Pet Shop Assistant

Pet shops sell pets and everything needed for care of pets.

These usually obviously deal with the needs of dogs and cats; but commonly also rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice, fish and caged birds.

Some countries allow pet shops to sell cats and dogs but in many countries this is illegal on welfare grounds.

Shops will also sell a wide range of food, equipment and other accessories associated with pet care. In this job you will need to be confident handling many different domestic animals. You will also need the ability to carry out routine tasks such as cleaning out cages and have good people skills.

Pet ownership has lead to a huge demand for pet related products. Many pet shops are now part of multi national chains and may even include a veterinary practice. There are still privately owned and run pet shops but it would very much depend on their location and proximity of alternative suppliers as to whether these would be viable.  Pet shops also have to compete with internet suppliers. However, pet shops have the advantage of selling pets that people can see before they buy and also of providing customers with advice about their potential purchases from knowledgeable staff.

Risks and Challenges

This is a good opportunity for people who like working with animals but who also have good people skills.  The work would not only involve advising customers on their potential choice of purchase but also of how to look after their pets and may be even persuading a customer to change their purchase if you think it is inappropriate with regards to animal welfare. It would be important that you are competent handling a whole range of species from small rodents to cage birds and even snakes and other reptiles as these become more popular in the pet trade.

How to become a Pet Shop Assistant

You don't need any particular qualifications to get into this job. However, there is a range of courses that may help you to prepare for this type of work. You may also be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship. An interest/qualification in marketing or business skills would also be useful. To run your own shop you would need to have the necessary capital to finance the operation especially in the first 3 years whilst the business is being established.