What does an Animal Caretaker do?

An animal caretaker is a person who takes care of the personal needs of an animal. The caretaker will perform the essential duties to ensure the animal remains healthy and stable. Another name for caretakers can be animal care attendants. This can be a very demanding job, as the hours may be long and the work can be strenuous on the body. The employment opportunities for a person pursing this position are generally numerous, with caretakers taking jobs in animal shelters, kennels and animal clinics.

The most important thing an animal caretaker may do is feed the animal. It is important that animals are provided with sufficient nourishment. Caretakers will generally provide a set amount of feedings per day for the animal in their care. Additionally, he or she may carefully choose the types of foods to feed the animal. Just like humans, animals should maintain diets that are healthy for their growth and well being, and part of the caretaker's job is to ensure the animals are eating healthy foods.

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Exercise should be incorporated into the daily life of an animal. Remaining in good physical shape is necessary for an animal to lead an active lifestyle. The most general way to exercise animals is to walk them. An animal caretaker may spend a great amount of time walking the animal he or she is taking care of. The caretaker may also play with the animal, and this may include playing with toys or making up games for the animal to take part in.

Grooming is a major part of providing animal care. As an animal caretaker, an individual is generally responsible for the physical appearance of the animal. For this reason, he or she may spend numerous hours per week grooming the animal, which may include washing it and brushing its hair and teeth. The caretaker may also clip or trim the animal's nails. Many caretakers incorporate cutting the animal's hair as part of the grooming process as well.

The caretaker is generally accountable for monitoring behavioral and health changes in the animal he or she is caring for. Often, a sudden change in temperament or physical habits may be a sign that there is a problem. If an animal is on medication, administering the medicine may be another duty of the caretaker. Most animals visit the veterinarian a few times a year and an added obligation of the caretaker may be to take an animal to vet appointments. Generally, the job duties of an animal caretaker can be plentiful and it really takes a special individual to carry out such responsibilities with the love and care that these creatures deserve.

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Discuss this Article

browncoat
Post 4

@pleonasm - I'm not sure if someone who wants to be a caretaker for animals would need to volunteer before doing a diploma, or even just getting a job though. There are plenty of animal caretaker jobs out there that are entry level and don't expect someone to have a lot of experience.

pleonasm
Post 3

@Iluviaporos - Another option is to work as a volunteer at a vet for a while. A lot of veterinary schools won't let you in unless you've got at least a few months practical experience with animals and I remember in high school one of my friends who wanted to be a vet was able to volunteer at a vet's office for a few months to get this experience.

I imagine you would end up doing all the gross or boring jobs, like cleaning up after the animals and maybe feeding them as well. I don't know if she got to see or do anything more involved than that.

lluviaporos
Post 2

If you want a chance to see what it's like to work as an animal caretaker, you can volunteer at a shelter for a while. It can actually be very tough work, particularly if you are under time pressure. We always had to make sure that all the pens and cages were cleaned up before the public was allowed in to the building, so if only a couple of volunteers had arrived that day, it was several hours of non-stop work cleaning up feces and hosing down cages.

If you love animals, though, it is totally worth it. I got to clean out the kitten cages every morning and I had a ball doing it.

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