Animal Care… the job for you?
Did you know that the pet population estimates that 13 million (46% of) UK households have pets. The pet population stands at around 65 million – including fish. This brings the importance of animals into sharp focus, and also the possibilities of animal care as a potential career.
Latest figures for the UK Top Ten Pets are:
1. Fish kept in tanks: 20 - 25 million (9% of households)
2. Fish kept in ponds: 20 million (5% of households)
3. Dogs: 9 million (24% of households)
4. Cats: 7.9 million (18% of households)
5. Rabbits: 1 million (2.4% of households)
6. Domestic fowl: 1 million (0.8% of households)
7. Caged birds: 1 million (1.4% of households)
8. Guinea Pigs: Half a million (1.1% of households)
9. Hamsters: 400,000 (1.4% of households)
10. Lizards: 400,000 (0.7% of households)
An animal care worker has a wide range of roles to consider – you could care for animals in a number of different places, such as kennels, animal rescue centres and animal sanctuaries. You could also be an animal welfare assistant at Blue Cross adoption centres, an animal collection officer for the RSPCA, or animal care auxiliary at an animal hospital.
So what does this work involve? Any sort of animal carer will be involved with the following:
- feeding animals in your care
- keeping animals clean and grooming them where appropriate
- exercising dogs
- cleaning kennels, cages and pens, and changing bedding
- giving special care to animals who become ill or distressed
- Dealing with queries from colleagues and visitors
In some job roles, you could have additional duties, such as keeping records, taking bookings and advising owners on how to look after their animals.
There may also be opportunities to specialise in animal massage or hydrotherapy, working with animals recovering from injury or undergoing treatment for mobility problems.
One important aspect of animal care is that this is no nine-to-five job. Animals must be cared for after seven days a week, and you may need to work shifts. This could often include starting early, and some evenings and weekends. It can also involve hard physical work, and you could spend time working outdoors in all weathers. Nevertheless, it is a rewarding area of work, and well worth considering. The opportunities for voluntary work in this area are huge.
The Academy for Distance Learning provides courses in Animal Care. Why not check details of these courses which could set you on your path to an interesting and worthwhile career?