What is an Animal Nutritionist?

An animal nutritionist specializes in the dietary needs of animals in captivity, such as pets, farm animals, and zoo animals. Their purpose is to promote and increase understanding of how an animal’s diet can affect the animal’s health, well-being, and productivity.

Animal nutritionists are different than animal dieticians in that their work revolves around creating nutritional and lifestyle plans and menus for animals, rather than working from a strictly clinical aspect.

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What does an Animal Nutritionist do?

An animal nutritionist is an animal scientist who applies their knowledge of anatomy, physiology and nutrition, to animal food and diets. Animal nutrition combines a number of factors, such as physics, mathematics, food processing, chemistry, biochemistry, animal behaviour and economics.

An animal nutritionist looks at the nutritional and physical needs of an animal and formulates balanced rations of food for them. They look at an animal’s caloric intake, level of activity, and condition. For example, the food intake and needs for dairy cows may vary from the food intake and needs of beef cattle. 

An animal nutritionist checking on the nutritional and physical needs of a dairy cow.

The job varies, depending on the company or organization the animal nutritionist is working for. For the most part, the day revolves around giving advice to animal owners so they can make good dietary plans for their pets, livestock, or zoo animals.

Other duties of an animal nutritionist might involve:

  • testing pet foods
  • developing feed plans and nutritional programs for animals
  • evaluating the chemical composition and nutritional value of grass, feed, forage, and other supplements
  • studying animals in laboratory trials
  • maintaining the quality control of certain feeds 
  • investigating nutritional disorders

Are you suited to be an animal nutritionist?

Animal nutritionists have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of an Animal Nutritionist like?

The workplace of an animal nutritionist varies according to the type of work they do. They may work in a classroom, a laboratory, or a farm. They can also be found working for government departments, agricultural advisory bodies, international development agencies, educational and research institutions, animal food production companies, and as freelance consultants.

Animal Nutritionists are also known as:
Animal Nutrition Specialist Animal Nutrition Scientist