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Kennel worker

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Kennel workers care for dogs and cats in kennels or catteries.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,000 to £17,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements. 

Some employers may ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including maths and English.

Paid or unpaid experience of working with animals would be helpful.

Animal welfare organisations, like the RSPCA or Dogs Trust may need volunteers in your area.

You could do a full-time college course in animal care, but this isn’t essential.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • confidence in handling animals
  • good teamworking skills
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to communicate with a range of people
  • good observational skills to notice changes in animals' behaviour
  • the initiative to work well on your own

3. What you'll do

You could work in:

  • boarding kennels and catteries, which provide care for animals when their owners are away for a short time
  • organisations like the RSPCA, which look after stray, abandoned or mistreated animals
  • kennels run by organisations like Guide Dogs
  • breeding or quarantine kennels
  • other kennels such as hunt or racing kennels

Your day-to-day tasks might include:

  • preparing food and feeding the animals
  • keeping animals clean and grooming them
  • exercising dogs in a yard or taking them for walks
  • cleaning out kennels and cages
  • maintaining cages, runs and grounds
  • looking after animals which are elderly, ill or distressed
  • answering telephone calls and greeting visitors to the premises
Your other duties may include keeping records, taking bookings and handling payments.

You could also give advice to people who wish to adopt an abandoned animal.

4. Salary

Starter: £12,000

Experienced: £15,000

Highly Experienced: £17,000 (kennel managers or supervisors)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work about 40 hours a week. 

You may be expected to start early in the morning and work some weekends, evenings and public holidays.

A lot of the work will be outdoors and you’ll be required to work in all weather conditions.

In larger kennels you’ll be provided with accommodation and work clothes like protective overalls and safety boots.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager, or set up your own kennels or cattery.

You could move into other kinds of work with animals, like dog trainer, RSPCA inspector or veterinary nurse. 

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Last updated: 13 September 2018