How to choose trustworthy supplements for your dog or cat

Know your quality standards and look for these four label elements when choosing trustworthy supplements for your dog or cat.

In today’s saturated market, one of the hardest decisions to make as pet parent is picking the right vitamins and supplements for your fur babe. The industry has grown substantially over the past several years adding more retailers and products to choose from, and thoroughly researching all of them just isn’t possible. Below is a brief guide on what to look for when seeking trustworthy supplements.

Supplement labels at-a-glance

When looking at supplement labels, there are a few things you should be able to spot in 30 seconds or less:

  • Company information including a phone number and address
  • Lot number/expiration dates
  • “Veterinarian formulated”
  • Quality seals or listed certifications

These four elements are key indicators of a company’s legitimacy and quality, and their absence can help you weed out the less trustworthy supplement options. They show that the company can be contacted for any questions or concerns, that some standards of quality are in place, and that a qualified person formulated the products.

Know your quality standards

Just like selecting the best supplements, it can be overwhelming to know which certifications and seals are legitimate. In the pet supplement industry, there are a few well known seals and certifications that have a long-standing history and require a level of ongoing compliance and regulations by their members. The following is not an all-inclusive list, but includes some of the more well-known seals and certificates found in the marketplace today.

NASC

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) organization was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to elevating and standardizing the quality of pet products. This organization requires companies to pass a facility audit every two years with rigorous requirements for quality controls, adverse event reporting, strict labeling guidelines, and independent lab results to verify product label claim validity.

GMP

Another quality seal is the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Sometimes displayed as cGMP (the “c” stands for “current”), this stamp is awarded to manufacturers that employ technologies and systems that are up to date to ensure products being produced are safe and effective. This certification is regulated by the FDA.

UL

Underwriters Laboratories is another known mark in the manufacturing industry often listed as “UL”.  Underwriters Laboratories certifies businesses and “helps companies to demonstrate safety, enhance sustainability, strengthen security, delivery quality, manage risk and achieve regulatory compliance.”

NSF

Finally, one more well-known mark used for manufacturers of human and pet products is the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). This company has been protecting and improving human and animal health for over 75 years. The NSF mark ensures consumers that the product was produced at an approved facility and met the high standards required to achieve this prestigious certification. It is valued by consumers, manufacturers, retailers and regulatory agencies worldwide. This organization is a third-party company that conducts audits for certifying manufacturers with credentials such as Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), cGMP and more.

Although these marks and certifications are not required to sell pet wellness products, they serve as confirmation that the company is working with reputable manufacturers and suppliers that believe in making quality products and have systems in place to do so. Look for them when choosing trustworthy supplements for your pets, then do your own research to find which brands stand out above the rest!