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ANS 280: Companion Animal Management

Research guide to support library research for Oregon State University's ANS 280, Companion Animal Management class.

What do you need for this assignment?

Remember to review the Animal Diet Recommendations assignment details before beginning your research.

Here is a short summary of what you need to search for:

  • A dog or cat case
  • A comparison of two diets
  • At least two sources, one of which must be a peer-reviewed article or a textbook (but not your course text).

This page will walk through some tips for finding appropriate sources for answering the questions in this assignment.

Peer-reviewed articles

Where to Search for Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Peer-reviewed articles report on experiments scientists have done to answer a research question. Usually, these research questions are very specific, and scientists use highly specialized language to report on what they learned. Both finding and reading peer-reviewed journal articles takes practice. Learn more about peer-reviewed articles on the Is It Peer Reviewed? guide.

My first recommendation is to start in a search tool that focuses almost entirely on peer-reviewed or scholarly sources. The search tool I suggest for this assignment is Medline.

Watch the following video on finding peer-reviewed sources or use the screenshots and text to learn how to find and read sources with animal diet recommendations.

How to Search in Medline

1. Begin with 3-4 broad keywords. If my topic is diets for cats with urinary tract obstruction, some example searches include:

  • cat urinary tract diet
  • feline protein needs
  • feline crude protein
  • protein concentration diet
  • dietary protein
  • low protein diet
  • high protein diet
  • crude protein diet
  • animal feed/standards

2. After entering your broad search, use the subject: major heading option on the left side of the search results page to focus on a particular area of interest. In this example, I can focus just on the 14 articles that have something to do with animal feed for cats with urinary tract issues.

3. Read the titles and article abstracts (or summaries). Once you find an article that looks relevant, open the full-text by clicking the Find it@OSU button.

4. Log in with your ONID, then under the View It section of the page that opens, click on the link with the publisher's name.

5. Different publishers display articles differently, but a common approach is to include a link to the PDF somewhere on the page. Find the PDF link and open the article.


Reading Articles to Find Dietary Information

Because peer-reviewed journal articles are often written about very specific research questions, it's unlikely that an entire article will be about your topic. However, scan through the article - looking particularly at tables and figures - to see if you can locate at least some of the information you need. You will likely need to read multiple articles to find all the dietary information you are looking for. Here is an example of a table with relevant information from the article I selected.


Books or textbooks

Recommended eBooks Available Through OSU Libraries

OSU Libraries has several eBooks with information on companion animal nutritional needs. Follow the links below, then use your ONID to log in to the library's website. Then click on the publisher's link to open the eBook.

Canine and feline nutrition: a resource for companion animal professionals, Case, 2011 

Nutrient Requirements of Cats, Committee on Animal Nutrition, 1986

Nutrient Requirements of Dogs, National Resource Council, 1985

Watch the following video on how to find books or ebooks or use the screenshots and text below to find books available through our library and other libraries in the Pacific Northwest.



Finding More eBooks at OSU Libraries

If you don't find what you need in the suggested eBooks, you can search for more options using the OSU Libraries 1Search.

Enter a few keywords. Then use the narrowing options on the right side of the results page to just display the eBooks in our collection.


Requesting Books in Print or That the OSU Libraries Don't Own

Sometimes when you do a search in OSU Libraries 1Search you will find books (or articles) you want that are either only available in print or that the OSU Libraries don't own. You can almost always request to have these books (or articles) sent to you.

1. Either click the request this item link (this means another library in the Pacific Northwest owns the book).

Or click the Available at ... link (this means the OSU Libraries owns a print copy).

2. On the next page, if the book you want is from another library, the link will say place Summit request.

If the book you want is from the OSU Libraries, the link will say request OSU's copy.

3. You only need to complete the fields with a star. Under the pickup/delivery location drop-down menu, choose home delivery.

Learn more about borrowing books from other academic libraries on the Ecampus borrowing books guide.


Finding Appropriate Websites

Watch the following video for search tips on finding appropriate websites for your ANS 280 assignment or read the suggestions below.

Suggested Websites

Websites can provide background information in language that is easier to understand than peer-reviewed journal articles. However, many websites with information on nutritional needs of companion animals are written by pet food companies or pet supply stores. Keep this in mind as you read, and check to see if they have a list of references at the end that you can use to double check the information you gather.

European Pet Food Industry -

WALTHAM Science (part of Mars Petcare, part of the pet food industry) -

Petcoach, PetCo's Educational Center -

Google Search Tips

Here are some tricks to make your searches more effective (these actually work in most databases):

  • Use quotes to search for an exact phrase or name - example "crude protein"
  • Use an asterisk with word roots to expand beyond an exact word - example nutr*

Searching in Google? Try these tricks:

  • Search for a specific file type - filetype:pdf
  • Search within a particular website -
  • Look for related words with a ~

modified google search

From: Hack College, Get More Out of Google