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Become An Animal Caregiver

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Working As An Animal Caregiver

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Repetitive

  • $22,730

    Average Salary

What Does An Animal Caregiver Do At San Diego Humane Society

* include the following, but are not limited to:
* Complete daily cleaning routines, maintaining assigned area in a clean, organized and professional manner
* Provide kennel enrichment, train, and socialize animals in assigned area as time permits
* Monitor the health of shelter animals; follow established procedures if symptoms of illness arise based on the degree of illness or injury
* Assist as needed to restrain incoming pets for blood draw and examination
* Assist with the temperament testing of new canine arrivals as scheduled
* Work with the supervisory, management and other staff members to assure the highest of standards in day-to-day shelter operations
* Provide general information to guests on SDHS processes including adoption, relinquishment, medical and behavioral examinations and euthanasia
* Communicate effectively and professionally with co-workers, management and guests at all times
* Promote positive relationships with the guests, volunteers and staff while promoting the society’s programs, policies, philosophy and Core Values
* Data entry utilizing the Shelter Buddy software
* Attend and complete in-service training and other trainings as scheduled
* Attend staff and volunteer meetings and other meetings as required
* Must wear appropriate, clean uniform and name tag, and conform to dress code at all times during business hours
* Exemplifies San Diego Humane Society’s Core Values:
* Has theCourageto make tough decisions and take smart risks
* DemonstratesEmpathyfor your colleagues and our guests
* RemainsEngagedand committed to our mission
* IsEnthusiasticand demonstrate excitement and interest in our efforts
* Seeks out ways to beImpactfulin the animal welfare movement and your role
* Leads withIntegrityand treat everyone with respect
* Strives to beResourcefuland see challenges as opportunities for improvement
* Participates in creating a thriving Culture of Philanthropy at San Diego Humane Society by:
* Being knowledgeable and supportive of Society programs
* Sharing their passion for service to animals, people, and our community with our guests
* Serving as an inspiration to all guests by providing an exemplary level of animal care and guest service
* Being able to communicate a compelling case for support that demonstrates the impact of philanthropy on San Diego Humane Society
* SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES: No direct supervision but has the responsibility for volunteers working in the animal care and adoption areas.
* SALARY:This starting hourly rate for this position is $13
* and will be commensurate with experience

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How To Become An Animal Caregiver

Most animal care and service workers have a high school diploma and learn the occupation on the job. Many employers prefer to hire people who have experience with animals.


Most animal care and service worker positions require at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

Although pet groomers typically learn by working under the guidance of an experienced groomer, they can also attend grooming schools. The length of each program varies with the school and the number of advanced skills taught.

Most zoos require keepers to have a bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, or a related field.

Animal trainers usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some positions may require a bachelor’s degree. For example, marine mammal trainers usually need a bachelor’s degree in marine biology, animal science, biology, or a related field.

Dog trainers and horse trainers typically qualify by taking courses at community colleges or vocational and private training schools.


Most animal care and service workers learn through on-the-job training. They begin by performing basic tasks and work up to positions that require more responsibility and experience.

Some animal care and service workers may receive training before they enter their position. For example, caretakers in shelters can attend training programs through the Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association. Pet groomers often learn their trade by training under the guidance of an experienced groomer.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills. For example, several professional associations and hundreds of private vocational and state-approved trade schools offer certification for dog trainers.

The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers certification for master status as a groomer. Both the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International offer a home-study certification program for pet sitters. Marine mammal trainers should be certified in scuba-diving.

For self-employed workers, many states require animal care and service workers to have a business license.

Other Experience

For many caretaker positions, it helps to have experience working with animals. Nearly all animal trainer and zookeeper positions require candidates to have experience with animals. Volunteering and internships at zoos and aquariums are excellent ways to gain experience in working with animals.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Animal care and service workers must be compassionate when dealing with animals and their owners. They should like animals and must treat them with kindness.

Customer-service skills. Animal care and service workers should understand pet owners’ needs so they can provide services that leave the owners satisfied. Some workers may need to deal with distraught pet owners. For example, caretakers working in animal shelters may need to reassure owners looking for a lost pet.

Detail oriented. Animal care and service workers must be detail oriented because they are often responsible for keeping animals on a strict diet, maintaining records, and monitoring changes in animals’ behavior.

Patience. Animal caretakers and all animal trainers need to be patient when training or working with animals that do not respond to commands.

Physical stamina. Stamina is important for animal care and service workers because their work often involves kneeling, crawling, bending, and lifting heavy supplies, such as bags of food.

Problem-solving skills. Animal trainers must be able to assess whether the animals are responding to teaching methods and identify which methods are most successful.

Reliability. In order to meet the customer’s needs, animal care and service workers need to care for animals in a scheduled and timely manner.

Trustworthiness. Pet sitters must demonstrate that they can be trusted when caring for animals and properties while the owner is away.

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Animal Caregiver jobs

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Animal Caregiver Typical Career Paths

Animal Caregiver Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • German

  • French

  • Arabic

  • Dutch

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Top Skills for An Animal Caregiver


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Top Animal Caregiver Skills

  1. Dog Kennels
  2. Animal Care
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Point care staff for the animal care team.
  • Provide the public with exceptional customer service in person, on the phone and by written communication.
  • Do facility dishes and laundry as well as keeping storage and main work stations organized and clean at all times.
  • Assisted adoption center staff in cleaning and answering animal related inquiries from potential adopters
  • Provided daily care and enrichment to shelter animals; implemented strategies to work individually with special needs animals.

Top Animal Caregiver Employers

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