Animal nutritionists create food and diets for all types of animals --
performance animals, food animals, companion animals and zoo animals. For
example, they can visit ranchers and help them devise healthier and more economical
way to feed the herd.
Animal nutritionists can also be involved in creating new foods and supplements
for the animal market.
"Basically, an animal nutritionist does for an animal's diet what a veterinarian
does for an animal's health," explains Jane Goodridge. She is an animal nutritionist.
"I design diets, do herd visits, go to barns and take feed samples."
"The diets of all kinds of animals are under a nutritionist's control,"
says Ronald Lemenager. He is a professor of animal nutrition at Purdue University.
"Whether it's for domestic or companion animals, nutritionists look at ways
to meet different nutrient profiles."
Nutritionists can be found in a variety of settings. They may work for
pet or farm feed companies. They might conduct research at universities or
at food manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies. They could also work at
animal health clinics and zoos.
Animal nutrition isn't a job with regular office hours. Nutritionists may
work some evenings and weekends if animal assistance is needed, or they're
making a field visit or giving a presentation. "This definitely isn't 9-to-5
work," says Goodridge.
You might have to travel, although not all positions require it. Depending
on the work, the job also has some physical demands.
"Sometimes I can be involved in weighing, handling and sorting pigs," says
Goodridge. "If someone is doing research they may have to take blood samples
or even help with birthing!"