Professional Canine Formulation

Cert. PCF℠

Professional Canine Formulation (Cert. PCF℠) is an advanced nutrition program that provides in-depth education on formulating for adult, healthy dogs. This course is geared for students wanting to work as a professional nutritionist. For pet owners working to only work with their own dogs, please contact us for other options. The PCF course is unique in that it provides rigorous academic instruction while also providing practical assessments where students are able to put to test their own professional formulation abilities. The process of formulation is covered in its entirety. This course is 100% online, available internationally, and written in English. Every lesson includes audio recordings of the course text.

A strong foundation in nutrition science is required. This course does not cover foundational nutrition concepts extensively. Rather, it focuses on putting nutrition science to practical measures. For example, rather than discussing why dietary copper is important for a dog, we look at what foods we can use to meet copper in different kinds of formulations for different dogs. The student should already have a strong understanding of the functions of copper, the different forms of copper, signs of excesses and deficiencies, etc. This course discusses how to navigate theoretical nutrition science in the face of common realistic obstacles provided by the client or the dog to create scientifically and practically sound formulations. The PCF course dives deep into the science of formulation, nutrient requirement calculations, and much more. If you are unsure of whether you are ready for this course, please contact us before applying.

Prerequisites: We recommend students have previous coursework or education on canine nutrition and anatomy. Students should be knowledgeable about the function and metabolism of essential nutrients for dogs and familiar with basic canine anatomy and physiology. If you are not certain on whether your previous experience or education qualifies, please contact us and we can advise.

Required Texts: There are no required textbooks. However, several common companion animal nutrition textbooks are referenced for recommended additional reading. These include Canine and Feline Nutrition, Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, and NRC Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats.

Fees: This program costs $860.00 USD. A $30 discount is available for those in the US who can pay by ACH. This is only available for US students. Please contact us to set up payment by ACH.

Instructors: This course is taught by Jenny Ryoo and Savannah Welna. You can read about the instructors here.

Course Length and Certificate: This is a self-paced course. Students can enroll at any time and must complete this course within a year of starting. Upon completion, students are awarded a certificate of completion and will be permitted to the designation Cert. PCF. If students need an extension, a year extension may be available for $430 USD.

Course Topics: This course is designed for proactive, canine formulation. See Course Overview below for details on the topics covered.

Course Availability: This course is US based, but is available for students in any country. All course materials are written in English.

To Enroll: To enroll, fill out an application. Applicants will be contacted via email for further instructions and tuition payment if accepted into the course.

Course Overview

Self knowledge checks are included at the end of each module.

Course content is provided in written format with images and charts. An audio recording is available for each lesson.

Module One

Introduction to Formulation

Module one covers the different formulation tools professionals use as well as the role of a nutritionist, ensuring that they are working within their professional scope. Students will also learn about the different nutrient guidelines (NRC, AAFCO, FEDIAF) including their origins and typical uses. 

Module Two

Capturing Case Information

Module two discusses the information students will need to gather from clients in order to start a formulation. It reviews aspects about the dog’s health, diet, and history that students will need to gather and the information they should gather about the owner’s preferences, abilities, and available tools. As a part of the first project, students will develop their own intake form that will be used in their final project. Project one is due at the end of this module.

Module Three

Establishing Nutrient Goals

This module provides in-depth instruction on establishing accurate nutrient goals for each individual dog; calculating energy requirements, macronutrient goals and essential nutrient requirements in the context of the diet history, health, and life stage for each dog. Students will also develop an in-depth understanding of how these requirements are calculated so that they are used correctly in formulation, including the nuances of energy density adjustments for each standard (NRC, AAFCO, FEDIAF). Project two is due at the end of this module.

Module Four

Essential and Non-Essential Nutrients

Module four builds on the student’s nutritional foundation to discuss non-essential nutrients and antinutrients, and when it’s best to provide or limit them in the diet. It includes an in-depth discussion on fatty acid metabolism and considerations professionals should make when providing, balancing, and supplementing fatty acids in a formulation. This module also provides education on how essential nutrients. It reviews how nutrient requirements goals were derived so that professionals understand when it is appropriate to modify goals, and takes a deep dive into nutrient balance, when and how to keep essential nutrients balanced where no official requirements are present. 

Module Five


This module discusses in detail the heart of nutrition work, formulating recipes. This module will build on the information provided in the previous four modules to lay out formulation strategies for different cases and types of formulations. How to put ingredients together in different kinds of formulations (cooked, raw, single protein, etc.). Module five also covers stumbling blocks new formulators can run into. This section is designed to help students navigate both learning to formulate confidently and how to work with clients effectively and ethically.

Module Six

Formulation Handoff

This module reviews the essential and helpful sections that are required in a professional’s formulation package prior to sending them to clients. This module goes beyond delivering a list of ingredients and nutrient analysis, and covers many presentation essentials that are designed to maximize client compliance and understanding. Students will understand how to create high-quality formulation handoff packages to clients. 

Module Seven

Client and Professional Relationships

This module discusses the professional work of nutrition consultation with regards to building and maintaining relationships with our clients and our colleagues. It includes discussions on resolving client dissatisfaction, referrals to other practitioners, and maintaining professionalism with other nutrionist with shared client work. Following this module is the final project.

Complete Course Plan

Introduction to Formulation
Course Introduction
Module 1 Introduction
Lesson 1-1: Nutrient Guidelines
Lesson 1-2: Tools for Formulation
Lesson 1-3: The Scope of Nutrition Professionals
Module 1 Self Knowledge Test
Capturing Case Information
Module 2 Introduction
Lesson 2-1: Information About the Dog
Lesson 2-2: Owner Preferences and Feeding Philosophy
Module 2 Self Knowledge Check
Project 1
Project 1 Resubmission
Establishing Nutrient Goals
Module 3 Introduction
Lesson 3-1: Determining Energy Intake
Lesson 3-2: Macronutrient Goals
Lesson 3-3: Lifestage and Health Related Goals
Lesson 3-4: Calculating Nutrient Requirements
Module 3 Self Knowledge Check
Project 2
Essential and Non-Essential Nutrients
Module 4 Introduction
Lesson 4-1: Minerals and Vitamins
Lesson 4-2: Nutrient Balances
Lesson 4-3: Non-Essential Nutrients
Lesson 4-4: Fatty Acid Considerations
Lesson 4-5: Anti-Nutrients
Module 4 Self Knowledge Check
Module 5 Introduction
Lesson 5-1: Formulation Flow
Lesson 5-2: Types of Formulations
Lesson 5-3: Formulation Pitfalls
Module 5 Self Knowledge Check
Formulation Hand-Off
Module 6 Introduction
Lesson 6-1: Recipe Presentation Essentials
Lesson 6-2: Recipe Presentation Extras
Module 6 Self Knowledge Check
Client and Professional Relationships
Module 7 Introduction
Lesson 7-1: Client Relationships
Lesson 7-2: Professional Relationships
Module 7 Self Knowledge Check
Final Project
Closing Thoughts

Project One

Intake Form Creation and Tool Selection

Students will develop the first draft of their own intake forms and receive feedback from instructors. This form is used in the final project. Students will also select which formulation tool they will be using for this course.

Project Two

Establishing Nutrient Goals

Students will be given 5 practice cases to  calculate the energy goal, macronutrient goals, and some nutrient requirements. These goals should include the health and diet history of the dog. This project is designed to help students become comfortable with working with many different types of cases, with a variety of energy requirements, proactive health and life stage considerations, and diet histories.

Final Project

Provide Full Formulation Service

For the final project, students will deliver full formulation services. The student’s intake form  will be filled out by an instructor, acting as the client. Students will formulate according to the case presented on the intake form. After receiving feedback and making any necessary adjustments, this process is repeated with a second, more complex case. The second case will include how the dog might respond to this formulation and the student will have to adjust the recipe according to their response. This project is designed to help the student fine-tune their formulation processes and communication with clients.