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The Anatomy and Physiology of Pet Care

Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Four of Eight)

Some of the attendees and presenters at PPG's certified pet care technician workshop
Some of the attendees and presenters at PPG’s certified pet care technician workshop

This is the fourth in a series of eight blogs in which we will share a few of the highlights from day two of PPG’s recent Certified Pet Care Technician workshop, and Rebekah King’s presentation on Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology, the learning objectives of which were to understand dog and cat anatomy and important components of their physiology including all their sensory abilities so you can better and more effectively offer professional care services to all breeds and ages.

King has a bachelor’s degree in animal science with minors in biology and chemistry. She also a master’s degree in business administration and a teaching certificate.  She is a Professional Canine Trainer – Accredited – through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board, a DogSmith Certified Dog Trainer, a Fun Scent Games Instructor, Certified Pet Care Technician and Certified Pet First Aid Responder. She is the membership manager of PPG; Student Support Officer of DogNostics and Vice President of Doggone Safe.

Rebekah King instructs one of the Pet Care Technician students.
Rebekah King oversees Michelle,  a Pet Care Technician student, carrying out a practical exercise.

The presentation covered the lymphatic system which removes wastes from the body and provides immune support; the circulatory system which pumps blood, circulates oxygen and nutrients; the endocrine system which secretes hormones; the digestive system which processes food products into absorbable nutrients; the integumentary system which encases the body, provides a protective barrier and communicates touch; the sensory organs which detect environmental stimuli; the skeletal system which supports body structures, blood cell formation and mineral storage; the muscular system – posture, locomotion, involuntary actions; the nervous system which carries nerve impulses to and from the brain; the respiratory system which conducts oxygen into, and carbon dioxide out of the body; the urinary system – absorption, filtration and excretion and the reproductive system which produces and secretes hormones and gamete.

When discussing the integumentary system, King explained the different types of coats including long and flowing; double coat (long primary hair with short undercoat); curly coat; smooth coat (single coat); wire coat; corded coat; long; broken and medium.

King also covered the many coat colors including black, brown, red, yellow, gold, gray, blue, sable, and white.   She explained the different coat patterns including tricolor, brindle, harlequin, merle, part color and tuxedo:  a solid, usually black color with a white patch (shirt front) on the chest and white on some or all of the feet (spats). This pattern is sometimes called Irish Spotting, Flashy, or Boston.


When talking about ear exams King said to keep in mind that a dog’s ears may sometimes be painful or sensitive and the pet care technician must always be careful not to cause pain or startle.  Each presentation therefore linked to topics of other presentations.  In this case recognizing signs of stress and distance increase signals is especially important as is making a positive association to all interactions by creating a positive conditioned emotional response!

King’s anatomy and physiology presentation included several practical exercises, the first of which was a targeting practical which I, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, had the pleasure of teaching. Teaching a pet to happily touch a target, whether it be your hand or a target stick is a great way of ensuring that the pet will happily stand still.  The stationary pet can then be easily examined.  King’s other practical exercises included checking a dog’s skin; checking a dog’s teeth; checking a dog’s ears and checking a dog’s respiratory rate.  All of the students had lots of fun partaking in the exercises and learning and practising their new skills.

A PPG Certified Pet Care Technician DVD will soon be available from Tawzer Dog, which means you will all be able to learn in the comfort of home and submit your application to become a Certified Pet Care Technician online.

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If you would like to know more about pet care, why not sign up for The Pet Professional Guild’s Virtual Pet Care Summit taking place on Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12, 2016 ? There will be more than 25 hours of educational webinars across a variety of topics geared towards the pet care professional!  More information and online registration here


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