A kennel assistant is a person who works at a boarding kennel that houses cats or dogs. A boarding kennel is a place where owners can place their dogs, cats or other domestic pets if the owner needs temporary care for the pet. Kennel assistants also work at animal shelters and occasionally veterinarian's offices or other locations where large numbers of animals are boarded in kennels.
A kennel assistant functions to assist in the care of the animals. While these types of workers are generally not licensed veterinarians, and may have no formal training in animal care, many people who work in kennels love animals and become familiar with the steps required to care for animals in a positive manner. In fact, most of the people who work in this profession receive a significant amount of on-the-job training in how to relate to animals in a positive manner.
The exact function of a kennel assistant varies depending on the nature of the kennel in which he or she works. Some facilities that board animals for private owners, and even some animal shelters or rescues, provide a "cage-free kennel." In a cage free kennel, the assistant generally helps keep order and ensures that no problems develop between animals.
Standard kennels contain cages where animals are kept. In these types of kennels, an assistant may be called upon to walk an animal in order to provide exercise and to give the animal a break from its cage. A kennel assistant in this environment may also be responsible for cleaning animal waste from the cage periodically.
Many owners need to place their animals in a kennel temporarily for various reasons. For example, if a pet owner goes on vacation, he may be unable to take his dog with him. In this case, he may opt to place his dog in a boarding kennel that is staffed by animal care professionals.
In these types of private kennels, or boarding facilities, a kennel assistant may be called upon to meet the needs of the individual owner. Some pet owners feed their pets a special diet, for example. The assistant may have to help the owner or main caregiver with providing this special diet for the appropriate pet.
Generally, a person who becomes a kennel assistant should love animals. While no degree is required, experience caring for animals, or a degree in a related field, can help a kennel assistant to find a job. Kennel assistants should also expect to work evening, weekend, or holiday hours, as it is during these times that many owners need care for their pets.