Animal caretakers work in many places, including pet stores, boarding kennels, animal shelters, veterinary hospitals, laboratories, aquariums, zoos, and aquatic habitats.
Animal caretakers are responsible for training, feeding, grooming, and exercising animals, as well as cleaning and maintaining their cages and the areas which they inhabit. Though some positions are more labor-intensive than others, animal caretakers should be physically fit, and some jobs require them to monitor animals closely and record their physical conditions, behaviors, diets, and medication either on paper or with a computer.
It is important that those in this position can quickly recognize if animals are ill or injured and report their conditions either directly to veterinarians or to their supervisors. They may have to bathe and groom animals, including trimming their nails, brushing and clipping their hair, etc. Educational requirements to be an animal caretaker can vary depending on the employer; for positions which focus primarily on feeding and cleaning animals, education requirements are not strict. However, at places such as hospitals and animal clinics, where these caretakers must input data on a computer related to animals' conditions, a high school diploma or GED and computer skills are often minimum requirements.
Aspiring animal caretakers must have good communication and customer service skills, and some positions require them to communicate directly with animal owners or members of the public who are interested in the animals in their care. They must also be flexible with their time, as they often work different shifts and some facilities are open 24/7. Some may also be required to train and coach younger animal caretakers.
Animal Caretaker Tasks
Feed, water, inspect, and observe animals according to schedules.
Clean supplies, equipment, cages/stalls/kennels and physical environment of animals.
Groom, bathe, maintain and treat animals, calling veterinarians when required.