Animal Nutrition is a constant balancing act
There are a lot of varying factors to consider when designing an animal’s diet. Proper nutrition requires more than just feeding animals certain kinds of foods. A unique balancing act is necessary to create a nutritious diet for all animals, and here are some important aspects that go into that design.
The Protein predicament
Many pet owners consider protein to be a buzz word. However, not all proteins are created the same. There is a stark difference in the quality of protein, which is actually determined by its levels of amino acids. In simpler terms, some proteins are able to be broken down and used by some animals while other proteins are not. For example, dogs need 22 different kinds of amino acids, although they are limited to synthesizing just twelve of those amino acids. There are also recommended fat percentages in protein for different categories of dogs. When selecting protein, the higher percentages do not always signify the highest quality. That goes for all animals.
An eye for problems
Animal nutritionists need to keep a watchful eye on their animals because diet can be a major factor in the health of their skin. Some animals may develop rashes which can actually be remedied with proper nutrition. This intertwines with a natural and holistic approach to healing minor ailments. This could also be a direct result of a reaction to a food allergy. Animal nutritionists need to be mindful of how animals react to foods as part of their routine monitoring.
The age factor
Animals are similar to humans in regards to dietary changes that come with age. Animal nutritionists frequently cater their meal preparation to the age of the animal. There are certain ailments, such as kidney issues, that can require certain dietary restrictions in animals. Muscle maintenance and healthy digestion in older animals may not come as easy, which places more of an emphasis on diet as it can help those problem areas.
An animal’s health is partly contingent on diet while it also relies a great deal on exercise. This kind of dual role is important when planning out a nutritional diet for animals. An animal nutritionist may want to consult a veterinarian to gain a complete understanding of an animal’s strengths, weaknesses and needs. This kind of collaboration could result in a longer, healthier life for animals.
Animal nutritionists have to be very wary about allergies when planning out meals. Some animals have food allergies to beef, wheat or corn. This may also require some brainstorming in terms of what to substitute. Meanwhile, some foods can induce serious allergic reactions. For example, dogs are extremely allergic to macadamia nuts as they can lead to paralysis in extreme cases. Also, artificial sweeteners within foods can damage a dog’s liver. There are lots of other animals who are susceptible to allergies and remaining unaware of those specifics could be damaging to animals.
It goes without saying that pregnant animals are going to require more nutrition because they are eating for more than just themselves. Some animals give birth to a litter while larger animals berth just one offspring at a time. There needs to be additional nutrition provided during this important stage. The same also applies for offspring as different animals mature at different rates. Animal nutritionists plan out diets in accordance with those various stages of growth.
Animal nutritionists need to be reactionary as the identification of nutrient deficiencies is a telling sign that corrective measures must be taken. One of the most common signs is water deficiency, particularly since more than half of animal bodies are made up of water. That means more water for animals during warmer weather. There are also signs to look for in terms of nutrient deficiencies, such as sunken eyes, decreased saliva, loss of weight, or a reduced appetite. The inability to identify these deficiencies could lead to long-term issues which can become rather debilitating.<!- mfunc feat_school ->
The following bachelors and Master’s programs offer career-focused instruction delivered by trained nutritionists with experience in the field. Find out more what each individual course of study offers through the locations below.
Liberty University offers Online Nutrition Degrees. with a M.S. in Nutrition and a Nutrition Certificate.
George Washington University's Online Master's in Integrative Medicine with a Concentration in Nutrition specialize in promoting health and wellness through nutrition.
American University offers two different programs focused on Nutrition and Health. Their Online Master of Science in Nutrition Education will prepare you to become an influential leader in nutrition education and advocacy while promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices in your community and beyond. Or Earn your Master of Science in Health Promotion Management from AU’s award-winning program in just 20 months with $10K available in scholarships upon enrollment (qualifier is a 3.0 GPA).
UNC's MPH Nutrition concentration prepares students to provide, evaluate and communicate nutritional and dietary guidance that improves individual and population-wide health outcomes. In addition to developing their knowledge of nutrition science, students will explore behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on individuals and communities.
Arizona State University offers an Online Master of Science in Nutritional Science - Dietetics. Along with an Online Masters in Medical Nutrition
Bay Path University's health and wellness certificates build the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to upskill your abilities in your profession or to provide a robust concentration to your degree program for a specific role. Learn more about the Certificate in Food Science and Safety certificate.
If you want to work in fitness and nutrition, take the first step toward a new career with one of Penn Foster's accredited, online fitness and training programs. These affordable programs are all offered online, and can be taken at your own pace.
Grand Canyon University offers an M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics.