How to become a Kennel Worker. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Kennel Worker do?
Kennel workers look after dogs and cats in kennels or catteries.
You could be employed as a kennel worker in:
- boarding kennels, which provide care for animals when their owners are away for a short time
- organisations such as the RSPCA, which look after stray, abandoned or mistreated animals
- kennels run by organisations like the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
- breeding or quarantine kennels.
Your work would 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
- looking after animals which are ill or distressed.
In some jobs you would also keep records, take bookings and handle payments, and advise owners on looking after their animals.
You would work about 40 hours a week, usually starting early in the morning. You would probably work some weekends and evenings. Part-time hours may be available.
The work is very active – you would do a lot of bending to clean out kennels, and regular walking to exercise dogs. You would have to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
How much does a Kennel Worker earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Full-time kennel workers can start at around £15,000 a year.
- Experienced kennel workers can earn from £15,000 to around £19,000.
Some larger kennels provide accommodation for staff.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You would usually have to be at least 16 (18 for working for Guide Dogs for the Blind).
You will not need any qualifications for most kennel jobs, but some organisations do ask for them. For example, to work for Guide Dogs for the Blind you will need three GCSEs (A-D), including English, or similar qualifications.
It will be useful if you have experience of working with animals, either paid or voluntary. Volunteering is a useful way to get experience and show employers that you are enthusiastic and interested in working with animals.
You can find out about opportunities for volunteering in your area by visiting do-it.org.uk. You could also check with animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust to find out if they need volunteers in your area.
- Dogs Trust
You could do a full-time college course before applying for your first job – although this is not essential it could improve your chances. Courses include:
- BTEC Level 2 Certificate/Extended Certificate/Diploma in Animal Care
- BTEC Level 3 Certificate/Extended Certificate/Diploma in Animal Management
- OCN Caring for Animals in Kennels and Catteries – you can do this by distance learning with the Animal Care College if you are in relevant paid or voluntary work.
You may need a driving licence for some jobs.
Training and Development
Once you have a job as a kennel worker you may be able to work towards qualifications such as Award/Certificate/Diploma in Work-based Animal Care at levels 1 and 2. Courses are available at some colleges and through the College of Animal Welfare.
You may be able to help your career either by gaining experience and working towards Level 3 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Work-based Animal Care or studying part-time for qualifications such as BTEC Level 3 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Animal Management.
Skills and Knowledge
- confidence in handling animals
- the ability to take initiative or work in a team
- good observational skills to notice changes in animals’ behaviour
- the ability to cope with the physical demands of the job – walking dogs and cleaning out kennels.
You could find work in kennels across the UK.
Once you have enough experience you might be able to become a supervisor or manager, or set up your own kennels or cattery. You could also use your experience to move into other kinds of work with animals, such as dog trainer, RSPCA inspector or veterinary nurse.