Pet Care

Course CodeAAG100
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
  

Learn to Care for all creatures, great and small...

Like our human family members, pets don't come with an instruction book. Completing this course will give you a sound introduction to caring for a wide variety of different pets, whether they have legs or wings, scales or fins.

The ACS pet care course provides an outstanding opportunity for you to learn about your pets and how to meet their many and various needs. A sound foundation for the care of a wide variety of different pets is provided, giving you the tools to give your pets the best care possible. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Care
    • Laws and licenses
    • Animal Charities and Societies (eg. RSPCA, WSPA, Blue Cross)
    • Pet Care Needs (feeding, Watering, Shelter, Containment, Fencing, Caging, Protection)
    • Maintaining Health
    • Hygiene
  2. Cats
    • Breeds (Lang Haired, Semi Long Haired, Short Haired, Oriental etc)
    • Cat Selection
    • Allergies
    • Containment
    • Sexing
    • Desexing
    • Breeding
    • Newborn Kittens
    • Exercise
    • Behaviour
    • Hygiene
    • Feed and nutrition
    • Amount of food
    • Watering, Grooming
    • Travelling
    • Care for a sick cat (Signs of illness, Temperature, Common ailments, Skin disorders, Ticks)
    • Cats and wildlife
  3. Dogs
    • Dog Selection
    • Breeds (Pure and mixed)
    • Varying size and temperament
    • Grooming
    • Skin care
    • Inherited traits (aggression, deafness)
    • Containment
    • Breeding
    • Desexing
    • Exercise
    • Behaviour
    • Feeding
    • Canine Nutrition
    • Bones
    • Watering
    • Training
    • Travelling
    • Identifying sickness
  4. Birds
    • Bird Selection
    • Breeds (eg. Canaries, Finches, Budgerigars, Small Parrots etc)
    • Sexing
    • Desexing
    • Containment (Aviaries –selection, design, size, management)
    • Feed and Feeding
    • Watering
    • Grooming (Wing trim, Beak Trim, Nail Trim)
    • Hygiene
    • Catching and Restraining
    • Travelling
    • Caring for the Sick Bird
    • Signs of illness
    • Temperature
    • Supportive therapy
    • Common Ailments (eg. Abscesses, Alopecia, Apoplexy, Aspergillosis, Breathlessness, Constipation, Parasites)
    • Safety in the Home
  5. Fish
    • Fish Selection
    • Inside or Outside
    • Warm or Cold water
    • Number of fish
    • Types of fish (Tropical, Marine, Cold Water)
    • Costs, Size
    • Equipment: Tanks, Ponds, Pumps, Aquariums, Night lights
    • Water quality
    • Changing Water, Feed (Pelleted, live feed –Daphnia, Brine Shrimp)
    • Illnesses (Fungal, Bacterial, Parasites, Environmental)
  6. Rabbits
    • Rabbit Breeds (Large, Small and Dwarf)
    • Selection
    • Legality (Illegal in some areas)
    • Containment (Hutch or Cage)
    • Environment (temperature etc)
    • Feeding, Nutrition, Watering, Feed quantities and routine
    • Grooming
    • Handling
    • Moulting
    • Transporting
    • Sexing, Breeding
    • Identifying illness (Coccidiosis, Snuffles, Myxomatosisis, Sore Hocks, Pasteurellosis, Ear Canker, Heat Stroke, Cannibalism, Calcivirus Disease)
    • Care of sick rabbits
  7. Reptiles and Amphibians
    • Types (eg. Salamander, Frogs, Venomous snakes, Non-venomous snakes, Shingle-backed lizard, Tortoises, Terrapins, Axolotls, etc),
    • Selection,
    • Legal Issues,
    • Housing,
    • Environmental requirements (Moisture, Humidity, Warmth, etc),
    • Terrariums,
    • Problems (eg. Dehydration, Stress, External and internal parasites, Blisters, Scale Rot, Mouth Rot or Canker, Colds/pneumonia, Constipation and diarrhoea, Cannibalism, Incomplete sloughing of the skin -shedding of the skin)
    • Feed and feeding
    • General Care
  8. Guinea Pigs, Hamsters and Mice
    • Varieties, Selection
    • Containment
    • Sexing, Breeding
    • Grooming
    • Feeding, Watering
    • Illness (eg. Skin Problems, Abscesses, Mites, Ringworm, Fleas, Respiratory Infection, Vitamin C Deficiency, Otitis, Salmonella, Stripping etc)

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the general principles of pet care, as they relate to a wide range of different types of pets.
  • Describe routine care for cats.
  • Compare the characteristics of different cat breeds.
  • Describe routine care for dogs.
  • Compare the characteristics of different dog breeds.
  • Describe routine care for birds as pets.
  • Describe routine care for fish
  • Describe routine care for rabbits as pets.
  • Describe routine care for reptiles and amphibians.
  • Describe routine care for rodent pets.

What Do Pets Need?

No matter what type of pets you are looking after there are some general needs that must be fulfilled. Learn to cater to a wide variety of needs, including: 

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter/Containment/Protection
  • Hygiene
  • Controlling Pests and Diseases

Different Animals Need different Things

Diet is a key aspect of pet care; and it is important to recognise that different animals eat different things, at different stages of life. Consider dogs and cats for example.

There is still some debate over whether the domestic dog is a carnivore or omnivore. Generally it is accepted that they are omnivores with a carnivorous feeding preference. Some believe they are pure carnivores because dogs are essentially wolves. Though wolves themselves are not even pure carnivores. It is true they are a top predator and natural preference to hunt and kill animals to eat (they are meat eaters), but they are also opportunistic and will scavenge on insects, berries and other fruit. Dogs share much of the same DNA as wolves however they are not wolves – their DNA differs by 0.8%. Domestic dogs have evolved alongside humans to consume and utilise a variety of foods, hence they are not pure carnivores and requires a completed and balanced diet comprised of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. The specific dietary requirements of a dog may depend on the age, health, breed, activity level, gender (i.e. pregnant or lactating bitches have different dietary requirements than a dog), metabolic activity and temperament.

Dogs require life stage specific diets as puppies and mature age (7+ years old) dogs have different dietary requirements than adult dogs.

Puppies grow very quickly and require lesser or greater quantities of different nutrients than an adult dog. Prior to being weaned they are dependent on their mother’s nutrient-rich milk. The bitch will start to decrease in her milk production (usually around 6 -8 weeks after giving birth) and the puppies will need to start to be given solid food such as a high quality commercial puppy food.

Pregnant and lactating bitches have different nutritional requirements, as they will usually have a greater nutrient requirement. It is for this reason it will be recommended that they be fed a high quality premium puppy food. Puppy food usually contains more calories and nutrients – especially calcium and phosphorus – all of which can be depleted when the female is pregnant or lactating. It is also important that the pregnant or lactating bitch not be given large breed or giant puppy food (regardless of her breed), as these foods tend to have limits on their calcium or phosphorus levels and other nutrients.

Cats are true carnivores, obligate carnivore that must eat meat to survive. Cats cannot survive on a vegetarian diet. They are unlike dogs or humans in that they are pretty inflexible in their diet. They require a high protein diet with moderate fats and minimal carbohydrates. They also require over a dozen nutrients including, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.

After You Finish Study

When you complete this course you should have a much better foundation for understanding how to care for a whole range of different pets.
For some people, this will help you look after your own animals better; but for others, it may be the starting point for a business or career working with companion animals.
 
Some opportunities for people completing our course
This course may provide an advantage to those wishing to work in a pet shop, pet sitting or in a home care capacity for companion animals.
This is a good opportunity for people who like working with animals, but who also have good people skills. The work would not only involve educating customers on how to look after their pets. You may also influence their choice of purchase but may be even advising a customer with regard to the pet which is most suited to their situation. It would be important that you are competent handling a whole range of species from small rodents to cage birds, snakes and other reptiles as demand for these pets increases.

 

Want to provide pets with the best care possible?

A good starting point is to get some advice from a professional who knows the industry. We have a free counselling service which will put you in touch with just such a person; to help you understand your choices, your options and the industry; and to help make a choice about what your next step should be. Contact us today to take advantage of this free service.


ACS Student Comment:
Undertaking research reinforces learning, and it makes me learn more than I would on the course notes alone. The tutor’s comments are very useful. He also provides links to interesting materials relative to my course. Lana Hurley, Australia, Pet Care course.

 
Click here for our free career and course counselling service.

 


Credentials

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council



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  Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
  Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
  Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.
  Peter Douglas

Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and beyond.
  Horse Care
This book is an accumulation of information from biology, agricultural science and veterinary medicine. It looks to explore and explain the fundamentals of appropriate horse care aims and techniques. In doing so it will consider horsemanship as a combination of art and science.
  Poultry
Poultry are entertaining as pets and life sustaining as a commercial product! Whether you are seeking a book as a beginner poultry keeper or if you are embarking on a new career in poultry production or management, this book is for you. Easy to read, easy to understand and packed with easy to implement practical advice. Know how to care for the health and wellbeing of poultry and make production a commercially viable enterprise.
  Animal Health
Understand health issues, disease and injury prevention, inspecting animals, differential diagnosis and common illnesses. Animals can suffer from injury, poisoning, hereditary conditions, nutritional problems and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. A book for managing pets, farm animals, or wildlife.
  Caring for Dogs
Covers Breeds, Creating a healthy home for dogs, legal issues, dog biology, recognising poor health, parasites, illnesses, nutrition, reproduction, dog psychology, behavioural development, training tips, behaviour problems, grooming, working in the dog industry, and more. This is a book for dog owners, students and anyone interested in working with dogs. 79 pages, 71 colour photos.