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Animal Caretaker

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High school preferred +

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What They Do

Animal Caretakers Career Video

About This Career

Feeds, waters, grooms, bathes, exercises, or otherwise provides care to promote and maintain the well-being of pets and other animals that are not raised for consumption, such as dogs, cats, race horses, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Works in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, and aquariums. May keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Animal Systems pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Feeds and waters animals according to schedules and feeding instructions.
  • Provides treatment to sick or injured animals, or contacts veterinarians to secure treatment.
  • Examines and observes animals to detect signs of illness, disease, or injury.
  • Mixes food, liquid formulas, medications, or food supplements according to instructions, prescriptions, and knowledge of animal species.
  • Does facility laundry and cleans, organizes, maintains, and disinfects animal quarters, such as pens and stables, and equipment, such as saddles and bridles.
  • Exercises animals to maintain their physical and mental health.
  • Collects and records animal information, such as weight, size, physical condition, treatments received, medications given, and food intake.
  • Responds to questions from patrons, and provides information about animals, such as behavior, habitat, breeding habits, or facility activities.
  • Answers telephones and schedules appointments.
  • Advises pet owners on how to care for their pets' health.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Animal Care Giver (ACG)
  • Aquarist
  • Dog Groomer — Combs, clips, trims, and shapes dogs' coats to groom dogs, using knowledge of canine characteristics and grooming techniques and styles.
  • Groomer
  • Kennel Attendant
  • Pet Groomer
  • Pet Stylist
  • Dog Bather
  • Kennel Technician (Kennel Tech)
  • Zookeeper


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733