What Does An Animal Nutritionist Do?
Animal nutritionists are animal scientists who are responsible for coming up with diet formulations for livestock animals, those confined in zoos and wildlife rehabilitation facilities as well as those pets who serve as companions for individuals, families and the disabled. They employ their knowledge of animal behavior, biochemistry, nutrition, physics and mathematics in coming up with optimum feed proportions to maintain the animal’s health. For agricultural animals that are raised for meat purposes, the goal of animal nutritionists is to come up with feeds that will produce the best meat for consumption.
Animal nutritionists study the size, nutritional requirements and other factors of the animals that they will formulate the feeds for. They also make the necessary calculations so that they can recommend the best ration size for the feeds depending on the animal’s weight or condition—such as pregnancy, nutritional disorders or when they need to be switched from one brand to another.
Formulating the best nutritional regiment for animals is a scientific undertaking so animal nutritionists are also expected to work in a laboratory and conduct tests on different feed formulations. They may also do studies on the effects of the feeds they are developing to laboratory animals. These studies are done exhaustively before the product is finally released to the market.
It’s important for animal nutritionists to develop feed formulations that are not only healthy but tasty as well. If animals don’t like the food that is given to them, their owners won’t patronize the brand and switch to another one instead—a situation that is detrimental to the company’s bottom line. Moreover, they should also develop formulations that are affordable since cost is always going to be one of the considerations of consumers when buying food for their pets.
Animal nutritionists don’t necessarily have to come up with original feed formulations all the time. There are instances when they are asked to evaluate existing products and feed supplements. In this case, their job entails looking into the composition of these animal feeds and determining how best these can be improved. From what they find, they will then work towards enhancing these products with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that were previously lacking from their original composition.
The tasks of animal nutritionists aren’t always confined to developing feed products. If they work for pet food companies, for example, they may also work together with the firm’s advertising department in marketing their new feed products and supplements. They provide the advertising personnel the technical knowledge about the product that will make pet owners buy their brand. They also monitor how their brands do in the market and take the necessary action in the event that their feeds are cited for deficiencies by customers.
Animal nutritionists may also look into cases of nutritional problems brought about by an animal’s diet. Those who work for government agencies study the nutritional disorders of animals and pets and determine their causes. They may work with other animal professionals like veterinarians to be able to come up with solutions to these disorders.