Pet Care And Management

Course CodeAAG100
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


This course is a great starting point for anyone wanting to work with pets; or people already working in the pet industry who perhaps need to improve their knowledge and skills.

  • Learn to care for pets of all types
  • Work with pets
  • Study the health needs of animals.
  • Study in your own time and at your own pace.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Care
  2. Cats
  3. Dogs
  4. Birds
  5. Fish
  6. Rabbits
  7. Reptiles and Amphibians
  8. Guinea Pigs, Hamsters and Mice.


  • Discuss the general principles of pet care, as they relate to a wide range of different types of pets.
  • Describe routine care for cats.
  • Compare the characteristics of different cat breeds.
  • Describe routine care for dogs.
  • Compare the characteristics of different dog breeds.
  • Describe routine care for birds as pets.
  • Describe routine care for fish
  • Describe routine care for rabbits as pets.
  • Describe routine care for reptiles and amphibians.
  • Describe routine care for rodent pets.

What You Will Do

  • Develop timetables for husbandry tasks to be undertaken over a typical week, caring for a specific breeds of animals (several, but your choice).
  • Recognize things that indicate a dog is sick – diet and temperament
  • Develop a checklist of things which should be done regularly to ensure the good health for pets
  • Determine things a person should consider when trying to decide what type of pet to acquire
  • Compare the requirements and restrictions for keeping different animals as pets in your locality
  • Discuss the advantages/disadvantages of keeping different types of cats
  • Explain why is it particularly important to de-sex cats and when de-sexing should be carried out
  • Discuss the nutritional requirements of a cat, and identify the cause of N.S.H., and its early signs.
  • Describe problems associated with long haired dogs
  • Discuss a dog’s sleeping requirements if it lives in a temperate climate
  • Explain problems can arise through over feeding a dog
  • Identify ideal diet for a dog
  • Explain why puppies under 6 months should be allowed to exercise themselves
  • Determine common signs of a general disease condition in a dog
  • Explain why birds moult.
  • Discuss the characteristics of large, open aviaries, and all their requirements
  • Discuss how a small bird should be caught in its cage
  • Explain what breathlessness indicates in a bird
  • Discuss factors are common in the care of all fish
  • Explain why it is important to maintain the correct level of oxygen in water for fish
  • Discuss the differences in requirements for caring for salt water fish compared with freshwater fish
  • Explain the handling, caging, feeding and other aspects of rabbit care.
  • Discuss different colours and breeds of rabbits
  • Discuss the environmental/caging needs of all reptiles
  • Discuss the feeding requirements of reptiles
  • Explain the handling of reptiles.
  • Discuss the care of both sick and healthy amphibians and reptiles.
  • Explain how you determine the sex of a guinea pig, and at what age do they reach sexual maturity
  • Explain the temperature guinea pigs should be kept at, and what happens if the temperature drops
  • Explain the feed and nutritional needs of rodents.
  • Discuss what can happen if a female hamster with a litter is disturbed
    • # Explain how many litters a year could a female mouse produce if not prevented from doing so
    • # Explain health and disease problems associated with mice.

What type of Cat?

Cats are usually considered a better choice of pet than dogs for people living in relatively confined spaces (eg. flats or townhouses),as they require less exercise than dogs, and generally tend to their own needs in that regard; and also because they are independent and aloof.

Different breeds of cats will have different personalities. Many will enjoy petting and human contact, however generally cats will show some degree aloofness and can spend long periods alone, either sleeping or lying in the sun. If you are planning on getting a cat you will need to determine your local regulations regarding registration, desexing, containment and vaccination. It is also important to note that many people are allergic to cats, in fact cat allergy is one of the most common pet allergies. Generally this is an allergy to the cats fur or spit. It can result in symptoms including hay fever, watering and itchy eyes, skin rashes and eczema, and in asthmatic children it can cause asthma attacks. Like all allergies, repeated exposure will make each reaction more severe. People who are allergic to cats will not just become tolerant of it with time and it is a very serious consideration when you are purchasing a pet. If you have young children, asthmatics or people with allergies to other environmental agents (dust mites, pollens etc) you should check to see if they are allergic to cats before you purchase one.

The age at which you buy a cat is not critical (as much as what it is with a dog). Most people prefer kittens, but an older cat will adapt to a new situation relatively fast if it receives plenty of food and attention. Wherever you buy a cat from (eg. pet shop or breeder), be sure that it comes from a clean premises. Also, note the general appearance of the cat, that it looks healthy and clean. Kittens infected with fleas for instance, are an indication of a lack of care on the part of the breeder.

One advantage of buying from a breeder, is that he can provide you with a history of your particular cat. Pedigree cats come with papers documenting the pedigree. You should determine whether the kittens mother has been vaccinated against infectious feline enteritis and cat flu, as well as whether she has been de-wormed. A breeder should not begin to wean kittens from their mother before four weeks of age. The age at which kittens are ready to leave their mother is six weeks at the earliest, though some breeders prefer to wait as much as twelve or thirteen weeks old before allowing new owners to take kittens from the mother.

What Type of Dog?

Unlike cats which will integrate into a family irrespective of age; older dogs tend to be hard to break old habits with. Dogs are best introduced into a family as a puppy. There are disadvantages to puppies (eg. They require toilet training, they tend to chew things when young and teething and can be very energetic). Puppies are however cute and lovable, and many people forgive these initial problems easily, as they enjoy the antics of their new pet. The ideal age to acquire a new weaned puppy is about 6 weeks. At this age, the puppy will be totally dependent upon you for its feeding, companionship, and protection; and if you fulfil these requirements, a strong bond will develop between you and your dog.

Important things to consider when selecting a dog include:

• Permission – important if you rent, or live in a housing estate or complex with body corporate

• Yard size – will the dog have enough room for exercise and play? If not, is there an off-leash park nearby?

• Indoors – if your dog will be in the house, consider short haired breeds that are affectionate and easily controlled/trained

• Fencing – some breeds (Kelpies, Dalmations, Collies) are exceptional jumpers and diggers

• Gardens – gardens and Terriers, or Alaskan Malamuts do not mix. Other active breed will also enjoy excavating your garden beds if you are unable to keep them entertained with other things

• Experience – if you are new to dog ownership steer clear of dominant or aggressive breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans and Cattle Dogs, as they really need expert training to avoiding biting and attacks.

• Alone time – how often are you home? If you are out most of the day consider getting two dogs as companions for each other.

• You – how fit are you? How strong? How mobile? A large breed will require you to be strong enough to handle it, an active dog is a poor choice if you have arthritis or limited mobility.

• Lifespan – as a general rule of thumb, giant breeds die younger than small and miniature breeds

• Guard duty – if you are looking for some degree of security, it is generally accepted that a home with a dog is less likely to be burgled. However while a Doberman or Rottweiler would make a formidable guard dog, a terrier or Chihuahua is a better option if you have small children. Black dogs are generally more effective, compared to their pale counterparts.

• Lifestyle – do you travel and would you take your dog? If not, who will care for them, or will you put them in a kennel?

• Time – are you prepared to spend time playing and exercising with your dog, grooming and training

• Money – can you afford the breed you want? And, once you have your dog, can you afford to feed it and provide the proper veterinarian checks, vaccinations and treatments? Consider pet insurance if it is available, as vet bills for accidents or disease treatments can be steep.

• Legalities – check your local laws and by-laws. Large dogs or ‘aggressive’ breeds may not be permitted in some residential areas, or may require formal permission which comes with requirements for training. Check laws regarding off-leash areas, noise complaints and possibly any issues with yard size.

If you are not sure if this is the course for you, then why not have a look at our other Pet Care or Agriculture courses.
We hope we have answered your questions. But if you would like more information, then why not visit our frequently asked questions page or email us. 

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