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Animal Nutrition

Course Code: AHTT 2111
Faculty: Science & Technology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course will examine the dietary requirements of companion and domestic animals and how nutrition affects animal health. Students will also be provided with the knowledge required to counsel clients on animal life stage and preventative nutrition and available supplements and foods. Enrollment is limited to students in the Animal Health Technology Program.

Course Content

The major topics in the course include the following:

1. Basic veterinary nutrition:

- the basic nutrients required by animals and nutrition terminology

- ingredients used in commercial and veterinary exclusive diets

- pet food label interpretation and regulatory bodies

2. Canine and feline veterinary diets and supplements:

- features and indications of life stage diets available for growth, adults, and senior pets

- features and indications of therapeutic diets available to prevent and manage various medical conditions

- calculation of feeding amounts

- use, types, and features of supplements including essential fatty acids, vitamins, joint supplements

- homemade recipes and raw food diets

3. Marketing and promotion of veterinary diets:

- promotion of veterinary diets through client education and effective use of marketing tools

- merchandising veterinary products and gaining owner compliance

- program implementation including dental programs, senior pet programs, and weight loss programs

- counselor designations available, software tools, client education materials, website resources

5. Large animal nutrition:

- equine nutritional needs for all life stages, and disease prevention including founder and colic

- comparison of nutritional requirements for dairy and beef cattle, with emphasis on feeding for different types of production

- swine breeding herds and specific feeding recommendations

6. Nutrition of small and exotic pets:

- nutritional requirements of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, chinchillas, and ferrets

- basic nutritional needs of  pet birds and captive reptiles

Methods of Instruction

This course involves two hours per week of classroom instruction and two hours per week of laboratory activity.

Means of Assessment

Quizzes                                                                                           20-30%

Classroom Assignments & Projects                                                      20-40

Professionalism (Preparation, Participation & Attendance)                        10

Final Examination                                                                               30


Grades:      A+ 95-100,      A 90-94,      A- 85-89,      B+ 80-84,      B 75-79,      B- 70-74,

                   C+ 65-69,         C 60-64,      C- 55-59,      P 50-54,        F 0-49.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of Animal Nutrition 2111, students will be able to:

1.   identify the six basic nutrients, their role and importance in the body, and ingredient sources.

2.   provide an overview of the pet food industry in Canada, and the opportunity and benefits of veterinary exclusive diets and client education.  Differentiate commercial veterinary exclusive diets from grocery, pet store, homemade, and raw food diets based on research, innovative ingredients, and clinical support.

3.   identify the unique nutritional needs of growing animals, including the unique requirements of large breed puppies.

4.   make recommendations in a companion animal setting for all life stages based on the needs of individual patients, be familiar with the main veterinary exclusive diets available in small animal practices, and be able to calculate feeding amounts both manually and using software tools.

5.   educate clients about veterinary diets designed to assist in the prevention and management of dental disease, joint disease, lower urinary tract disorders, renal, liver, and cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal conditions, food and environmental allergies, diabetes mellitus and other medical conditions.

6.   identify the unique nutritional needs of senior pets, and how senior diets are formulated to address these concerns.  Educate owners about the prevalence of the senior pet population and confidently make diet recommendations for these patients.

7.   identify the unique nutritional requirements of the critical care patient, calculate feeding amounts, as well as educate owners about the nutritional diets designed for these patients.

8.   contribute to client education and practice profitability by sharing basic knowledge of merchandising veterinary products, effective diet promotion based on education, program implementation, and increasing client compliance. 

9.   design an effective weight loss plan for overweight and obese patients and successfully implement a weight loss program in a clinical setting.

10.  identify the unique nutritional needs of small mammals, birds and reptiles.

11.  be able to interpret and understand pet food labels and describe the regulatory bodies for pet food.

12.  discuss nutritional supplements available, indications, and the research and clinical studies upon which they are based.

13.  review basic nutrients required by horses, assessing a variety of forages and grains for type and quality.

14. compare the basic nutritional needs of dairy vs. beef cattle, for milk production, cow-calf operations, breeding herds and finishing cattle.

15.  discuss the nutritional needs of sheep, lambs, and ovine breeding flocks in general.

16.  gather information about cost to feed, type of feed, living conditions and profit with regard to swine nutrition and breeding.

course prerequisites

Successful completion of Year 1 of the Animal Health Technology Program

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.