Pet Food Business

Learn about manufacturing pet foods and the food and nutrition needs of different types of pets, including dogs, cats, birds, fish, rodents and reptiles.

Course Code: BAG227
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn about the business of Pet Food

  • Understand manufacturing pet foods
  • Learn about the food and nutrition needs of different types of pets
  • Provide better care for dogs, cats, birds, fish, rodents and reptiles
  • Develop a foundation for working in manufacturing and supply, or providing advice on pet food.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Animal Food
    • Introduction to Pet Food Industry
    • Industry origins from 19th century
    • Principles of Taste
    • Principles of Nutrition
    • Ingredients and feed components
    • Protein
    • Carbohydrates
    • Fats
    • Minerals and Vitamins
    • Minerals & Vitamins for Cats, Dogs, Birds, Fish, Reptiles, Rodents and Rabbits
    • Food Categories - dry, semi moist, retorted, pasteurised, chilled, pellets, flakes, etc
  2. Processing and Manufacturing
    • Processing technology and equipment
    • Chillers and Freezers
    • Documented Production Practices and Controlling Risks
    • Potential Risks
    • Personal Hygiene
    • Contamination Risk
    • Ingredient Controls - purchasing, receipting, storage, pest control, cleaning, premises and equipment
    • Processing Techniques and Quality
    • Heat Treatment and Process Control
    • Air Exchange Heat Gains
    • Occupancy Heat Gains
    • Heavy Work
    • Lighting Heat Gains
    • Sampling, Testing Calibration
    • Record Keeping
    • Product Tracing and Recall
    • What Triggers a Recall
    • Using Batch Numbers and production Dates
    • Issuing a Recall
    • Voluntary vs Involuntary Recalls
    • Identifying new ingredients - Techniques
    • Insects as a pet food source
    • Insect Meal and Dry Food
    • Insects and Domesticated Fowl
    • Insects as Feed for Dogs and Cats
    • Insects for Fish and other Aquatic Life
    • Insects for Reptiles and Amphibians
    • Insects and Nutrition
    • Gut Lading
    • How to Raise Insects
    • Mealworms
    • Black Soldier Fly Farming
  3. Preservation and Storage
    • Introduction
    • Freezing
    • Why Freeze Pet Food
    • Problems with Freezing
    • Vacuum Packaging
    • Refrigeration
    • Chilling Meat
    • Chilling Fish
    • Chilling Milk
    • Drying or Dehydration
    • Storing Produce
    • Vegetables - curing, cooling
    • Storing Root Crops
    • Grain -silos, storage bags, bunkers, underground pits
    • Seeds
    • Cold Storage with or without Humidity Control
    • Cold and Cool Room for Seed Banks
    • Preserving
    • Artificial Preservatives
    • Nitrates and Nitrites
    • Sorbates
    • Antioxidant Preservatives
    • Sulphites
    • Chelating Agents
    • Natural Preservatives
  4. Canine Nutrition and Feeding
    • Introduction - Unique Canine Factors
    • Caloric Need Calculations
    • Protein Sources
    • Carbohydrate Sources
    • Fat Sources
    • Raw Diet Controversy, Risks and Benefits
    • Problems with Raw Feeding
    • Canine Digestive System
    • Canine Dietary Requirements
    • Nutrition Depending on Age - puppies, senior dogs, aged dogs
    • Nutrition Depending on Health Status - pregnancy, lactation, underweight
    • Protein Sources - eggs, different meat types
    • Fat Sources - peanut butter, olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil
    • Carbohydrate Sources - rice, sweet potato, pumpkin, etc
    • Probiotics
    • Obese Dog Diets
    • Protein
    • Water
    • Nutrition Depending on Activity
    • Working and High Performance Diet
  5. Feline Nutrition and Feeding
    • Introduction - Unique Feline considerations
    • Wet Food versus Dry Food
    • Resting Metabolic Rate Calculation
    • Protein Sources
    • Raw Food Diets Controversy, Risks and Benefits
    • Feline Digestive System
    • Feline Dietary Requirements
    • Nutrition Depending on Age - birth to 12 months, senior and aged
    • Nutrition Depending on Health Status
    • Pregnant or Lactating Diet
    • Underweight Diet
    • Overweight Diet
  6. Feeding Birds, Fish, Rodents, Rabbits, and Reptiles
    • Bird Feeding
    • Parrots
    • Pellets for birds
    • Mash/Chop for parrots
    • Seeds, Beans, Nuts - for birds
    • Treats for Birds
    • Bird Feeding Fowl
    • Stages of Growth
    • Feed Components for Fowl
    • Poultry - pellets, grain, mash
    • Chickens
    • Egg layers diet - growers laing feed, layer feed
    • Feed for Broilers - starter feed, finisher feed
    • Duck Diet
    • Turkey Diet
    • Fish Feeding
    • Pelleted Fish Feed
    • Live Fish Feed - Daphnia, Shrimp, Worms
    • Night lights for fish
    • Fishmeal and Oil meals
    • Fish Food Production - beef heart, legumes, seafood & vegetable mix
    • Rodent feeding
    • Mice diet & what to avoid
    • Rat diet and what to avoid
    • Hamster Diet and what to avoid
    • Guinea Pig diet and what to avoid
    • Chinchilla diet and what to avoid
    • Common rodent provisions
    • Rabbit Feeding
    • Rabbit Digestion
    • Rabbit Diet - blended diet, pellets, fresh foods, grasses/ hay, leafy greens, vegetables, calcium
    • Reptile Feeding - snakes, lizards, chelonians
    • Food for reptiles
    • Snakes
    • Chelonians - turtles, tortoises -aquatic, terrestrial
    • Lizards - review of various species
  7. Toxins in Animal Foods
    • Toxic Components to Avoid
    • Allium Family plants
    • Responses to Poisoning
    • Responses to Allergies
    • Emergency Response
    • Types of Additives in Pet Foods
    • Antifungals
    • Antioxidants
    • Pellet Binders
    • Feed Flavours
    • Digestion Modifiers
    • Metabolism Modifiers
    • Health Modifiers
    • Consumer Acceptance
  8. Regulatory Controls for the Pet Food Industry
    • Introduction
    • HACCP Plan
    • Labelling
    • Ingredient Lists
    • Disposing of Animal By Products
  9. Feed Selection, Diet Formulation and End-Product Sales
    • Introduction
    • Ultimate Goals of Pet Food Marketing in store or online
    • Understanding the Purchaser
    • Taking a New Product to Market
    • Wholesaling
    • Retail, Online or Mail Order
    • Online Sales
    • B2B
    • Farmers Markets

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.


  • Describe principles in processing and manufacturing pet food, including techniques to optimise flavour, digestibility, and nutritional value.
  • Describe management systems for the prevention and control of contaminants in food preservation and storage, including specific risk management strategies.
  • Describe nutritional needs for dogs and specific diet formulation for dogs at different life stages.
  • Describe nutritional needs for cats and specific diet formulation for cats at different life stages.
  • Describe general nutritional needs for other small pets and examine relevant feeding schedules.
  • Explain control and testing of food related toxins and define potential health implications of poisons or contaminants in foods.
  • Examine regulatory controls and legislation relevant to the production and selling of animal food.
  • Explain the appropriate selection of food for a pet to respond to particular needs, demonstrate understanding of food labelling, including common acronyms and terminology, and describe ways of marketing products in a retail setting.

What is the Scope of this Course?

Pet food manufacturing is a massive industry. Globally it was worth over US$110b US annually in 2020. Businesses operating in this industry earn revenue in many different ways in : 

  • production of ingredients,
  • source and supply raw material, 
  • production of preservatives and additives (processing components), 
  • the development of equipment for manufacturing and testing,
  • via the education and training sector, 
  • logistics and transportation of goods,
  • animal sales and marketing initiatives, 
  • veterinarian recommended diet supplements and formulations,
  • toxins and contamination control techniques and testing,
  • regulation and governance (to reduce or prevent quality control issues).  


Complimentary Courses (Other courses we offer that may fit well with this course)

  • Animal Feed and Nutrition
  • Various animal health courses
  • Natural animal health
  • Cat care
  • Dog care
  • Aquarium Management
  • Bird care
  • Herpetology
  • Pet Care

Who is this Course For?

  • Pet Food Manufacturers and their staff
  • Pet food suppliers - wholesalers, retailers, traders
  • Anyone needing to feed a lot of pet animals - pet breeders, kennel and cattery staff, animal shelter staff, etc
  • Others who  deal with animals wanting a better understanding of animal foods and nutrition - veterinary staff, zoo staff, etc

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