Jobs Working with Dogs and Cats

Careers that involve working with cats and dogs may require an extensive amount of education while others only require a high school diploma. Learn about the specific responsibilities and education requirements for these careers, and get info about salary and job growth.

Career Options That Involve Working with Cats and Dogs

Many people keep cats and dogs as pets because they enjoy the companionship and joy a pet brings into their lives. Some individuals may carry their love of cats and dogs over into a career. In this case, there are several different career options that involve working with cats and dogs. We will look at five of them in greater detail below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Veterinarian $88,770 18%
Veterinary Technologist/Technician $32,490 20%
Animal Trainer $27,690 11%
Groomer $22,230 20% (for all animal care and service workers)
Nonfarm Animal Caretaker $21,990 22%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information About Careers That Involve Working with Cats and Dogs

Veterinarian

As a veterinarian, you could potentially work with animals of all kinds, but many veterinarians, called companion animal veterinarians, work primarily with common domesticated pets, like cats and dogs. Vets are responsible for providing medical care and attention to animals, which could include general health check-ups, scheduled surgeries and procedures, and emergency care. You will also communicate with the pets' owners to make sure they know how to correctly administer medication and provide care for their pet. To become a veterinarian, you will need to complete a bachelor's degree program and then a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

Veterinary Technologist/Technician

A veterinary technologist or technician generally works in the office of a veterinarian and provides him or her with assistance in caring for the animal patients. Some of their duties may include preparing pets for procedures, providing anesthesia to pets before they undergo surgery, and generally making sure that pets, like cats and dogs, are comfortable. Technologists are also able to perform more advanced duties than technicians, like administering medication and gathering and preparing data and samples for research purposes. Because of these more advanced duties, technologists must complete a 4-year bachelor's degree program, while technicians only need a two-year associate's degree.

Animal Trainer

As an animal trainer, you will work with different types of animals and help them learn different behaviors and skills, as well as develop obedience. Because cats are generally not trained, animal trainers will likely work with dogs much more often and teach them how to follow basic commands, get along with other dogs and humans, and break bad habits. To become an animal trainer, you will usually only need a high school diploma, though you may consider taking courses in animal training or getting a degree in animal science.

Groomer

Groomers are individuals who work with all types of animals, including cats and dogs, and provide them with baths, haircuts, nail clipping, and other personal care services. Pet owners may tell the groomer about a particular hair cut or style they want for their pet, often according to the breed of pet, or groomers may choose a style they think is suitable. To become a groomer, you will usually only need a high school diploma, though some may attend a training school or work with more experienced groomers to develop skills.

Nonfarm Animal Caretaker

As a nonfarm animal caretaker, you will almost exclusively work with cats and dogs who are taken to animal rescues or shelters. These pets may have been abandoned, abused, or lost, or they may have experienced some other type of trauma, in which case caretakers must know how to interact with them properly. In addition to making sure the pets and their facilities are keep clean and healthy, nonfarm animal caretakers also may handle paperwork regarding pet adoptions and incoming pets. These workers often only need a high school diploma.

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