Pet Care

Online Pet Care course to study pets at home. Study pet first aid, pet behaviour, types of pets, feeding pets and useful grooming techniques.

Course Code: AAG100
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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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.

 
 
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

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

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

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We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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, Di

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

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 fo





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Melissa Leistra

Melissa has a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Deakin University and Bachelor's degree specialising in personal development, health and physical education. She has enjoyed teaching Hospitality in the areas of commercial cookery and food and beverage. Her experience includes 16 years teaching health and nutrition and working in the hospitality industry. Melissa enjoys living a self-sustainable lifestyle on a farm and raising all types of animals. She is an experienced vegetarian/vegan cook and loves to create wholesome food using her slow combustion wood stove.

Kara Wight

Kara gained an HND in Animal Care and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Applied Bioscience and Zoology. She has a wide range of experience working with animals such dogs, small pets, birds, zoo animals, British wildlife and reptiles. Kara gained this experience working within animal parks, canine rescue centres and a wildlife hospital. She also managed an animal care training facility for a college. At this training facility she instructed and lectured students within Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing from National Certificate level to Higher National Diploma levels.

Kara also gained an HND in Photography and Imaging and has 5 years’ experience within this sector. She ran a small portraiture and wedding photography business and also exhibited work in art exhibitions. Kara gained more experience photographing sporting and festival events.

Kara currently runs a pet care and training business in the UK and also has entry to undertake her MSc in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law this academic year.

Jade Sciascia

Former Business Coordinator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Administrator (Recruitment), Senior Supervisor (Youth Welfare). International Business Manager for IARC. Academic officer and writer with ACS for over 10 years, both in Australia and in the UK.

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