35483 - Nutrition of Companion Animals

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Students will study the nutritional requirements and the practical feeding of dogs, cats and horses as well as the main properties of foodstuffs that are suitable for these animal species.

Course contents

The course of Nutrition of Companion Animals is part of the Integrated Course of NUTRITION AND ANIMAL FEEDING.

The objective of the Integrated Course is to provide the student with knowledge relating to the nutrition and feeding of livestock (cattle, sheep and goats, buffaloes and pigs) and pets (dogs, cats and horses). The student will know the energy and nutritional needs of the different animal species and the feedstuffs that can be used to satisfy them. The interactions between nutrients, digestive and metabolic processes as well as production performance will be addressed. The student will learn how to formulate rations to support animal production in quantitative and qualitative terms as well as the well-being of all animal species. The course will also deal with the legislation relating to animal feeding as well as characteristics, technological and conservation treatments, and possible contamination of raw materials.

The Integrated Course will be divided into 4 courses:

- Animal nutrition (theoretical lessons and practical activities held by Prof. Andrea Formigoni and Dr. Ludovica Mammi)

- Large animals feeding (theoretical lessons and practical activities held by Prof. Andrea Formigoni)

- Nutrition of companion animals (theoretical lessons held by Prof. Giacomo Biagi and practical activities held by a contract teacher)

- Feed technology (theoretical lessons and practical activities held by Prof. Alberto Palmonari)

At the beginning of the course, detailed information will be provided on the internal organization of the theoretical and practical lesson timetable, as well as on the examination methods and registration.

Specifically, the following teachings will be dealt within the course of Nutrition of Companion Animals

Physiological and nutritional bases of dog, cat and horse nutrition. Role of nutrients in the nutrition of dogs, cats and horses. Energy and nutritional requirements. Nutrition of bitches and queens during pregnancy and lactation. Nutrition of puppies and kittens from birth until weaning. Nutrition of the elderly animal. Nutrition of the sporting dog. Obesity. Adverse reactions to food. Feline urolithiasis. Nutritional management of sporting horses. Formulation of a homemade diet for dogs and cats.


1. Biagi, Chiofalo, Cutrignelli et al. Nutrizione e Alimentazione del Cane e del Gatto. Edagricole-New Business Media, 2021.

2. Case, Daristotle, Hayek, Foess Raasch. Canine and Feline Nutrition (3rd Ed.). Mosby, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 2011.

Teaching methods

Oral lessons and practical training regarding the formulation of diets for dogs and cats.

Students with special needs are invited to contact the teacher by e-mail to organize the teaching and examinations in the best possible way.

Assessment methods

Final exam of the integrated course consists of a practical test and a written exam.

1. The practical test (lasting 40 minutes) consists in the formulation of a diet for farm or companion animals using a specific feed formulation software. Students are asked to formulate a diet that helps solving a specific nutritional issue.

2. The written exam (lasting 30 minutes) consists of 54 multiple-choice questions and the description of a feedstuff (10 minutes available to the student). Students will be able to access the written test only after passing the practical test.

Students will get up to 3 points from the practical test, up to 27 points from the 54 multiple-choice questions (0.5 points for each correct answer, a wrong answer does not reduce the final score) and up to 3 points from the feedstuff description.

Teaching tools

Personal computer and beamer; software for the formulation of diets

Office hours

See the website of Giacomo Biagi

See the website of Carla Giuditta Vecchiato