Pet Industry News speaks to Dr Fiona Patterson about her work in developing the Mars Petcare College curriculum and how it will help upskill the industry.

The courses available at Mars Petcare College are free to access for anyone working or studying in the pet industry and veterinary channel. They aim to help upskill the industry for improved pet care and welfare outcomes.

In an industry first, graduates of the 25-hour four module Mars Petcare College program may also be eligible to apply to TAFE NSW for formal qualification.

“I’ve been thrilled to have this pathway launch to provide opportunities for formal qualification for Mars Petcare College graduates. It’s my hope that this whets the appetite for further study, and might encourage graduates to work towards full certifications,” said Dr Patterson.

The recently launched course titled ‘Skin and Coat Health for Groomers’ is a collaboration between Mars Petcare College and the Master Groomers at igroomhub, Australia’s number one dog grooming education resource.

“Working with Natalie and the team at igroomhub has been a wonderful experience, they’re such experts in the grooming space and have a lot of knowledge to share,” said Dr Patterson.

Learning outcomes of the course include:

  • Learn about the structure of the skin and the various coat types
  • Learn the signs of a healthy and unhealthy skin and coat
  • Learn about a wide range of skin disease in dogs
  • Understand key nutrients needed to maintain skin and coat health
  • Learn how to examine a dog prior to grooming 
  • Discover our ‘groomer top tips’ for boosting skin and coat health

Natalie West of igroomhub explained that the igroomhub platform is dedicated to improving groomers’ skills, knowledge, and overall growth.

“igroomhub is delighted to partner with Mars Pet College on this fantastic Skin and Coat Health short course. Mars Pet College boasts many courses that support and educate anyone working with companion animals. igroomhub has identified the need to enhance groomer knowledge right at the heart of what we work with, hair and skin.

“This fantastic collaboration showcases a wealth of information to help groomers understand how to best help dogs. igroomhub and Mars Pet College are committed to developing quality, useful material that will deepen any learner’s knowledge. If you work as a groomer, you simply must take part in this learning experience. Our industry needs well educated and caring individuals. We encourage you to take this course and help share this important information,” said West.

Mars Petcare College is dedicated to releasing new courses regularly, and Dr Patterson said that the next course in development centres on pet emotional wellbeing.

“Our pets have to live in a human world, and greater understanding between people and their beloved pets leads to a deeper connection of the human-animal bond. We know that pets are great for many people in terms of the emotional support they can provide, as well as helping people to get more active and feel more connected within their communities. I think we owe it to our pets to consider their emotional wellbeing so that they can live happy in a human world,” explained Dr Patterson.

The course will explore SHINE™, a framework for understanding pet emotional wellbeing and the content contained in this course was developed by Dr Tammie King at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute in collaboration with Mars Petcare colleagues.

“This framework clearly outlines what a pet dog or cat needs to live a happy life – but importantly also a fulfilled one. Pets are all individuals with their own personalities so if we’re to create a better world for them, it’s vital that we focus on their emotional wellbeing,” said Dr Patterson.

The course is set to launch in late 2022 and will be available on Mars Petcare College, which learners can peruse to find short courses of interest.

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