals are caged. A love of animals and the ability to anticipate their needs is necessary for this job. Hours can be irregular and the position can be emotionally and physically draining.
Kennel Assistant Job Description
Kennel assistants work in animal boarding houses and veterinary clinics, among other establishments. They most often work with dogs and cats, but may also occasionally find themselves in contact with other domestic animals. They are in charge of the general upkeep of animals in their care and must provide individualized attention to them so they stay healthy and happy.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted jobs for nonfarm animal caretakers to increase at a rate of 28%, which is faster than the average of all occupations, during the years 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). Part of the reason for the expected growth is the high level of turnover for these jobs and a growing pet population. In 2012, the BLS noted an average hourly wage of $10.75 for nonfarm animal caretakers, or $22,370 per year, on average.
Duties of a Kennel Assistant
In addition to caring for dogs and cats, kennel assistants may also find themselves in contact with other pets, such as birds and rodents. General duties include keeping cages clean and sanitized; walking, feeding and picking up after the animals; and reporting on the animal's condition to its owner, a veterinarian or rescue workers. Many kennel assistants are put in charge of the bathing, nail trimming and grooming of animals as well. Kennel assistants may also be expected to help with other duties, such as selling pet supplies.
Requirements to Become a Kennel Assistant
There are no formal education requirements to become a kennel assistant, though a high school diploma may be requested. Employers mostly prefer to hire those with prior experience with animals, according to BLS. Kennel assistants must also be patient and possess problem-solving skills. Assistants who work in veterinary clinics often deal with sick or injured animals, so these workers must be able to carefully follow instructions. Because the demands of each employer differ, most assistants are trained on the job within their first few weeks of employment.
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