Veterinary Academy Blog

How to Volunteer with Animals

How to Volunteer with Animals

Table of Contents

Volunteering with animals can be a wonderful college and veterinary school application boost, a great opportunity to get experience working with animals, and just plain fun. There are countless chances for you to volunteer to work with animals abroad and at home—you just have to know where to look!

Where to Volunteer with Animals at Home

When you’re beginning your search for a position, be sure to keep your parameters broad. If you limit yourself to only one kind of facility or type of animal, you may be missing out on great opportunities elsewhere.  

Search for volunteer openings at nearby zoos, veterinary clinics, animal and wildlife reserves, and local Parks & Recreation departments to start. As you research, you may come across the names of other local nonprofits, animal volunteer programs, or research organizations that also offer internship or volunteer experience.  

Application Tip: If you’re looking to volunteer in the summer, many locations will have winter application deadlines. For instance, many zoos look for volunteers on a seasonal basis only so though they might not have openings during the school year, they’ll have plenty of need during the summer.  

As a first-time volunteer, you might not be able to find a position that will allow you to be hands-on with animals right away. That’s okay! Once you gain some experience, you’ll be better suited for opportunities that allow for those kinds of tasks. 

Give your application a boost by attending Zoo Medicine & Management or Rescue Center Costa Rica. 

Animal Volunteering Abroad

There are countless organizations that offer opportunities for you to volunteer with animals abroad. It would be helpful to begin your search by deciding where you’d like to volunteer first to narrow down your options. From there, you can begin to compile a list of organizations that facilitate volunteer trips abroad. You could also decide to search by animal species or type, searching for “marine conservation volunteer programs” or “elephant volunteer programs,” for instance. 

Be sure to do thorough research on every program or organization you’re thinking of applying to. You can use sites like International Volunteer HQ or Volunteering Solutions to find reputable programs that you can trust. You’ll also want to discuss each option thoroughly with your family.  

While volunteering at home can be a no-cost experience, volunteering abroad can require various financial support. Even if you’re applying to attend a program that doesn’t charge you for lodging & food, you still have to consider travel costs, the need for any potential vaccines, and other outside expenses. Set a budget with your family before you apply to any programs, and don’t hesitate to inquire about costs before committing to anything!  

If you’re looking to go abroad, Veterinary Academy programs are for you. Check out Elephant Sanctuary & Dog Rescue in Thailand or Wildlife Health & Conservation in Belize. You could earn up to 60 veterinary hours by attending!