Selecting supplements for your practice – 5 important questions to ask

Looking for the best animal supplements to recommend at your clinic? Asking these five questions will help you make the best choice for your patients’ health.

Animal nutritional and health supplements can play an important role in keeping your patients healthy and happy, particularly when used as an element of whole animal care.

If a client asks about adding a supplement to her pet’s regimen, it is important to help her understand the types of supplements available to her:

  • Nutritional supplements — vitamins, minerals and other ingredients intended to provide nutritional value as part of a complete and balanced diet.
  • Health supplements — products intended to support maintenance of normal biological structure and function, such as a joint supplement or a calming aid.

When researching supplements to offer at your practice or recommend to clients, we suggest you reach out to manufacturers for answers to the following questions:

1. Who formulates the product?

It is important to select products formulated by qualified professionals with knowledge and expertise in pet supplement formulation, and with a solid track record of producing animal nutritional or health products.

2. What quality standards does the company follow?

They should be following current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) modeled after the FDA’s cGMPs for human dietary supplements as defined in 21 CFR Part 111, and for animal food defined in 21 CFR Part 507 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

3. Is the product independently tested by a reputable analytical lab?

Independent testing consists of a third-party analytical lab verifying products that were purchased from the marketplace to ensure the product meets label claims.

4. Is the product labeled properly?

  • Product claims: If a product label overtly claims — or even implies — the product will treat, prevent, mitigate or cure any disease, the supplier is breaking the law and misleading consumers.
  • Lot number: Lot numbers demonstrate the manufacturer likely complies with some type of quality standards requiring product traceability and are essential in helping manufacturers notify customers if there is a problem.
  • Ingredients listing: Ingredients should be listed in descending order by amount but be aware that large numbers followed by “PPM”, meaning parts per million, actually indicate a dilute concentration of the ingredient.

5. Does the product have the NASC Quality Seal?

The NASC Quality Program provides strict guidelines for product quality assurance in production, adverse event reporting and labeling standards. To earn the National Animal Supplement Council’s Quality Seal, suppliers must pass a comprehensive facility audit every two years and maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality requirements.