Pet Supplement Claims: If Something Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is!

Pet Supplement Claims: If Something Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is!

When evaluating health and nutritional supplements to carry in your store or recommend to customers, pay close attention to product claims. This includes claims on packaging as well as the brand’s marketing materials such as sell sheets and their website. Brands know they have mere seconds to capture your attention and unfortunately some take a “say anything” approach that misleads and casts a negative shadow on the entire supplement industry.

Animal health and nutritional supplements are regulated by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM). To help protect consumers and animals, they follow the law established in the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act regarding product claims.

The good news is most pet supplement suppliers understand and follow these rules and are careful to make credible claims allowable by law. Many of these suppliers are members of the National Animal Supplement Council and have access to straightforward labeling guidance that helps them avoid making errant or egregious claims.

That said, keep a careful eye out for suppliers that disregard FDA-CVM rules for product claims. They are fairly easy to spot when you know what to look for:

Words that state or imply the product will treat, prevent, cure or mitigate a disease.

Example: “Aids against UTIs and bladder infections”


Use of any disease name or reference to a disease.

Example: “Fights gingivitis and periodontal disease.”


Any stated or implied comparison to, or replacement for, pharmaceuticals.

Example: “Reduces the need for prescription pain medication.”


Any reference to a chronic condition.

Example: “Protects against chronic pain and inflammation.”


Claims disguised as product names.

Example: “Inflamm-Away”


Product and brand marketing are an extension of the label and therefore are subject to the same rules. Apply the same cautious scrutiny when visiting a product website that you do when looking at the packaging. Same goes for internet ads, trade show materials, social media posts, blogs, e-newsletters, and promotional videos, as well as traditional advertising like radio, TV and print ads.

Allowable or “good” claims on supplement products and marketing materials are typically simple and straightforward. They communicate that the product is helping to support the normal structure and function of the animal’s body rather than trying to correct an abnormal condition or disease. And perhaps most important, allowable claims don’t rely on absolutes or language that over-promises outcomes.

Examples of allowable product claims:

  • “Helps to support cognitive function”
  • Provides antioxidant protection”
  • “Helps to maintain calmness”
  • Promotes digestive tract health”


When evaluating supplements, look for products with the NASC Quality Seal to know they come from responsible suppliers that stay within the bounds of the law and maintain ongoing compliance with NASC’s rigorous standards for product quality and consistency.

Remember, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Supplements are not magic bullets, but they can play an important role in supporting animal health when given along with quality nutrition, regular exercise, routine veterinary visits, and a loving home.



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