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Small Animal Nutrition Available Through Online Courses: Not Just for Veterinarians

written by: Tania Faria•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 7/5/2011

Pet owners, animal trainers and veterinarians all have an interest in animal nutrition and there are online courses in small animal nutrition available for people of all education levels and interests.

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    Online Courses Available for All Interest Levels

    Online courses in small animal nutrition have a lot to offer the professional and hobbyists alike. Nutrition is as important to animals as it is to humans for fitness, preventative measures for health issues, obesity concerns and the overall health of the animal. The courses available are not built specifically for the pet health professional, although several offer continuing education credits or can be used for other degree course credits, and they are not necessarily built for people who have no experience with pet health.

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    What to Expect

    The student can expect flexibility in hours and difficult coursework. Any time animals are involved, there is speculative study because the animal is unable to tell the student what is and is not working. This is especially true with small animals, as they do not show the same signs of being “sick" that large animals do. In an online course for small animal nutrition the student can expect to learn basic nutrition information including an animal’s natural diet, supplements for animals that eat processed or bagged foods and proper balance of protein and vegetation by animal type.

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    Veterinarians or Veterinarian Assistants Courses

    If the student is looking to become a veterinarian or a veterinarian technician, most schools require an animal nutrition course before graduation. Many of the schools have a more general nutrition course focusing on livestock and larger animals however several also offer more specialized nutrition courses as electives including companion animal nutrition. The veterinary student can expect some other advanced topics including the biochemistry of nutrients and digestive anatomy. Colorado State University offers an online course titled Pet Nutrition and covers nutrients and special diets for small animals. Rutger’s, Purdue, Oklahoma State and North Carolina state all offer online animal nutrition courses that can be taken by anyone who meets the pre requisites.. The pre requisites include previous biology credits.

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    Pet Owners and Trainers Benefit from Small Animal Nutrition

    Animal trainers and pet owners know the importance of nutrition and there are online courses especially for them. Oftentimes, pet owners will find themselves wandering the stores not sure what wet, dry or blended food might be best for their pets. Food allergies can cause small pets to act out and nearly 60% of all behavior issues in pets can be attributed to diet. One example is that if a cat has a food allergy they may urinate outside the litter box. This appears at first to be a training issue but if the trainer or pet owner is familiar with nutrition principles they may need to change the pet’s diet instead.

    Pet Food Bible offers free online courses in small animal nutrition. The classes focus specifically on dogs and cats and are taught by a licensed veterinary technician. The course is delivered via email and does not provide anything but education. This course will not provide or substitute for college credits or continuing education credits. However if the student is a pet owner trying to better understand their pet’s nutrition this is one of the few free options.