Applied Animal Science Program

Small Animal Care

Approximately 37% of households in the US own a dog and 32% of households own a cat.  In 2006 almost 50% of pet owners considered their pets to be family members.1 In 2009 pet care was a $45 billion industry and continues to grow rapidly.2 The Applied Animal Science degree with a concentration in Small Animal Care prepares students to work in this thriving industry in a variety of occupations.

Under the guidance of Thompson School faculty, students in Small Animal Care learn how animal business and facilities operate and what opportunities exist for them in this diverse field.  Through guest lectures and field trips they also learn directly from knowledgeable animal shelter personnel, animal control officers, kennel owners and managers, animal trainers and veterinary medical staff. 

During the first year of study, students learn about animal care and handling, nutrition, first aid, disease prevention and pharmacology.  Their hands-on experience begins early with grooming and restraint classes using live animals.  In the second year, students continue to put theory into practice at local animal shelters where they practice hands-on skills such as vaccination, phlebotomy, medicating, physical examination and first aid. 

During the second year, students may choose elective courses to focus on their field of interest. The following tracks are available to students within the Small Animal Care concentration:

  • Veterinary Assistant training (Click here to learn more about the role of the vet assistant in veterinary medicine)
  • Animal Welfare/Animal Control
  • Kennel Management/Grooming Business
  • Animal Behavior/Animal Training

1American Veterinary Medical Association, US Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook (2007 Edition)
American Pet Products Association, (8 Oct 2010)