A career in animal care is far from the routine and mundane. Animal care is hard work. It can be physically and emotionally demanding. Animal lovers, however, could derive job satisfaction from a career in animal care. Although the present day earnings are relatively low in animal care careers, demand for animal care and service workers is steadily on the increase.
Animal care career
Animal care workers are very often trained on the job. Training programs are available for specific types of animal care takers such as groomers. Formal training is not necessary for entry level positions. Animal trainers possess high school diploma. The employer normally prefers a bachelorís degree in biology or animal science or any other related field with additional skills. For instance a trainer for mammals will require a bachelorís degree in marine biology, animal science, zoology with additional swimming skills and Scuba certification. Specialized training is available in the following areas - pet care and retail, zoos and wildlife establishments, dog grooming, open farms, animal welfare and breeding.
Animal caretaker job
Animal caretakers need to have real interest for working with animals. They need to be sensitive and patient. They should have experience in animal obedience. Animal caretakers have to be alert and look for signs of illness or injury in the pets which may need veterinary attention. They also should keenly monitor the eating patterns of the animals and any changes in the behavior have to be reported to the owners. Animal caretakers working in shelter homes for animals have to deal with individuals who abandon their pets. Excellent communication skills including the ability to handle emotional people are vital in such care takers.
A career in animal care includes animal caretakers and animal trainers. Their work involves caring of the animals to train, feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, clean, and disinfect and repair the cages of animals. The animal caretakers also provide companionship, observe behavioral changes and look for illness and injury if any in animals. A career in animal care can mean working in:
- Boarding kennels
- Animal shelters and rescue centers
- Animal sanctuaries
- Veterinary hospitals and clinics
- Aquariums and
- Zoological parks
The job titles and the duties may vary according to the employment setting depending upon the nature of the organizations. While animal welfare assistants work in Blue cross adoption centers, animal care auxiliaries work in animal hospitals.
Animal care attendants: Basic tasks such as cleaning of cages and animal runs, filling food and water dishes as well as exercising of animals are performed by a beginner attendant in animal care. Kennel attendants care for pets in the absence of the owner. Attendants also sell pet foods and supplies, assist in obedience training and help on breeding of animals. Experienced attendants provide animal healthcare as well as bathe animals, trim nails and attend to other grooming needs.
Animal caretakers: Animal caretakers perform a variety of duties. They also work with a wide variety of animals. Caretakers attend to the basic needs of the animals. They are responsible to keep records of the animals that are received and discharged to the animalsí house. Tests and treatments given to the animals are also systematically recorded. Vaccination of newly admitted animals, euthanizing of seriously ill, severely injured animals is also their job purview.
Animal care Groomers: Animal care groomers specialize in grooming or maintaining the pets. They work in kennels, veterinary clinics, animal shelter houses or pet supply stores. Groomers discuss the petís growing needs with the owners and collect the history of the petsí disposition and its veterinarian. Groomers notice the medical problem of the pets such as ear or skin infection that may require immediate veterinary intervention. There are private groomers available on house call basis. They render mobile services offering a range of convenience at the door step of pet owners at flexible timings.
Animal trainers: As the title indicates, animal trainers train animals for riding, security, performance, obedience and assisting people with disabilities. Trainers train animals in small steps, and often it takes months and even years of repetitive training to make the animal respond in a positive manner. Animal trainers use mental stimulation, physical exercise and husbandry care in training of animals. Animal trainers work in competitions or show, in circus or marine parks.
Animal keepers: The animal care and service workers employed in zoos are called Ďkeepersí. They clean the animal enclosures, prepare the food for the animal inmates and assist in raising the animal in the zoo from very young. Keepers answer visitors to the zoo; they maintain records on the entry and exit of animals in and out of the zoo. Depending on the size of the zoo and nature of work assigned, the keepers work either with a broad group of animals such as birds, mammals, reptiles or they work with a limited collection of animals such as large cats, small mammals or primates.
Working environment for animal care attendants
Although people who love animals may cope up with the working environs of an animal house, in general the atmosphere of work is strenuous and physically and mentally challenging. Working in an animal setting could be a noisy experience as well.
The animal care worker needs to clean cages, lift, and hold and restrain animals. This involves several risks including exposure to bites or scratches from animals. The hours of work in an animal care service centre are bound to be long, irregular and stressful. In some places, animal care attendants are on duty for twenty four hours a day which means night shifts as well. Most of the animal care attendants also work on holidays and weekends as the animals have to be fed everyday.
Sufficient precautions should be taken by the animal care takers when treating animals with germicides and insecticides. Sometimes animal care attendants are emotionally distressed to witness the abused animals in a circus house or unwanted aged and hopelessly injured animals being euthanized. A calm and professional demeanor from the animal care attendant becomes imperative to handle such stressing situations.