Nonfarm Animal Caretakers Career Video
Description: Feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise care for pets and other nonfarm animals, such as dogs, cats, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Work in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, and aquariums. May keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks.
From animal shelters to zoos, animal care and service workers look after a wide variety of pets and other non-farm animals. They provide food and exercise, and monitor animals for illness or injury. Groomers work at kennels and pet supply stores to bathe, clip nails, and trim fur, mostly for dogs. Some are self-employed. Kennel attendants care for pets —usually dogs— when their owners aren’t able to. Pet sitters do similar work, caring for pets at the owner’s —or their own home. Animal caretakers work for animal shelters to provide basic care for homeless pets, and interact with the public about pet health and adoption. Some help veterinarians with medical care. Grooms look after horses at stables –where they exercise and rub down the horses, and clean stalls. Zookeepers tend animals in zoos —either one species, or many different species. Animal care and service workers sometimes face difficult situations such as caring for abused animals or helping euthanize animals. Tasks like moving and cleaning cages or lifting food bags are physically demanding. Interacting with frightened or aggressive animals contributes to a high injury rate for these workers. Part-time work and irregular hours are common, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Animal care and service workers typically need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. Many employers prefer candidates who have experience with animals, which is often obtained through volunteering and internships. Zookeepers generally need a bachelor’s degree in a related field.