This in-depth Nutrition Course examines the role of nutrition in Canine and Feline Behaviour, allowing the successful student to evaluate and understand the effect that diet has on their client’s pet’s behaviour and to offer guidance, along with the client’s veterinarian, in order to achieve optimal nutritional balance. Students may enrol at any time.


CPD points for SAVC accredited courses are only valid for qualified veterinarians and para-veterinary personnel in South Africa.


In this first unit we look at the evolution and domestication of the dog and cat and how they exploit new resources in a changing environment. We investigate the feeding behaviour of dogs and cats, taking into account the feline design as a hunter. The student will learn about digestive health, major nutrients and what constitutes a balanced diet, as well as how to interpret the labelling of commercial pet food.

Unit 2 explores the Digestive system, the glands of the digestive tract, how food is digested and absorbed and the role of both digestive microflora and bacterial fermentation, as well as how food is metabolized into energy. We go on to explore the impact of fear, stress and anxiety on the animal’s health and how to use diet to improve stress in dogs and cats. This unit also looks at obesity, Diabetes Mellitus and critical illness in dogs and cats.

The focus of this unit is the defining life stages in cats and dogs and the nutritional requirement of each stage. From breeding dogs and cats, to growing kittens and puppies, through healthy ageing cats and dogs and lastly to working dogs.

In this final unit we investigate the role of nutrition in disease. We look at various types of disease from Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Hepatic, Renal and Urinary tract disease, to Dental, Dermatological and Orthopaedic disease.


The successful completion of ThinkNutrition qualifies you to enrol for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.


Course Author

Jo Scott

Course Type

Correspondence online

Course Duration

The duration of this course is approximately 12 months, with a maximum time frame of 24 months if the Do-it-in-your-own-time option is chosen.

Course Format

Each of the four Modules comes with a comprehensive set of course notes that build into an authoritative reference text and a workbook to help students develop and integrate ideas throughout the course.

Each Unit of the course notes is e-mailed out to students as a separate e-book.

The coursework for this course is conveniently completed online. We supply you with a specially designed Assignment Workbook to assist you in completing the components of the coursework, so you can use your own computer and preferred word processing software. You will then submit these completed assignments to COAPE International via the internet, they are marked and returned back to you the same way.

Students also have access to a dedicated COAPE Student Facebook page where additional support is available.


  • Students must be computer literate, have the use of a computer with internet access and be able to operate basic programs such as Microsoft Word.
  • A good command of the English Language is essential.