Finding answers to some simple questions can make product selection much easier.
Supplements can play a key role in helping your dog or cat live a long, healthy, happy life. This is particularly true when they’re incorporated as an element of whole animal care that also includes a high quality diet, regular exercise, routine veterinary checkups, and a stimulating environment with training and socialization.
Many consumers believe that if a product has made its way to the store shelf, it must come from a reputable and responsible company. But products of questionable quality do sometimes reach store shelves and online marketplaces. It is important that you take a “trust but verify” approach when evaluating animal supplements, and ask these five questions:
1. Do 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 overtly claims — or even implies – that 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 channels.
2. Does the product have a lot number?
Lot numbers do not guarantee quality, but 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 in the event of a problem.
3. Are product ingredients and amounts clearly listed?
You should be able to easily determine the ingredients in a product and exactly how much of each ingredient is contained in one administration. Ingredients should be listed in descending order by amount, but be aware that large numbers may be misleading. An ingredient with a large number followed by “ppm,” meaning parts per million, actually indicates a dilute concentration of the ingredient.
4. Is there contact information if I have questions?
The label should list the company supplying the product and their contact information. When you call, the company should have a technician or veterinarian on staff who can answer your questions about the product, and about testing protocols and quality standards the company follows.
5. Does the product have the NASC Quality Seal?
To display the National Animal Supplement Council’s Quality Seal on their products, a supplier must pass a comprehensive third-party manufacturing audit every two years, maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality standards, and pass random independent product testing to ensure products meet label claim.
Price is a final consideration. Cheap products are typically cheap for a reason; quality ingredients and responsible manufacturing cost money. That said, don’t spend more than you can afford. Instead, determine a price range that fits your budget and buy the best quality product you can get for that amount.
To see a listing of companies whose products carry the NASC Quality Seal, visit nasc.cc/members.