Canine Nutrition Certificate- An Online Course

Study the Basics of Canine Nutrition in an online course taught by renowned canine nutritionist & herbalist Cat Lane, Dip. CFN, Chartered Herbalist


Build a strong foundation in canine nutrition in the longest running course of its kind. This course prepares you for all other courses- including canine diet formulation.


Part 1 is an examination of the essential nutritional needs of the domestic dog. We take a close look at canine digestion, and then go straight into nutrients – what they are, which foods provide them, how much of each an individual dog requires (using the National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements of Dogs, 2006) and how nutrients interact, affect the bioavailabity of other nutrients. This information forms the very “basics of canine nutrition” and any study of the topic needs to start here. It is tremendously empowering to know what an individual animal will need dietarily and how to provide it. If you don’t study the nutrients, you can’t go forward in nutrition


Part 2 builds on the knowledge you gained in Part One; here we evaluate various methods of providing nutrients with an eye to what might work best for an individual dog. Commercial diet, home made cooked diets, and various forms of raw feeding are evaluated without bias, but a clear presentation of both pro and con of each. We also look at feeding for life stages, and basics of supplementation, although individual needs and supplements for health issues are explored more fully in other courses.


Each unit has a corresponding assignment.

Part One


Unit 1

The focus of this Unit is to first, get everyone oriented to the course, and then dive right into some foundational work. This means starting to “Think like a Nutritionist” – that is, in terms of nutrients/requirements, what a dog requires, how to supply them in homemade diets  – what are the sources for our knowledge?  What is AAFCO, FEDIAF, the NRC?  and overall, build a strong foundation of reliable, science-based, nutrition knowledge.


Unit 2


There are many common myths and misperceptions regarding canine digestion! This Unit will cover the anatomy and physiology of the digestive system, and empower you with knowledge you need to truly understand why we feed the way we do…what can go wrong, and how to avoid/correct problems related to digestion.


Unit 3


The starting place for feeding dogs, the basis of all dietary formulation, is energy – calories – how much to feed. While there is an established range of caloric requirements for all life stages, individual dogs may vary greatly in the amount that works for them to maintain weight/prevent obesity. Understanding caloric needs is the first step in home feeding, and very important for those using commercial diets as well.


Unit 4


In this section we cover the following: what are proteins what are amino acids and which ones are essentials, what is nitrogen balance, how much total protein is required by dogs, can you overdo feeding protein, and what are some signs of chronic low intake. In other words, Everything You Need To Know About Protein.


Unit 5


Fats and fatty acids can be tricky to understand, but this Unit will make it much easier! There is a requirement range for total fat, but the type of fat matters; we also need to understand fatty acids -which are essential, what foods supply them, how much is needed. You will come away from this Unit with a much clearer grasp of the role of fat in the canine diet.


Unit 6


Possibly THE most debated and controversial topic in canine nutrition social media these days (and for some time now) this Unit will empower you with the facts- no more confusion! You will learn, as always with my approach, the pros and cons of feeding carbs-problems with excess and with starch, gluten and lectins; but also, that used correctly, carbs perform important functions in the canine diet, are well digested, and much more than inflammatory “fillers” as is often stated. Dogs are individuals and their response toc arbs will vary, but the right type, amount and preparation are key to incorporating them into a cooked or raw diet.


Unit 7


While there is flexibility with the three macronutrients – protein, fat and carbohydrate-micronutrients – vitamins and minerals- have more precise guidelines.  Many if not most home prepared diets, whether raw or cooked, are seriously low or high in these essentials, often with consequences for the dog. In Unit Seven we take a deep dive into vitamins – what they are and do, food sources, how to supplement if needed, signs of excess or deficiency. What about adding multis to a commercial diet? Will a multi cover all gaps in a home made recipe? All this and more on the topic of Vitamins.


Unit 8


As with vitamins we look at daily requirements, food sources (better and worse) how to supplement if needed, what each mineral does in the boy, and consequences of high or low intake. Critically important for the home feeder in particular, but useful for kibble feeders too, in terms of adding extras, when it works and when it doesn’t.

Part Two


Unit 9

Commercial Diet

Research tells us that as many as 90% of all dog owners feed kibble, canned or other type of commercial   diet – and with all the foods available to choose from these days, it can be overwhelming for owners to know what is best – ideal for their own dog. Should we use grains, or stay grain free? How much protein is best? Is it true most allergies are to chicken, and should always be avoided?  Should foods be rotated or is it best to stick to one?  What can we use for “toppers? Label claims and marketing techniques can be very misleading!  These and many more questions will be covered in this information packed, science-supported Unit.


Unit 10

Home Cooked Diets

Although this Introductory course cannot teach Formulation – I have a separate course on that topic  – it’s important for students to understand the pros and cons, challenges and benefits of cooking for your dog. Did you know that most generic recipes you purchase online will not be A) balanced to NRC standards or B ) ideal for your unique individual? Fresh food/cooked diet, is great for dogs on many levels, but there are also risks, and some can be serious, associated with feeding unbalanced recipes, especially over time. We will cover key points regarding cooked diets – how they should be put together, how to supplement if needed all the options available to you.


Unit 11

Raw Diets

Here we will take a brief look at the history of raw feeding and evaluate the most popular methods, including BARF, Prey Model, and NRC balanced raw. As with cooked diet, raw feeding has pros and cons, and we will cover what can go wrong as well as the many benefits to choosing raw for your individual.


Unit 12


Learning to formulate raw or cooked diets for growing dogs takes time and practices, and we won’t cover the method in this course. Mistakes made in the first year can have serious consequences throughout life for your dog! We will, however, take a thorough look at the ubique needs of pups from weaning to adulthood, how to evaluate commercial diets, cautions with adding extras and supplements, and much more.


Unit 13

Pregnancy and Lactation

Pregnancy and lactation are unique life stages, that entail careful dietary management. During both these stages, the mother’s nutrient needs increase, but not excessively, and with specific schedules of both increase and decrease. We will cover these changes and the current science behind them, for optimal support of your own dog, or to help you advise others safely and optimally.


Unit 14

Performance Nutrition

Modern dogs engage is a wide variety of activities, from working dogs who guard sheep, to canine athletes competing in agility, flyball and more, to long distance dogs, such as sledding either as a “day job” or competitively. Endurance dogs have different nutrient needs from sprinters (lure coursing, for example)  and that’s what this unit will cover. We’ll look at feeding all kinds of canine athletes and include a section on supplements to support joint health, reduce inflammation, and much more.


Unit 15


Senior dogs often require lower overall energy, which in turn means they likely require supplementation to ensure their nutrient requirements are well met. Older dogs, like dogs of any age, are individuals, with digestive and metabolic changes that suggest lower or higher fiber, lower fat , support for the heart, joints, cognition, digestive system and more. Understanding the changes you may see in your dog, and how diet can address them all, can help you make the most of this precious time together, whether you are home feeding or simply searching for the right commercial products.


Unit 16


Supplements  are another hot topic in the canine natural health world – this Unit will help you sort through the hype, opinion and marketing with factual information on the correct use of nutritional supplements, which are often necessary to balance a homemade diet, for many reasons – also, supplements such as pro- and prebiotics and joint formulas that are not essential but used to build health, and targeted supplements (cbd oil, mushrooms, turmeric) often utilized to address health conditions. You’ll learn what to use, how to choose, pros and cons, as always, so you’ll never have to say “all this info is so confusing”.

This course provides a solid foundation for the subject, and teaches critical thinking, so graduates can dispassionately evaluate various methods of feeding, and decide on which will suit an individual dog. It does not promote the superiority of any one type of diet over others, but is based on the premise that dogs require nutrients from appropriate food sources, and there are many good methods of delivering them. Coverage is given to each group of nutrients and the foods that provide them, so graduates emerge with a broad and sophisticated understanding of the topic.


The Basics of Canine Nutrition Course is suited to those who have an interest in knowing more about canine nutrient requirements and digestion, reading dog food labels, identifying food sources of various nutrients, deciding between raw, cooked or commercial diets,and generally making sound nutritional choices for their dogs. It will be of great value to those in the retail field, to veterinary assistants, breeders, behaviourists and trainers, TellingtonTouch practitioners, those involved in various sports and competitive work, and of course, anyone who simply loves and lives with dogs. It lays the groundwork for the Advanced Nutrition/ Dietary Formulation programme and is an extremely important companion course to the Applied Herbalism course.

Basics of Canine Nutrition

Certificate course with marked assignments.

  • Receive access to the full course including lecture notes and assignments.
  • Access to the online Facebook Classroom
  • Turn in assignments for grading and receive feedback from Cat Lane.
  • Receive a certificate of completion

CAD $300.00

Basics of Canine Nutrition

Unmentored version

  • Receive access to the full course including lecture notes and assignments.
  • Access to the online Facebook Classroom

CAD $75.00

Setting: Online/Virtual | Expected Completion Time: Open Ended

Required Textbooks (Purchased Independently)

Dog Food Logic by Linda Case
Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, 3rd Edition.



Purchase the course and immediately receive access to course materials online under the “My Courses” tab. Easily track your progress under the “My Courses” tab.


Work through the lecture notes, textbooks, and recommended reading at your own pace. Lecture materials are available online and Cat Lane is available for any questions.


Full course students submit homework to be graded and receive feedback from Cat Lane. Receive a certificate when all assignment have been submitted and solid understanding of the material has been demonstrated.

Full Certificate Course

Audit Course

Cat Lane’s Basics of Canine Nutrition Course truly is the foundation for all other learning. The material was easily understood- yet still challenging and very detail oriented. This course was essential for further studies at the Possible Canine and also set me up for success in other courses. My success as a student and a professional is rooted in this very course. I still utilize materials from this course daily. It truly is essential.

Thank you Cat Lane for everything. My success is because of you!

Savannah Welna, Cert. CN

Feed Thy Dog

 I thought I knew a lot about nutrition. I followed PMR/80-10-10 diets for about seven years and had gotten really good at it… but It wasn’t until I Learned about the NRC and started taking Cat’s courses that I realized I. knew. nothing. Thank you Cat Lane for everything.

Cats courses are beyond amazing. They are well organized, easy to follow, and have exceptional information within them that the most advanced or even the most simplest of people can follow (myself included). She has years of experience and a wide vast knowledge of nutrition and it shows in all of her work. She’s very forthcoming when questions arise and goes out of her way to make sure that you understand the content. Not only that, but her passion and drive to help people truly shows in her every day life.

Nemos life is now flourishing from the new found knowledge I have and I couldn’t be happier knowing my best friend will have a better life because of her.

Whitney Suarez

Cat Lane is a true master of her field and her courses and tutorials are a fantastic testament to her knowledge and experience. The basics of canine nutrition course is not only a fantastic wealth of information, organized beautifully and precisely in an aesthetically pleasing web format – it is an incredible starting point for learning how to critically think about the inner workings of our dear canine companions so that we can begin the very arduous, but mentally invigorating process of developing homemade diets with confidence and an abundance of strong scientific sources at your back. Lessons covering all of the building blocks of any diet: energy, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These chapters alone provide months’ worth of materials to take serious deep dives into – the topics are complex and will exercise the science side of your brain.

 I consistently find myself looking back through Cat’s lessons and sections – not just the basics of canine nutrition, but also her canine diet formulation course as well as her fantastic Facebook tutorials on nutrition, home cooked diet formulation, and herbalism. Lifetime access to all of the materials provides a permanent harbourage for you to continue to refer back when questions arise, and revisit material to brush up on comprehension.

Lauren Bay

The single most comprehensive, detailed and reliable source for everything related to dog health and well being. Whether it’s information, a therapeutic or proactive consult or a learning course, this site has it all and is the gold standard in both health and education. No one knows more or cares more than Cat Lane and she has made the biggest difference in my dogs life hands down. She continues to do this every single day. My gratitude is beyond measure!

Jeanne Moran

Cat Lanes course, Basics of Canine Nutrition, provides the foundational building blocks for understanding science based nutrition. Cat’s extensive knowledge is both inspiring and challenging, with no bias to a specific feeding method. 
You will be equipped to start understanding the importance of precision when home-feeding your dog and to think critically about the food in the bowl.
This course is also necessary should you wish to study further and learn the mechanics behind formulation and actually filling that bowl with confidence. This course and all the others deserve 5 gold stars.

Ellyn Manley Grubbe

Cat is a very structured teacher and her courses are very well written and developed. I’m currently enrolled in all her classes and actively studying both the Basic and Formulation courses. I am learning so much that I am more confident in being able to feed my dog right.
At the same time, Cat is a brilliant herbalist who has helped my dog immensely. Previously, she would have a major flare up because of her sensitivities whenever she experiences changes in her hormones, but after following Cat’s protocols, we’ve sailed past her last heat. I look forward to engaging Cat’s help in getting my dog’s diet modified next because I’m certain she’ll do an excellent job. 
Two thumbs up!

Victoria Koay, Cert. CN