Animal health supplements can play a positive role in helping pets live a long, healthy, happy life when given as an element of whole animal care that also includes a high-quality diet, regular exercise, routine veterinary care, and a safe, loving environment. Pets and people have many of the same basic needs.
When selecting supplements for your store, it is wise to do some research before buying. Many people believe that if a product has made its way to the marketplace, it must come from a responsible supplier. But the truth is that products of questionable provenance and quality do reach store shelves, therefore it is vitally important to take a “trust but verify” approach.
When evaluating pet supplements, be sure to ask these five questions:
1. Do the product claims sound too good to be true?
Outrageous product claims should be an immediate red flag. Supplements are not magic bullets. If a company claims or even implies the product will treat, prevent, mitigate or cure any disease, they are misleading consumers and breaking the law. This applies to claims on product packaging, as well as marketing materials including the company’s website and social media.
2. Does the product have a lot number?
While it is true that lot numbers do not guarantee product quality, they do demonstrate that the manufacturer likely complies with some type of quality manufacturing standards that require product traceability. Lot numbers are also essential in helping manufacturers notify customers if there is a concern with a product.
3. Are the product ingredients and amounts clearly listed?
You should be able to easily determine the ingredients in the product and understand the amount of each ingredient in one administration. The ingredients should be listed on the label in descending order by amount but beware that large numbers may be misleading. For example, an ingredient with a large number followed by “ppm,” meaning parts per million, actually only contains a dilute concentration of the ingredient.
4. Is there contact information if I have questions or need advice?
The label should also list the name and contact information of the company supplying the product. When you call, the company should have someone on staff such as a technician or veterinarian who can answer your questions about the product, and about testing protocols and quality standards the company follows. If you can’t get satisfactory answers, you may want to consider a different supplier.
5. Does the product display the NASC Quality Seal?
The NASC Quality Seal cannot be purchased. To earn permission to display the NASC Quality Seal on their products and marketing materials, member companies must pass a comprehensive third-party audit every two years and maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality standards, including:
NASC member companies are elevating and standardizing the industry through their commitment to quality, consistency and continuous improvement. The NASC Quality Seal is a credible and trusted symbol of quality that can be found on thousands of supplements for dogs, cats and horses.
See a full list of NASC members that have earned the Quality Seal at www.nasc.cc/members.