Online Study Courses

The Basics of Canine Nutrition

This course is the foundation for all the others, insofar as here we learn about the topic from the ground up, starting with digestion, nutrients and food sources, and basic nutrient requirements of dogs.  I hear more misunderstanding, half truth and total fallacy in this core area than any other aspect of canine nutrition!  Here is the opportunity to learn the facts, before interpretation can reasonably be developed. It’s my goal and privilege to help guide  students through the maze of conflicting opinions and often outdated information,towards a thorough, confident understanding of  canine nutrition. It’s a starting point and an overview, but a comprehensive one nonetheless.

Part One is an examination of the essential nutritional needs of the domestic dog, and Part Two evaluates various methods of providing those needs; commercial diet, home made cooked diets, and various forms of raw feeding. We also look at feeding for life stages, and basics of supplementation, although individual needs and supplements are explored more fully in other courses. This course provides a solid foundational overview and teaches critical thinking, so the student can dispassionately evaluate various methods of feeding, and decide on which will suit an individual dog. It does not promote the superiority of any one type of diet over others, but rather bases itself on the premise that dogs require nutrients from appropriate food sources, and there are many good methods of delivering them. Always I emphasize the importance of balancing the science with the individual. Coverage is given to each group of nutrients and the foods that provide them, so the graduate emerges with a broad and sophisticated understanding of the topic.
The Basics of Canine Nutrition Course is suited to those who have an interest in knowing more about canine nutrient requirements and digestion, reading dogfood labels, identifying food sources of various nutrients, and generally making sound nutritional choices for their dogs . It will be of great value to those in the retail field, to veterinary assistants, breeders, behaviourists and trainers, TellingtonTouch practitioners, those involved in various sports and competitive work, and of course, anyone who simply loves and lives with dogs. It lays the groundwork for the Advanced Nutrition/ Dietary Formulation programmes and is an extremely important companion course to the Applied Herbalism course.
The course is done entirely online, and is available as mentored or non-mentored – the tuition fee for the mentored programme and Graduation Certificate is $600.00 plus texts; the unmentored version is $250.00.For the mentored version I am available to all students for marking, commentary, classroom discussion and support as needed.
Upon completion, you receive a Certificate – suitable for framing. There are sixteen modules, consisting of reading, research and written assignments, and you have unlimited time to complete the course, although I highly recommend sticking to a regular schedule of study. I reserve the right to remove students after 12 months of non-contact.

A full Course Overview is available by request.

Applied Canine Herbalism

Applied Canine Herbalism is a online, intensive course of study and practise which seeks to delve beyond the Basics of Herbalism, covered in the Foundations Course.. Graduates will possess a strong fluency in all topics covered, and will be skilled in the use of herbal products for their own dogs as well as empowered to work with others in a professional setting. As well as those seeking to work as herbalists, this course can greatly benefit anyone who works in a retail setting, as a trainer or in any aspect of canine-related topics. Graduates  will be able to advise others on appropriate selection of herbal medicines;  with an eye to safety, dosage and health/drug interactions and contraindications. I emphasize and mentor you through the process of growing, wildcrafting and making basic herbal medicines from glycerites and tinctures to poultices and capsules. Upon completion you will be awarded an Applied Canine Herbalism certificate equivalent to 600 hours of  academic time.

Some of the ground we cover includes; An Introduction to and History of Herbalism; terms and techniques of the home herbalist; classifications of herbs according to use; identification and harvesting of wild plants; we will acquaint you with basic delivery systems – what is a tincture, an extract, an infusion, a liniment, a poultice and so on. The Materia Medica provides an indepth look at 125  herbs, with an eye to proper and safe usage, possible reactions and interactions (with drugs, diet and health conditions as well as other herbs) and including many recipes for home use. We look at canine body systems, common conditions of the dog, a brief look at diet ( taking the Foundations of Canine Nutrition is strongly recommended along with this course)  and how to formulate for optimal healing.

We’ll look at using herbs for natural pest control, for anxiety, cancer prevention, gastric distress, heart disease, allergy, skin conditions, arthritis, UTI, liver disease, epilepsy, depression, nutritive support, and more. There is a heavy emphasis here on the practical as well as theoretical; students should learn to really use the herbs and become familiar with them thoroughly. A discussion group will be provided so students can interact and learn from one another and ask general questions as well. Of course, marking is private, and personal correspondence is essential.

A more detailed breakdown of each unit will be made available upon  request.

The course is entirely asynchronous; you may take as long as you need to complete the work. There will be  reading assignments, practical work and  written assignments you return to me for evaluation. These will consist of short essay questions, multiple choice and true or false, as well as case studies and practicum write-ups.

The cost of the Applied Herbalism Course before texts, is $ 800.00

In addition, please factor in the cost of the texts, plus equipment such as vials, glass jars and bottles, and the herbs themselves. This is difficult to estimate as most students will already possess much of the equipment, but it’s good to take this additional cost into consideration when budgeting for the programme.

Further information and Registration forms are available by contacting me at

Advanced Nutrition/Dietary Formulation

Go beyond the Basics!  into both deeper theoretical and advanced practical knowledge – working with the National Research Council’s 2006 Recommendations, to balance both raw and cooked home made diets for healthy dogs…food safety, sources, supplementation of home made diets and much more. Develop optimal recipes for your own dogs, expand your knowledge of nutrients, foods, health and prevention. This course paves the way for learning to formulate growth diets, as well as nutritional and supplemental protocols for a wide variety of canine health conditions, in future short specialty courses. An essential for the committed home feeder.

Advanced Nutrition is now open to new students; more details available by contacting me at


Short courses on nutritional management of specific conditions:

These will be 12 – 16 week courses guiding you through the basics and intricacies of feeding dogs with issues: obesity, allergy,  cancer, IBD, pancreatitis, and more. Also will be offering an 8 week special course on feeding, supplementing and caring for your senior canine companion. If interested, let me know! I  run them as demand suggests.

29 thoughts on “Online Study Courses

  1. Hi Cat

    Iam very interested in the Canine Nutrition Online Study. Can you pleasesend me the full course outline and advise the amount of study hours and the cost. Thanks
    Samantha Bonilla

    • You get a certificate, yes of course. I can’t “certify” anyone to practise canine nutrition professionally, but I am a recognized name in the field and completion of a course carries credibility. There is no certifying body I know of with regard to canine nutrition – it seems a bit ridiculous to me, but so far, that’s the status quo. 😉 I can guarantee you will learn a great deal, that much I can certify!

  2. I am very happy to find your blog. I would love to take a course on canine nutrition. I have a 6 month old English Springer Spaniel, who is exhibiting signs of hip dysplasia. I am studying human nutrition and know the benefits of proper diet. I am sure this can also play a huge part in my pups life. Can you please let me know of any upcoming classes and when they are available, Thanks.
    Melissa Hanks

  3. Hi Melissa,
    Oh – you want to get the diet absolutely precise if your pup has HD at 6 months! I’m sending you the details now, but a consultation might be a better bet for you! Cat

  4. I am very interested in these on-line courses, I have two cats and one of my daughters and her husband have a very loved dog, please forward some information, Kind regards, Julie

  5. It would be great if you can forward me the information regarding the Foundations of Canine Nutrition course. Love you blog!

  6. Hi julie and Gloriak – Thank you! I plan to add more entries very soon – it’s spring and I’m in the middle of gardening frenzy, but that won’t last forever. Info is on its way. The courses are very comprehensive, and a lot of fun too – if I say so myself. Thanks for the interest!

    Cat 🙂

  7. I really want to do this please send me the information again. I have been super busy with getting a new business off the ground and new club.

  8. Hello I’m interested in the canine nutrition course with mentor. Could you tell me your estimated study time a week (for a slow learning student) I don’t have good short-term memory unfortunately. Do we have to pay all upfront or would payments be ok?? I’m in the US

  9. Hi Chloe – Nice to meet you! It is a question I find hard to answer, because what one person means by slow-learning may not be all that slow to another. What I CAN tell you is: the average length of time for completion is 18 months: you have as long as you need (if it’s twice that time it’s not a problem) and I am there every step of the way to support your learning experience.
    While I do appreciate full payment I am also a realist : I could discuss payments with you for sure. Email me at my business address – – and I can provide you with a full course outline and discuss payment options as well.

  10. Hi, I have been practicising nutrition for 12 years and now interested in nutrition for dogs. I would like information on your Advanced Nutrition Course. many thanks, Kathleen

  11. Would you mind resending the invite to the Advanced Nutrition Course? I can’t seem to get in….Thanks!

    • Hi Jacqueline,
      is it the basics programme you’re looking at? We have a special on right now, year end discount – and you can register any time, as the courses are all self-paced. If you’d like to chat more, please email me at my business address – – and we can get you started. 🙂

  12. Hi,

    I am a Canine trainer and behaviorist in India. I have been trained under Shirin merchant. Shirin Merchant is one of India’s few, if only, qualified practicing canine behavior counselors.

    Shirin is an associate of world-renowned animal behaviorist and trainer John Rogerson.

    She is also the founder of the company ‘Canines can care’ that conducts dog related courses in India and founder of the magazine ‘woof the mag with a wag’

    I am her student and I am looking at becoming a pet nutritionist. Canines preferably.
    I came across your website when I was looking for courses abroad.

    I would like to find our if you offer any nutrition courses.
    I would love to know more about them. I know of how renowned your company is and incase you don’t offer any could you help me with any pet nutrition courses you know of.

    India is in dearth of good nutrition courses and I would really like to become one since our dogs here need the right knowledge on pet nutrition.

    You could be of great help to me

    Awaiting you reply

  13. Hi Brinda,
    I’m not sure I understand – did you get a chance to read the page here? I offer two levels of canine nutrition online and two herbalism courses. If you would like to discuss taking a course, please email me and I will send you the full course outline, textbook requirements and gladly answer any questions you may have.:)
    I look forward to hearing from you,

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