Unit of competency details

ACMGAS203A - Complete animal care hygiene routines (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMGAS203 - Complete animal care hygiene routinesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 28/Nov/2017

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 11/Nov/2010


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  11/Nov/2010 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency covers the responsibilities and procedures required to provide daily care of animals, including the cleaning of animal housing and grooming or cleaning of animals under supervision.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit is applicable to new entrants to the animal care and management industry. Animal care may occur in a wide variety of workplaces, including retail pet stores, kennels and catteries, shelters, veterinary practices, zoos, animal research facilities and others.

In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all units of competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Confirm workplace animal care routine schedules

1.1. Daily, weekly and periodical workplace routine  schedules are identified and confirmed with supervisor.

1.2. Personal workplace responsibilities are clarified.

1.3. Workplace schedule and recording documents are collected and updated as required.

2. Check animals

2.1. Animals  under personal responsibility during shift are clarified.

2.2. Animal status  is verified via records or verbal reports.

2.3. Animals are counted and basic behaviour is noted at beginning of shift.

2.4. Changes in animal numbers, behaviour or condition are reported to supervisor.

2.5. Animals under personal responsibility are checked and status reported.

3. Maintain a clean workplace 

3.1. Floors benches and other flat areas are cleaned in accordance with workplace protocols.

3.2. Animal housing areas are cleaned in accordance with workplace protocols.

3.3. Waste and soiled bedding is disposed of in accordance with workplace protocols.

3.4. Damage to housing and equipment is identified and reported.

3.5. Post-cleaning procedures are completed.

4. Complete hygiene practices for animals

4.1. Hygiene control  methods for a range of animals are identified and practiced.

4.2. Basic animal hygiene inspection is performed and cleaning needs of nominated animals are identified.

4.3. Animals are bathed or cleaned under supervision.

4.4. Grooming techniques are determined in accordance with individual animal requirements.

4.5. Animals are groomed according to individual needs under supervision.

5. Complete post-hygiene care of animals

5.1. Animals are returned to housing.

5.2. Washing equipment is cleaned and stored.

5.3. Grooming tools are cleaned, checked and stored.

5.4. Damaged tools are reported to supervisor.

5.5. Supplies are audited and documented in accordance with workplace procedures.

5.6. Workplace documents  are updated as required.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • employ safe and environmentally responsible organisational systems and procedures when working with animals
  • identify common indicators of the presence of disease,injury, compromised health or distress in animals
  • interpret and report basic workplace information related to the daily care of animals
  • maintain the highest standards of hygiene and infection control at all times to reduce the risk of infection and cross-infection
  • observe, document and report findings on animal health and behaviour using workplace protocols and procedures
  • participate in arrangements for maintaining the health and safety of all people and animals in the workplace
  • prepare materials, tools and equipment
  • use equipment and materials correctly and in accordance with manufacturers' specifications
  • literacy skills to follow sequenced written instructions, and record information accurately and legibly
  • oral communication skills/language to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification and seeking advice from supervisor
  • numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • interpersonal skills to relate to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities
  • use safe manual handling techniques and/or equipment
  • use safe waste handling and disposal procedures.

Required knowledge 

  • animal care and hygiene principles
  • animal housing cleaning techniques and equipment
  • animal temperaments and behaviours related to the associated hazards and risks to animals and staff during animal handling and cleaning of housing
  • basic animal grooming techniques and equipment
  • basic awareness of natural animal behaviour relating to the characteristics of the species, age, health status and social needs
  • common diseases, ailments, injuries and other impacts on animal health and wellbeing
  • housing, exercise, social and activity needs of animals
  • indicators of poor response to treatment or management of young, ill, injured or compromised animals
  • organisation policies, procedures and requirements, including OHS and emergency procedures
  • principles of animal welfare and ethics
  • protocols, legal and ethical considerations in documenting observations, measurements, treatments and decisions on animal care
  • regulations relating to the disposal of hazardous waste
  • relevant occupational health and safety (OHS) and animal welfare legislative requirements and codes of practice
  • safe animal handling techniques and procedures
  • safe use of chemicals and cleaning agents
  • terminology used to identify animals and describe their behaviour
  • workplace hygiene standards, disinfectants, cleaning agents, cleaning techniques and cleaning equipment and materials.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

  • confirm animal care routines required, clean and maintain animal housing and related facilities
  • maintain animal comfort and health through cleaning and grooming of animals
  • report and document personal animal care duties
  • monitor animals and report issues as required according to workplace protocols and procedures.

The skills and knowledge required to complete animal care hygiene routines must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment of this unit is to be practical in nature and will be most appropriately assessed in ananimal care workplace or in a situation that reproduces normal work conditions. Workplaces can include pet shops, breeding or boarding kennels and catteries, aviaries, companion animal training, grooming establishments, animal shelters, zoos, mobile animal facilities and veterinary practices.

There must be access to a range of animals as well as relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.Assessment must cover a minimum of one species from at least two of the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates).

Method of assessment 

To ensure consistency in one's performance, competency should be demonstrated, to industry defined standards, on more than one occasion over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances and where possible, over a number of assessment activities.

The assessment strategy must include practical skills assessment. Suggested strategies for this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions
  • third-party evidence
  • workplace documentation
  • portfolio.

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Workplace routines  may include:

  • assisting others in completion of tasks within limits of current level of competence
  • catching and handling animals under supervision
  • checking animals for signs of distress, illness and injury
  • checking security and repair of animal housing, equipment and general facility
  • cleaning and grooming animals under supervision
  • cleaning and preparation of animal cages, enclosures, exhibits, displays, general work areas, office, reception and customer service areas
  • confirming all animals are in their cages or enclosures
  • documenting work tasks in accordance with workplace procedures
  • operating general equipment used to complete workplace cleaning routines
  • picking up rubbish, removing branches or other unsightly items not part of exhibit or animal housing
  • reporting animal health concerns to supervisor
  • stocktaking and re-supply of items
  • timeframes for completing tasks.

Animals  may include:

  • animals commonly encountered within the industry workplace and may cover both native and introduced species
  • animals from the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates).

Animal status  may include:

  • counting animals
  • observing and reporting unusual behaviour for nominated animal:
  • aggression or docility (depending on animal)
  • disinterest in surroundings, other animals, people or usual stimuli
  • excessive licking, scratching and rubbing
  • lethargy
  • nest building
  • self mutilation
  • trembling
  • vocalising
  • observing and reporting indicators of illness or injury:
  • bleeding
  • changes in drinking or eating patterns
  • lameness or reluctance to move and vocalising when attempting to move
  • swelling
  • unusual amounts, colour or texture of faeces.

Maintaining a clean workplace  may include:

  • animal housing:
  • adjusting animal housing features according to weather and climatic conditions
  • collection and removal of faeces
  • completing cleaning routines for sick or quarantined animals to avoid cross-contamination
  • emptying and cleaning water and feeding receptacles using approved cleaning products and methods
  • refilling water containers
  • removing rubbish from housing and surrounding areas
  • removing soiled bedding and disposing in approved area
  • replacement of housing furniture items, such as vegetation and behaviour stimulation items under direction of supervisor
  • resetting of clean bedding materials
  • washing down of toilet areas to remove urine and faeces using approved cleaning products and methods
  • general work area cleaning:
  • emptying rubbish bins, picking up general litter within the workplace
  • vacuuming, sweeping, floor cleaning
  • using non-disrupting cleaning methods to control potential biohazards, when required
  • washing and wiping down work areas, benches and equipment
  • storing equipment to avoid slip and trip hazards
  • reporting damaged equipment.

Hygiene control  practices may include:

  • aseptic technique
  • checking animals skin, coat, shell, carapace or other external features for:
  • foreign objects such as grass seeds, sticks or other vegetation and hardware, such as nails
  • general condition
  • signs of coat, skin, shell and carapace shedding
  • signs of damage, including cracks, breaks, splits, exudates and, tenderness
  • signs of dirt, faeces, food or other items
  • signs of parasites, including presence of eggs, blisters or other lesions, rubbed areas of coat, skin texture changes and colour changes
  • completing infection control procedures as required
  • grooming animals to remove shedding coat or skin, if required, or for general health and wellbeing
  • isolating potentially contagious or ill animals under supervision
  • personal hygiene practices especially washing and drying hands (e.g. before and after animal contact)
  • providing housing furnishings to assist animal to complete own shedding process
  • referring to supervisor animals that may require:
  • wound and injury management treatment
  • examination in relation to potential contagious conditions
  • repairs to shell
  • use of personal protective equipment
  • washing animal to remove dirt, foreign objects, parasites and other undesirable items.

Workplace documents  may include:

  • animal health records
  • chemical register
  • diary, rosters and task completion and timeframe records
  • equipment use, damage and repair register
  • facility damage and repair register
  • incident reports
  • message recording systems
  • stock control records
  • safe operating procedures.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

General animal studies

Competency field

Competency field 

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units