Kennel supervisor

Kennel supervisor article illustration


Kennel supervisors monitor the daily operations of the kennel under their supervision. They ensure that the pets kept in kennels are being properly handled and cared for. Kennel supervisors supervise the working staff and maintain contact with the owners of the pets while they drop off or pick up the pets.

The duties of a kennel supervisor include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring animals’ health by administering vaccinations, checking for signs of illness or disease, and observing their behavior
  • Training staff members in proper dog handling techniques and care procedures
  • Assisting with the adoption process in consultation with adoption counselors, including creating profiles for potential owners based on their preferences
  • Supervising kennel workers to ensure that they are performing their jobs effectively
  • Determining whether animals should be separated from the pack or if any special accommodations are needed to ensure their well being
  • Monitoring the cleanliness of kennels to ensure that they are properly cleaned and sanitized
  • Ensuring that all kennel staff members are complying with regulations regarding animal care and safety
  • Monitoring and record keeping of animals housed in the kennel
  • Maintaining a record of all animals housed in the kennel facility or shelter and their current status

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to kennel supervisor:

pet boarding operator
kennel manager
Dog / cat kennel supervisor
dog / cat kennel manager
kennel operator
dog / cat boarding manager
dog /cat boarding supervisor
pet boarding manager
animal care supervisor
animal care manager
pet boarding supervisor

Working conditions

Kennel supervisors work in animal shelters, animal control facilities, or veterinary hospitals and clinics. They may also work in private kennels or animal rescue organizations.

Most kennel supervisors work full time, and some may work evenings, weekends, or holidays. They may be required to be on call 24 hours a day in case of emergencies.

Kennel supervisors typically work in indoor and outdoor settings that may be noisy, dusty, and smelly. They may be exposed to bites, scratches, and other injuries from the animals.

Minimum qualifications

Kennel supervisors typically need a high school diploma. Some kennel supervisors may also have an associate or bachelor’s degree in animal science, animal husbandry or a related field. These programs teach students about animal behavior, nutrition, breeding and other topics.

Kennel supervisors typically receive on-the-job training. This training may include learning the company’s policies and procedures, safety practices, how to use the facility’s equipment and how to handle animals. Training may also include learning how to use the facility’s computer systems to track animal information and manage the facility’s finances.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Kennel supervisor is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Kennel supervisor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to kennel supervisor.

kennel worker
animal shelter worker
guide dog instructor
dog trainer
dog breeder

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of kennel supervisor. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of kennel supervisor with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

animal hydrotherapist
animal massage therapist
alternative animal therapist
wedding planner
animal therapist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of kennel supervisor.

  • Animal nutrition: Aspects of how different animal species are fed and provided water. Different types of animal food, the quality criteria for animal food and methods to feed and give water to animals.
  • Animal welfare legislation: The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.
  • Physiology of animals: The study of the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical and biochemical functioning of animals, their organs and their cells.
  • Anatomy of animals: The study of animal body parts, their structure and dynamic relationships, on a level as demanded by the specific occupation.
  • Animal behaviour: The natural behavioural patterns of animals, i.e. how normal and abnormal behaviour might be expressed according to species, environment, human-animal interaction and occupation.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of kennel supervisor.

  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Manage schedule of tasks: Maintain an overview of all the incoming tasks in order to prioritise the tasks, plan their execution, and integrate new tasks as they present themselves.
  • Control animal movement: Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal’s, or a group of animals’, movement.
  • Advise customers on appropriate pet care: Provide information to customers on how to feed and care for pets, appropriate food choices, vaccination needs, etc.
  • Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
  • Manage staff: Manage employees and subordinates, working in a team or individually, to maximise their performance and contribution. Schedule their work and activities, give instructions, motivate and direct the workers to meet the company objectives. Monitor and measure how an employee undertakes their responsibilities and how well these activities are executed. Identify areas for improvement and make suggestions to achieve this. Lead a group of people to help them achieve goals and maintain an effective working relationship among staff.
  • Recruit employees: Hire new employees by scoping the job role, advertising, performing interviews and selecting staff in line with company policy and legislation.
  • Follow written instructions: Follow written directions in order to perform a task or carry out a step-by-step procedure.
  • Protect health and safety when handling animals: Protect health and welfare of animals and their handlers.
  • Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
  • Work with veterinarians: Consult veterinarians and assist them in the examination and nursing of animals.
  • Instruct on animal care: Provide employees in animal care with information on how to treat the animal, the animals eating habits, nutrition and medical condition and needs.
  • Supervise work: Direct and supervise the day-to-day activities of subordinate personnel.
  • Monitor the welfare of animals: Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals’ accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.
  • Assess animal behaviour: Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.
  • Follow verbal instructions: Have the ability to follow spoken instructions received from colleagues. Strive to understand and clarify what is being requested.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of kennel supervisor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Animal training: Animal responses to specific conditions or stimuli. Animal behaviour, ethology, learning theory, training methods, equipment, as well as communicating and working with animals and humans.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of kennel supervisor. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Feed pets: Make sure that pets are given appropriate food and water on time.
  • Manage a small-to-medium business: Manage the organisational, financial and day-to-day operation of a small-to-medium enterprise.
  • Provide an enriching environment for animals: Provide an enriching environment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, and including adjusting environmental conditions, delivering feeding and puzzle exercises, and implementing manipulation, social, and training activities.
  • Assist in transportation of animals: Assist with the transportation of animals, including the loading and unloading of animals, the preparation of the transport vehicle, and maintaining the wellbeing of the animal throughout the transport process.
  • Provide first aid to animals: Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Work in shifts: Work in rotating shifts, where the goal is to keep a service or production line running around the clock and each day of the week.
  • Stay alert: Stay focused and alert at all times; react quickly in the case of unexpected events. Concentrate and do not get distracted performing a task over a long period of time.
  • Plan dog grooming work: Assess customer wishes and plan dog grooming work;. Assess the dog’s head shape and its type of coat, recognising signs of abnormalities, and select the appropriate methods and equipment.
  • Provide dog walking services: Provide dog-walking services, including activities such as agreement of services with the customer, selection and use of handling equipment, interaction with the dog, and safe and responsible dog walking.
  • Create animal records: Create animal records according to industry relevant information and using appropriate record keeping systems.
  • Maintain animal accommodation: Make sure animal enclosures such as habitats, terrariums, cages or kennels are in the appropriate and hygienic condition. Clean the enclosure and provide new bedding material if called for.
  • Maintain professional administration: File and organise professional administration documents comprehensively, keep customer records, fill in forms or log books and prepare documents about company-related matter.
  • Administer appointments: Accept, schedule and cancel appointments.
  • Show social competences: Ability to interact effectively with other people.
  • Schedule shifts: Plan staff time and shifts to reflect the demands of the business.
  • Implement exercise activities for animals: Provide exercise opportunities that are suitable for respective animals and meet their particular physical requirements.
  • Handle veterinary emergencies: Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.
  • Advise on animal welfare: Prepare and provide information to individuals or groups of people on how to promote the health and well-being of animals, and how risks to animal health and welfare may be reduced. Provide recommendations for corrective actions.
  • Groom animals: Prepare the environment for grooming, select the correct grooming equipment and grooming methods for the animal. Apply occupational health and safety principles of basic animal anatomy and physiology, including the identification and reporting of any abnormalities.

ISCO group and title

5164 – Pet groomers and animal care workers

  1. Kennel supervisor – ESCO
  2. Kennel Supervisor Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: Photo by Pranidchakan Boonrom
Last updated on November 28, 2022

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