Career Development

What Does a Kennel Technician Do?

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

The Kennel Technician role centers around maintaining a safe and clean environment for animals in care, such as dogs and cats, within a kennel or animal shelter setting. This position involves a blend of compassion and practical skills, ensuring that the basic needs of each animal are met, including feeding, cleaning, and providing general care. Additionally, Kennel Technicians play a significant role in monitoring the health and behavior of the animals, reporting any concerns to the veterinary staff or shelter management. Their contributions support the overall well-being of the animals, making their stay in the kennel as comfortable and stress-free as possible, while also assisting in preparing animals for adoption or return to their owners.

Kennel Technician Job Duties

  • Clean and disinfect animal cages, kennels, and surrounding areas to ensure a hygienic environment.
  • Feed and water animals according to specific schedules and dietary needs.
  • Administer medications as prescribed by veterinarians and monitor health concerns.
  • Provide basic grooming services such as bathing and brushing to maintain animal hygiene.
  • Exercise animals regularly to ensure adequate physical activity and mental stimulation.
  • Record and update animal health records and behavior observations for veterinary and caretaking reference.
  • Assist with the intake and adoption process of animals, including preparing animals for new homes.
  • Perform maintenance tasks around the facility, such as repairing fences or kennels and replacing bedding materials.

Kennel Technician Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing a Kennel Technician’s salary include years of experience, specialized skills in animal care (e.g., grooming or training expertise), the size and type of the employing facility (veterinary clinics, shelters, or luxury boarding kennels), and the range of responsibilities (medical support tasks, customer service, facility maintenance).

  • Median Annual Salary: $26,250 ($12.62/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)

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

This surge in demand for Kennel Technicians is driven by an increasing pet population, heightened awareness of animal welfare, and the rising trend of pet owners seeking professional care facilities for their pets during travel or work hours, necessitating more skilled personnel to manage and care for animals.

Kennel Technician Job Requirements

Education: A Kennel Technician typically holds a high school diploma, with some possessing associate or bachelor’s degrees. Relevant education paths include animal science, veterinary technology, or biology. Courses in animal care, behavior, and management are beneficial. Higher education may offer specialized knowledge and skills advantageous in this field, though not strictly required. The educational background supports understanding animal needs, health, and welfare essential for the role.

Experience: Kennel Technicians often start with minimal to no prior experience, with many roles offering on-the-job training to acquaint them with daily duties such as feeding, cleaning, and exercising animals. Experience in animal care, even from personal pet care, can be beneficial. Employers may provide training programs to develop skills in animal handling, health monitoring, and facility maintenance. A passion for animal welfare and the ability to learn quickly are key for success in this role.

Certifications & Licenses: No specific certifications or licenses are typically required for the job of a Kennel Technician.

Kennel Technician Skills

Animal Behavior Observation: Kennel technicians must be adept at noticing even the slightest changes in an animal’s posture, vocalizations, and activity levels. Such keen observation skills enable the early detection of potential health issues or stress, facilitating prompt intervention.

Medication Administration: The responsibility of ensuring each animal receives the correct dosage and type of medication at the prescribed times requires a detailed understanding of veterinary pharmacology. Kennel technicians are also responsible for noting and reporting any side effects or adverse reactions, allowing for quick and appropriate action.

Sanitation Protocols: Keeping the environment clean and free from disease is critical. Kennel technicians achieve this through rigorous disinfection of kennels, tools, and shared spaces, adhering to strict guidelines on cleaning agents’ use, cleaning frequency, and hazardous waste disposal.

Nutrition Management: Tailoring diets to meet the specific health needs, life stages, and breeds of each animal is a significant duty. It involves precise measurement of food portions, close monitoring of eating habits, and diet adjustments based on veterinary advice to support optimal health.

Emergency Response: Quick assessment and action in the face of health crises or injuries is necessary. Kennel technicians must maintain composure, make swift decisions, and either perform first aid or administer medication following veterinary instructions, often in stressful situations.

Record Keeping: Accurate and current records of vaccinations, dietary needs, and behavioral observations are crucial for providing personalized care and meeting health standards. Such diligent documentation ensures effective communication within the team and with pet owners, promoting a secure and caring environment for all animals.

Kennel Technician Work Environment

A Kennel Technician’s work environment is primarily within animal care facilities, where the setting is both indoors and outdoors, adapting to the needs of the animals. The space is equipped with various tools and equipment essential for animal care, including feeding supplies, cleaning tools, and grooming instruments. The nature of the job dictates a casual dress code, typically involving comfortable, practical clothing and protective gear when necessary.

Work hours can vary, often including weekends and holidays, to ensure continuous care for the animals. The pace is dynamic, fluctuating with the animals’ needs and the facility’s occupancy. Interaction levels are high, not only with animals but also with pet owners and colleagues, fostering a community centered around animal welfare.

The environment demands a strong emphasis on health and safety protocols to protect both the animals and the staff. Despite the challenges, the role offers a rewarding experience for those passionate about animal care, with opportunities for learning and growth within the field.

Advancement Prospects

A Kennel Technician, primarily responsible for the care and maintenance of animals in a kennel, has several paths for advancement. Progressing to a Kennel Manager or Supervisor role is a common next step, requiring a deep understanding of animal care, staff management, and operational logistics.

For those passionate about animal health, transitioning into a veterinary assistant position is viable. This move often necessitates hands-on experience with animals and a keen interest in veterinary medicine, which can be gained through the daily responsibilities of a Kennel Technician.

Another avenue is specializing in animal training or grooming within the kennel environment. These roles demand a high level of skill and patience but offer the opportunity to work more closely with animals, providing a more personalized care experience.

Achieving these advancements typically involves demonstrating exceptional work ethic, a willingness to take on additional responsibilities, and a proactive approach to learning new skills directly related to the care and management of animals.


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