Pet groomers and animal care workers (NOC 6563)

About this job

Animal care workers feed, handle, train and groom animals and assist veterinarians, animal health technologists and technicians and animal breeders. Pet groomers clip coats, bathe and otherwise groom pets.

People in this occupation:

  • work with cats and dogs most often, but may also care for other animals, depending on the work environment
  • work for animal hospitals and clinics, animal shelters, breeding and boarding facilities, zoos, laboratories, retail pet shops, dog training schools or pet grooming establishments
  • may be self-employed
  • customer service and administrative skills are assets for pet groomers and some animal care workers
  • should have a love of animals
  • good observation skills, interpersonal skills and an ability to exercise gentle and secure restraint are also required
Common job titles
  • animal attendant - laboratory / zoo / vet
  • animal care / health care
  • aquarist
  • groomer / master groomer, animal
  • kennel attendant / keeper
  • pet-sitter
  • animal attendant - laboratory / zoo / vet
  • animal care / health care
  • aquarist
  • custodian, receiving barn
  • groom - horse race track
  • groomer / master groomer, animal

Duties

Pet groomers and animal care workers:

  • Prepare food and feed animals, fish or birds at scheduled intervals
  • Clean and disinfect cages, pens and surrounding areas
  • Shampoo, clip and groom animals
  • Assist veterinarians and animal health technologists and technicians to inoculate and treat animals
  • Assist animal breeders to handle and nurture animals
  • Assist scientists and researchers in conducting laboratory tests with animals
  • Monitor and document animal behaviour
  • Train dogs to obey commands and perform specific duties in response to signals.

Work environment

Pet groomers and animal care workers usually work indoors. These workers may get wet and dirty while bathing animals. They are also sometimes required to lift heavy animals.

Many work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. Some groomers may travel to customers' homes and some animal care workers may travel to pick up stray animals.

Animal care workers in veterinary clinics or labs typically work as part of a team. Dog trainers work mostly with dog owners, relying on their people skills as much as their animal behaviour modification skills.

Self-employed groomers are required to provide their own equipment.

Handling animals can pose some hazards so proper care is needed to avoid bites and scratches.  A strong understanding of animal behaviour helps workers recognize when animals are upset so they can avoid such injuries. Other hazards include slipping on wet floors, back strain or electrical shocks or burns from dryers.

Insights from industry

More job openings will become available in the next few years as a result of worker turnover than from new job creation.

The average age of those working in this occupational group in B.C. is younger than the provincial average. Therefore, there will be a limited number of positions available to replace existing workers who retire.

Industry sources expect growth in demand for these workers will be strongest in the Mainland/Southwest. Workers with veterinary assistant or grooming certification are expected to have an advantage in finding work in this field. In addition, the recent popularity of dog obedience classes and dog sports has resulted in a higher demand for dog trainers, particularly in urban centres.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Workers with experience and further education may progress to other occupations, such as animal health technologist, supervisor or manager of animal care facilities, certified master groomer or grooming instructor.

Some veterinary clinics may allow veterinary attendants to perform some of the duties of an animal health technician if there is a registered animal health technician in the clinic to provide supervision.

Workers in this occupational group may also decide to open their own grooming businesses or kennels.

Additional resources