Recommending the right supplements to your clients: how the NASC can help

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is improving and standardizing the animal supplement industry by awarding their Quality Seal to companies that meet their rigorous standards, and paving the way to better health solutions for your clients.

Veterinary clients can walk into almost any pet specialty store, supermarket or vet clinic and find a selection of pet supplements designed to help dogs and cats live their best lives. Whether your clients are looking to help their animals fight discomfort, anxiety, or the ravages of age, they will be faced with an abundance of options and will look to you for guidance in determining what is best for their beloved companions. Today’s pet supplement industry is valued at nearly $2 billion and, often, veterinarians are asked to help navigate this overwhelming landscape.

This abundance of options is a far cry from when animal health supplements were once in grave danger of being removed from the marketplace entirely, potentially leaving pet owners unable to obtain the products their pets relied on.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) is a statute of US federal legislation that defines and regulates human dietary supplements. But the FDA declared that the DSHEA didn’t apply to animal supplements, despite their similarity to human products. Dietary supplements for companion animals weren’t recognized by the FDA as a class of products and instead had to be classified either as food or drugs, depending on their intended use. Products that were improperly marketed as animal food were at risk of being pulled from store shelves.

These events led to the creation of a council that can help you steer your patients toward quality choices. Concerned that pet owners would soon lose access to animal health supplements, a group of small business owners in the animal supplement industry banded together in 2001 to form the non-profit National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). The NASC’s mission is to promote the health and well-being of companion animals and horses that are given animal health supplements by their owners, and to protect and enhance the animal health supplement industry. Through close collaboration with federal and state regulators, the NASC successfully achieves self-regulation and provides a complete regulatory roadmap for members.

NASC members are responsible suppliers of animal health supplements from around the globe, and are committed to quality, vigilance and continuous improvement within their companies and the industry. The NASC Quality program provides strict guidelines for product quality assurance, adverse event reporting and labeling standards. Members must earn permission to display the Quality Seal by passing a comprehensive facility audit every two years, maintaining ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality standards, and passing random independent testing of their products to help ensure they are meeting label claims.

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