Canine Internships

attractive young woman playing with puppy

StudioThreeDots/Getty Images

There are many internship options available for those wishing to gain professional experience working with dogs. Students majoring in animal behavior, animal science, and other related fields can benefit greatly from completing canine internships.

What Are Some Available Opportunities?

NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dogs Services)

Offers service dog internship opportunities at their headquarters in West Boylston, Massachusetts. Interns can work directly with dogs through the kennel attendant or early learning center positions. NEADS also seeks volunteers for state representative roles, which have duties that are carried out in the individual’s home state (media presentations, representation at local events, and general marketing work).

The Animal Care Sanctuary

A nonprofit no-kill shelter accepts interns at its 129-acre facility in East Smithfield, Pennsylvania. The summer internship runs for 12 weeks from May to August. Interns may be involved with animal care, training, grooming, socialization, veterinary treatments, and quarantine procedures. They also must present a project at the conclusion of their internship. Applicants must be enrolled in an animal related degree program (or be a recent graduate). It is a paid opportunity with a biweekly stipend of $200, and free housing is provided.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Accepts high school and college interns for its Kennel Enrichment Program. Students will work directly with dogs in the kennels and help with some training exercises. Interns at this guide dog school must commit to working at least 20 hours per week for a minimum of 8 weeks. Internships are unpaid.

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Offers internships to high school and college undergraduates. Internships may focus on training, behavior, veterinary care, or other areas as desired. Students must also complete research or a project during their time at the facility; college credit is available. A veterinary externship program is also offered for students enrolled in vet school.

Nashville Paw Magazine

Offers several internships for aspiring pet writers and photographers. The Tennessee publication accepts interns for the following program areas: film and videography, graphic design and illustration, journalism and creative writing, photography, and public relations marketing. Internships require a 10 to 20 hour per week commitment, with some of those hours being worked off-site to finish projects and assigned tasks. While these opportunities are unpaid, students will be eligible for college credit hours. They will also build a strong portfolio to demonstrate their professional qualifications.

Best Friends Animal Society

Offers a four-month internship working with dogs at their large animal sanctuary in Utah. Interns must be at least 20 years old to apply for the program. Five-week internship opportunities are also available, though these are classified as general internships and may include work with a wide variety of species, not just dogs.

PAWS Animal Shelter

Offers several different internship options at its companion animal facility near Seattle, Washington. Animal care interns are tasked with dog walking, training, and adoption service support. Programs interns work on marketing materials, special off-site events, and administrative support. Foster care interns work with young puppies and nursing mothers, maintain a detailed foster care database and give medication and vaccines as directed by supervisors.

It is also important to remember that many internship opportunities may not be advertised publicly. Be sure to check with local colleges and universities, veterinarians, doggie daycare businesses, dog grooming salons, animal rescues, humane societies, and other such organizations to see what internship programs might be available in your local area. A well-crafted query letter and resume might even entice one of these groups to create an internship for a well-qualified candidate, even if they did not previously accept interns at their facility.

Additional internships with dogs may be found through an online keyword search or by viewing some of the other animal-related internship pages on this site including our listings of animal behavior internships, pre-veterinary internships, and nutrition internships.