Pet Food Press Releases

Online companion animal nutrition program set to launch at Illinois

Pet lovers and veterinary professionals wishing to learn more about the nutritional needs of their furry friends will soon be able to complete an online certificate program in companion animal nutrition. The first-of-its-kind program draws on the expertise of global leaders in companion animal nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois.

“Because a majority of people consider companion animals to be a part of the family, health and longevity are a primary focus. Similar to humans, adequate nutrition is a key component to living a long, healthy life,” says Kelly Swanson, professor of companion animal nutrition and program coordinator. “Despite the status of pets in the household and strong market growth, a lack of trained professionals in the companion animal nutrition field exists.”

The online certificate program, which will launch in August of 2019, addresses this critical need. Designed for industry professionals, veterinarians, animal scientists, pet breeders, and pet enthusiasts, the program consists of four course options, three of which are required for the certificate.

  • Companion Animal Nutrition
  • Pet Food and Feed Manufacturing
  • Advanced Companion Animal Nutrition
  • Pet Food Formulation, Regulations, and Market Trends

These courses will provide advanced training in canine and feline metabolism; nutrient functions and requirements; pet nutrition and disease; pet food ingredients; principles of diet formulation; pet food processing technologies; good manufacturing practices; and many other topics. Continuing education (CE) credits will be earned upon completion of each course.

Swanson says certificate-holders will expand their knowledge in pet nutrition, make valuable connections with leading researchers and industry professionals around the globe, and enhance their stature in the industry. “This certificate program will extend knowledge and expertise to anyone interested in pet nutrition around the world,” he adds.

The new program expands the non-traditional professional educational opportunities from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Animal Sciences, including a one-year non-thesis master’s degree.

“The Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois is uniquely positioned to offer this certificate, as it was the first in the U.S. to establish a program in companion animal nutrition and has maintained an active research and teaching program in the area since 1973,” says Rodney Johnson, department head and professor. “Faculty who will be teaching in the certificate program are not only active researchers and instructors, but they provide ongoing leadership to professional societies and serve on several advisory boards within the pet food industry.”

To learn more about the program, visit

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