ANFS Companion Animals

Majors & Minors

Animal Science - Companion Animal Degree

Program Overview

The animal science - companion animal option will prepare students for a broad spectrum of companion animal management and care. Coursework is provided in the species general biology, as well as physiology/anatomy, nutrition, genetics, reproduction/prevention of reproduction, welfare and current issues, behavior and training, infectious disease, animal shelter/rescue management and issues, companion animal disease and veterinary care. Students will receive a balance of science-based curriculum and hands-on experience.

Students can focus their studies one of the emphases below:

  • Science emphasis: Includes the necessary hours of chemistry, math and physical/biological sciences for those interested in graduate work or veterinary medicine.
  • Management emphasis: Focuses on business and agricultural economics courses.

Highlights of the Animal Science - Companion Animal Major

  • Gain a broad exposure to the companion animal industry, including small businesses, corporate business, research centers, veterinary hospitals, non-profit agencies (shelters, service/therapy dogs, rescue), shows and competitions and field trials within the industry.
  • Student get hands-on experience with health assessment, behavior and body techniques, language and training techniques and safe handling and welfare assessments.
  • As a companion animal major, you will get instruction from veterinarians, enjoy a variety of professional guest speakers and take part in live demonstrations and field trips.

Skills and Learning Outcomes

As a student in this program, you will learn to:

  • Apply science-based knowledge to a broad spectrum of companion animal species, including dogs, cats and a variety of other species kept for companionship or service.
  • Understand the biology, care, management and issues surrounding companion animals, including the unique aspects of the human-animal bond and the diverse roles of animals in society.
  • Communicate effectively about companion animal health, biology and welfare to a broad audience, including industry, non-profit and health professionals, the broader public and youth.
  • Evaluate, interpret and manage companion animal behavior.
  • Become proficient in handling common companion animals.

Career Opportunities

The companion animal program will provide a solid foundation for a career in animal science. The program lends itself well to many interdisciplinary areas, such as humane education, 4H animal programs and youth leadership, human health and assistance through animal-assisted therapy, protection and service animals, interdisciplinary research in the basic disciplines (nutrition, genetics, reproduction, physiology), veterinary health professions, animal behavior and animal welfare. Following is a list of potential job titles as well as employers that have hired graduates of the program:

Potential Job Titles

  • Humane Society Educator
  • Groomer
  • Research Lab Technician
  • Pharmaceutical Research, Sales and Marketing
  • Nutrition Research, Sales and Marketing
  • Researcher, Veterinary, Human and Animal Health Fields
  • Trainer/Behaviorist
  • Animal Control/Welfare Officer
  • Animal Photographer
  • Breed Association Staff
  • Veterinarian/Veterinary Technician


  • Humane Societies
  • Animal Welfare Organizations
  • Breed Associations
  • Grooming Facilities
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Veterinary Clinics
  • Vet Specialists/Referral Centers
  • Pet Supply Retailers
  • Pet Food Manufacturers
  • Training, Performance Providers
  • Service, Protection, Military
  • Animal Health Board
  • Government and Private Research Labs
  • Education
  • County Extension Programs
  • Non-profit Agencies and Organizations

Related Programs

Not what you were looking for?
Here are some related programs you may also want to consider:

Animal Science - Vet Tech

The companion animal industry is a


industry and has been growing by $2-4 billion annually, even during times of recession.