The veterinary kennel assistant here at Orchard Hills Animal Hospital is responsible for the day-to-day care of patients and boarders in addition to the daily cleaning of the facility. This includes feeding, watering, cleaning, walking, bathing, and monitoring the well being of dogs, cats and, occasionally, other companion animals. Kennel assistants must have sufficient physical strength, mobility, and stamina to lift and/or move heavy pets and objects, the dexterity and confidence to administer medications, and the ability to monitor pets for signs of distress or disease. It is essential that they have the ability and willingness to learn and the desire to provide gentle, compassionate care for boarded and hospitalized pets. Kennel experience is not always a prerequisite for this position.
This position requires that the individual have reliable transportation to and from the clinic on a daily basis. Also, the kennel assistant will be working alone in a closed hospital and will be expected to follow hospital closing policies when leaving the building for the evening.
The kennel assistant position will also include weekend kennel duties that will be shared with other Orchard Hills Veterinary Clinic support staff. Kennel duties include basic animal care and medicating on Saturday evenings and morning and evening on Sundays.
General Knowledge and Tasks
- Know the range of services the practice provides and the species it treats.
- Be reasonably familiar with breeds and coat colors.
- Follow OSHA standards. Be able to find Material Safety Data Sheets quickly.
- Know and use standard medical and business abbreviations.
- Use proper medical terminology when speaking and writing.
- Be familiar with infectious diseases, including their prevention and steps to reduce or eliminate transmission. Know the most common zoonotic diseases.
- Competently speak and write the English language.
- Perform job tasks efficiently without rushing.
- Remain on task at all times unless your help is needed by a technician or doctor.
- Smile and maintain an even, friendly demeanor while on the job.
- Handle stress and pressure with poise and tact.
- Show respect for clients, team members, and animals (alive or deceased) at all times.
- Have the physical strength and ability to stand for an entire shift when needed, and be able to lift pets and objects weighing up to 50 pounds without assistance, handle repetitive up-and-down or back-and-forth motions, and work while bending. Assist in lifting patients weighing more than 50 pounds.
- Maintain a list of tasks and engage in productive work during slow periods.
- Assist other employees as needed. Avoid waiting for coworkers to ask for assistance.
- Be willing and able to teach other staff members kennel skills.
- Conduct tours of the practice and/or kennel. Before each tour, ensure that the facility is orderly and that staff and patients are prepared for tours.
- Be prepared to handle any pet or facility emergency that may arise, weather-related emergencies. Follow contingency plans.
- Be aware of and on the lookout for things that could be considered abnormal regarding any and all of the hospitalized or boarding animals.
- Restrain pets in a manner that allows necessary work to be performed, minimizes stress to pets, and ensures the safety of pets and people.
- Know how to identify fractious pets. Notify one of the technicians or doctors before handling these types of animals.
- Aid veterinarians and technicians in evaluating incoming animals through examinations and health tests. Assist in administering immunizations.
- Maximize pets’ comfort with a gentle and reassuring manner. Ensure birds and exotic pets’ needs and environmental conditions are met, including proper housing, perches, bedding, and diet.
- Provide all patients with clean, soft bedding and fresh water.
- Walk dogs on a double leash within the fenced back area. Ensure that they are restrained and under your control at all times.
- Provide individual or group playtime for boarders at clients’ request and as directed by the practice or kennel manager. Ensure pets’ safety and well-being at all times.
- Prepare meals according to clients’ instructions, and feed animals. Note the volume of food eaten or rejected on cage cards or kennel logs.
- Withhold food and water from pets scheduled for or recovering from surgical procedures and anesthesia as directed.
- Rinse and refill water pails and dishes at least once daily. Wash and disinfect them as needed during pets’ stays.
- Monitor pets and kennels/cages for urine, feces, vomit, and blood. When noted, clean pets, runs, play areas, litter pans, and cages or runs immediately. Note incidents on cage cards or kennel logs.
- Collect and save urine and fecal samples as requested.
- Continuously monitor pets in your care. Pay particular attention to signs of distress, illness, or injury.
- Know the key symptoms of emergency medical problems likely to be exhibited by boarders. Immediately notify the kennel manager or veterinary staff members if you observe any of the following clinical signs:
- Under the supervision of the kennel manager or a veterinary technician, medicate and treat boarders, including the proper and safe administration of oral, otic, ophthalmic, and topical medications; insulin injections; and subcutaneous fluid therapy. Record treatments on pets’ cards and kennel’s logs or in progress notes in the computer.
- Maintain hospital building and grounds cleanliness, alerting practice owner or manager if repairs are needed.