Working in the pet accommodation encompasses many skills. A calm demeanor around animals is essential to this type of work.
Scope of Work
Pet accommodation services include:
- Boarding - kennels, catteries, horse agistment - staying overnight for short or long stays
- Day Care - provide interaction with other animals and humans during the day
- House Sitting - paid or unpaid, caring for pet while owner is on holiday
- Holiday Accommodation - where owners can take pets to a resort, camp ground or other
In most countries, overnight boarding facilities and day-care centres for pets are required to have an operation license, following the business code of practice which is underpinned by mandated standards and effective auditing arrangements. The code of conduct will cover all services offered, along with the competence of the staff, nutrition, hygiene, animal health. Jobs in pet boarding are not exclusive to a fixed location, they can also be mobile, where the person goes to the pet.
Work undertaken may include:
- feeding, providing water
- health care (eg. administering medicines), grooming (eg. brushing), cleaning (eg. bathing)
- handling, walking, interacting with other animals and taking to an exercise area, or an outdoor run.
- property management
What You Need to Learn
Customer service skills – how to interact with and reassure customers, how to manage and direct enquiries, how to build rapport and upsell any appropriate items in the catalogue/stock, such as food and pet goods
- Animal Health – recognising ill health or injury, parasites, poisons, toxic plants, safety, coordinating with animal health care professionals
- Animal Nutrition – good feeding practices, how to identify nutritionally appropriate food, how to maintain a good diet or recognise signs of a bad diet
- Pet Care – how to care for different animals, with speciality knowledge of the animals you intend to work with including behaviour, illness, and signs of distress
- Grooming – bathing, trimming and other services that may be offered
- Communication skills – communicating with clients and relevant authorities, how to work with a veterinarian where necessary\
- Management – general resource management, licensing, accounting practices, ethical & legal practices
- Animal holistic health care – options to offer in a boarding or day-care centre, treatments for anxiety such as acupuncture or supplementation
- Animal behaviour – understanding why animals display certain behaviours, recognising distress, and apply appropriate training methods where necessary
Starting a Career
Career generally start with a strong interest in animals. It is always a good idea to start to get as much experience as you can within this environment. There are a few reliable online pet boarding services that will put you in contact with pet owners needing dog walking and more which is a good way to start your career.
Some ways people may get a career start include:
Pet sitting for friends and family
Dog walking (volunteer or paid)
Volunteering at a local animal shelter, helping clean housing
Working with an animal sanctuary, especially if your interest is in birds or exotic pets
A part time job at a pet shop, farm or wildlife centre
A short course or self education
Progressing a Career
There are many opportunities to progress your career in the pet boarding sector.
- Working for organisations such as the RSPCA, which look after stray, abandoned or mistreated animals.
- Working with kennels run by organisations like the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association breeding or quarantine kennels other kennels such as hunt or racing kennels.
- Training guide animals
- Starting your own boarding business
- Serving pet boarding businesses as a specialist groomer or behavioural consultant
- Animal trainer, in conjunction with a pet boarding service (doggie boot camp) or in your own service
Formal learning subjects related to dog or cat care, animal psychology and training are strongly recommended to support you with the practical experience.