Animal Care: Turning Your Pet Passion Into A Profession

by Back To Work Connect April 04, 2022 No comments Blog

Hey there animal lover! Do any of the following sound familiar?…

📱  You find yourself endlessly scrolling through cute cat videos before bed

🐕 You stop to pat every single dog you pass on the street.

❤️ Animal rights issues keep you up at night & you have a desire to make a difference

✨ You crave a flexible career where you can turn your pet passion into a profession

If you’re nodding along to any or all of the above, chances are, a career in animal care could be the perfect fit for you! Here’s everything you need to know about this growing industry…

Popular Animal Care Career Paths

Animal care is a growing industry with many full-time, part-time and self-employed career opportunities.

Working with animals is often seen as a ‘dream job’.

And we’re not surprised! Whatever animal-related career you choose to pursue, there are many reasons why this type of work can be extremely rewarding and lead to great career satisfaction.

While there are many opportunities to explore, setting up your own animal care business is a popular choice for those looking for flexibility and freedom.

The following are some popular self-employment opportunities with minimal start-up costs and maximum job satisfaction:

  • Grooming
  • Dog Trainer
  • Cattery Owner  / Kennel Owner
  • Pet Sitter
  • Dog Walker
  • Beekeeper
  • Service Dog Trainer
  • Animal Behaviour Specialist
  • Pet Photographer
  • Pet Supplies Seller (online or offline)

Key Skills Required

While a passion for animals is, of course, necessary, those most successful in the animal care industry typically demonstrate the following key skills and traits:

  • Compassion: When looking after animals, you want them to feel comfortable and safe. Animal care and service workers should know how to engage with animals (and their respective owners) sensitively and tactfully.
  • Ability to work under pressure: Working with animals isn’t all puppy cuddles and playtime. Depending on your field, you may need to deal with high-pressure or emergency situations, requiring a cool-calm demeanour and a thick skin.
  • Adaptability: Animals can be notoriously unpredictable. Working in animal care demands a certain degree of flexibility and an ability to adapt to the unexpected.
  • Excellent Observation: Unlike humans, animals cannot tell us what they need. We can’t all be Dr Dolittle, so those working in animal care need to rely on certain cues to understand how animals feel and respond to their needs.

3 Tips for Getting Started in Animal Care

  1. Gain experience through volunteering: Volunteering for an animal charity is a great way to kick-start your career in animal care. Not only can you provide much-needed support to charities in need, but you’ll also gain on-the-job experience and vital insight into a career in animal care.
  2. Shadow somebody else: If you’re looking to get into animal care, one of the best ways to find out more about the industry is by learning from somebody already working and succeeding in it. Search for somebody you are inspired by and ask if you could shadow them on a day’s work or if they would be available for a coffee chat where you can ask any burning questions you may have about the work.
  3. Do your research: Before you kickstart your career in animal care, we recommend doing some research into the sector you’re considering. What supplies will you need? Is there a market for your service? What are others in the industry doing well? What’s your USP (unique selling proposition) that will set you apart from your competition?

Animal Care Courses in Ireland

While a college degree isn’t always required to work in the animal care industry, a qualification can equip you with vital skills, set you apart from the competition and open many doors career-wise.

Finding the right course that supports your specific animal care career goals is vital. To make your search that bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of some fantastic course options in Ireland to consider:

Dun Laoghaire: Animal Care/Animal Care Assistant This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and the skills to work in a variety of areas within the Animal Healthcare sector. Students will study core areas of Animal Healthcare and are enabled to put theory into practice through experiential learning in a fully equipped Animal Healthcare Suite.

Dunboyne College of Further Education: Animal Care and Grooming This one-year course is designed to give students an introduction to the world of animal care and grooming. Designed to provide a combination of practical and theoretical tuition in all aspects of the animal care industry. It provides a hands-on, skills-based course which equips students with a fundamental knowledge of the animal care industry.

Kerry College of Further Education & Training: Animal Care This course provides learners with fascinating insights into the health care, grooming, welfare needs and behaviour of a wide variety of small animals.

Killester College of Further Education: Animal Science Level 5 Students will have a mixture of classroom-based subjects, laboratory practical’s, mandatory work placement (including a work shop in Dublin Zoo) and independent study. You will be expected to complete assignments throughout the year.

Waterford College of Further Education: Animal Care QQI Level 5 A one year course of specific interest to applicants wishing to pursue a career in the Dog Grooming/Animal Care industry. Applicants will study a range of subjects relating to animal care and grooming. Emphasis will be placed on the skills and practices required to pursue a career in animal care and allow for progression to both Veterinary Nursing and Science at Third Level.