Animal Therapist

Care for and treat animals with behavior problems.
picture of Animal Therapist

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $81,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Animal Therapists do?

Animals that are frightened or in pain are hard to live with. They may cower and shake, act out and bite, and end up homeless as a result. Animal Therapists try to break this cycle by providing both mental and physical therapies to help animals heal so they’ll be better companions to their humans.

When an animal comes to you — an Animal Therapist — for treatment, you start by spending a great deal of time talking to its owner. You ask what symptoms the animal is showing, what therapies the owner or another Animal Therapist has tried, and how well those therapies have worked. You also watch the owner interact with the animal. You then work with the animal yourself, looking for signs of fear, aggression, pain, or irritability.

You may perform massage, acupuncture, or Reiki treatments on your patients; supervise them as they swim in a pool; or help them learn to walk using a cart. You keep your pockets full of cheese and meat to encourage your patients to move. At the end of the day, you’ll be covered in slobber from grateful patients.

Your secondary patients, the owners, also need treatment. You talk to them about how to help the pet at home; teach them how to help the pet stretch, walk, or eat; or show them how to train their dogs to stop jumping, barking, or pulling on the leash. You won’t need to provide cheese or meats to these clients, however, because to them, seeing their pets improve is reward enough.

Should I be an Animal Therapist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Educational Therapist

    How to become an Animal Therapist

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Animal Therapist-related education!
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