Career Development

What Does a Kennel Manager Do?

Find out what a Kennel Manager does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Kennel Manager.

The Kennel Manager oversees the daily operations of animal boarding facilities, ensuring a safe, clean, and nurturing environment for pets. This role involves coordinating staff schedules, managing inventory for supplies, and maintaining records for both the animals and the facility. With a strong focus on animal welfare, the Kennel Manager ensures that all pets receive proper care, including feeding, exercise, and medical attention as needed. Additionally, this position often requires interaction with pet owners, providing them with updates and peace of mind about their pets’ well-being. Through effective leadership and organizational skills, the Kennel Manager supports a harmonious operation that meets the needs of the animals and their owners.

Kennel Manager Job Duties

  • Oversee daily operations of the kennel, including feeding, medication administration, and exercise routines for all animals.
  • Implement and maintain cleanliness and sanitation protocols to ensure a healthy environment for animals and staff.
  • Manage kennel staff, including scheduling, training, and performance evaluations to ensure high-quality animal care and customer service.
  • Coordinate with veterinarians for regular health checks, vaccinations, and treatment of any medical conditions for animals in the kennel.
  • Develop and enforce kennel policies and procedures, including animal intake and adoption processes, to ensure safety and compliance with local regulations.
  • Handle customer inquiries, bookings, and complaints, providing exceptional service to pet owners and building strong relationships.
  • Oversee inventory management for pet supplies, food, and medication, ensuring availability and cost-effectiveness.
  • Plan and execute emergency preparedness drills and protocols for natural disasters or other emergencies affecting the kennel and the safety of the animals.

Kennel Manager Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing a Kennel Manager’s salary include years of experience, size and revenue of the kennel, specialization in certain breeds or types of care (e.g., medical boarding), and the range of responsibilities, such as staff management, customer service, and facility maintenance. Expertise in animal behavior and welfare also plays a crucial role.

  • Median Annual Salary: $37,800 ($18.17/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $57,500 ($27.64/hour)

The employment of kennel managers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

This surge is driven by the increasing pet ownership rate, heightened awareness of animal welfare, and a growing demand for premium pet care services. Kennel Managers are pivotal in ensuring high-quality boarding, grooming, and health care for pets, catering to owners’ rising expectations for their animals’ treatment and well-being.

Kennel Manager Job Requirements

Education: A Kennel Manager often holds a High School Diploma, with some possessing Associate or Bachelor’s Degrees. Relevant education paths include animal science, business management, or veterinary technology. Courses in animal care, behavior, and facility management are beneficial. While specific majors aren’t mandatory, studies in biology, business administration, or animal-related fields can provide a solid foundation for this role. Advanced education can enhance understanding of animal health, operational aspects of kennel management, and improve career advancement opportunities.

Experience: Kennel Managers often start with minimal experience, including those with just a few months of exposure to animal care or even newcomers to the field. On-the-job training is a critical component, allowing individuals to learn directly within the work environment. Training programs may cover animal handling, health and safety protocols, customer service, and administrative duties. Experience in areas such as team leadership, operational management, and animal behavior observation is beneficial, fostering a well-rounded skill set for effectively managing a kennel facility.

Certifications & Licenses: Kennel Manager positions typically do not require specific certifications or licenses. However, certifications in animal care, such as the Certified Kennel Operator (CKO) from the Pet Care Services Association, can be beneficial. Some regions may require business operation licenses or animal facility licenses.

Kennel Manager Skills

Animal Behavior Analysis: Interpreting a variety of canine behaviors is crucial for a Kennel Manager, who must ensure the safety and well-being of all animals. Tailored care plans are developed to meet the unique needs of each dog, promoting a peaceful and stress-free environment.

Veterinary Medicine Basics: Kennel Managers need a thorough understanding of animal health care practices, including the ability to recognize symptoms of illness and injury. This knowledge is vital for making informed decisions about seeking veterinary care and providing first aid in emergencies.

Facility Sanitation: Maintaining a clean, disease-free environment is critical for the health of both animals and staff. Regular disinfection of kennels, proper waste disposal, and adherence to health and safety regulations are necessary to prevent the spread of illness.

Staff Training and Supervision: The ability to mentor staff on animal care nuances is essential. A Kennel Manager must impart technical knowledge and foster a team dynamic that emphasizes compassion, efficiency, and safety.

Nutrition and Feeding Programs: Developing tailored diets for each animal ensures their optimal health and energy levels. Coordination with veterinarians for special nutrition plans and monitoring dietary effects are part of adjusting care for the animals’ well-being.

Customer Service and Relations: Communicating effectively and empathetically with pet owners is crucial for building trust and ensuring a positive experience. Handling feedback professionally and with a solution-oriented approach is important for reinforcing the kennel’s reputation and fostering long-term client relationships.

Kennel Manager Work Environment

A Kennel Manager operates in a dynamic environment where the well-being of animals is the focal point. Their workspace is primarily within the kennel facility, encompassing both office areas for administrative tasks and animal housing for direct care activities. The setting demands practical attire suitable for both desk work and hands-on interaction with animals, emphasizing comfort and safety.

Tools and equipment range from computers and software for management tasks to cleaning supplies and animal care items. Work hours might extend beyond the typical nine-to-five, including weekends and holidays, to ensure continuous care for the animals.

The social atmosphere is built around a shared commitment to animal welfare, fostering a supportive and collaborative team environment. Noise levels can be high, given the nature of working with multiple animals. Despite the challenges, the role offers a unique blend of administrative oversight and direct animal care, making it a fulfilling choice for those passionate about animal welfare.

Advancement Prospects

A Kennel Manager can advance to higher managerial roles within larger animal care facilities or veterinary hospitals, overseeing multiple departments or locations. Progression often involves gaining extensive experience in kennel management, demonstrating exceptional leadership, and understanding advanced animal care techniques.

To achieve such advancement, a Kennel Manager should focus on enhancing operational efficiencies, improving animal care standards, and developing strong team management skills. Success in increasing the kennel’s profitability and customer satisfaction can also pave the way for upward mobility.

Exploring opportunities in animal welfare organizations or pet boarding franchises offers another career path. Here, a Kennel Manager can transition into roles focusing on policy development, franchise management, or even starting their own kennel business. This requires a deep understanding of the pet care industry, business acumen, and entrepreneurial skills.


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