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Important Things You Should Know Before Buying Nutritional Supplements For Your Pet

Posted by Tom Shannon on

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Nowadays, there is a huge amount of pet supplements being sold at pet stores that choosing the best nutritional supplement for your pet isn't always as easy as buying jerky sticks or raw hides. Supplement product labels which list a variety of helpful information like ingredients, directions, or intended use just aren't enough to make you feel that your purchase is right for your pet.

As pet parents, we want the same thing for our pets in similar ways we see ourselves. We want our pets to live long and happy healthy lives the way we want to live our lives. So when it comes to buying supplements for our pets, we want to know everything there is that we're buying.

Pet supplements are "nutritional" health products to improve our pet's nutrition in conjunction with a complete and balanced diet contained in many US-manufactured pet food. Like pet food, supplements can contain ingredients for specific health benefits like antioxidants, joint health, behavioral or organ-related functions like the brain, eye, heart, etc. And as pet parents we feel good knowing that a nutritional supplement will help or even correct our pet's specific health condition. We are reminded time and time again that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

However, little do we know that health claims can lead to misleading facts that in the long run can pose a danger to our pet's health. For example, if a pet brand nutritional supplement claims that their product will "treat, prevent, cure or mitigate a disease" or make claims to "Fight UTIs and bladder infections", you'll probably want to question or even stay away from purchasing that brand of supplement. After all, if a health claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Supplements in Bottles

As pet parents, we also want high-quality health supplements with "clean" ingredients that are "transparent". There is a saying that if you don't recognize what's on the product's label, you probably don't need to have it.

For manufacturers, listing every ingredient in a supplement can be both revealing and challenging at the same time. The amount of information and what they put on the product label can be restrained by the size of the label or packaging. Many manufacturers are only required to list the necessary and basic ingredients required by their local laws and jurisdictions.

To make matter worse, as the cost of product packaging increases manufacturers not only have to budget the amount they spend on the packaging that on average costs around 10 to 40% of the product's retail price, but they also have to contend with how much information they can cram into a product label that is about the size of a lottery ticket or smaller in some cases.

The ingredients a nutritional supplement contains, and the health benefits that supplements provide are some of the most essential features we look for when buying a pet supplement. However, every pet parent knows that no one but them knows their pets better than anyone can. With that said as pet parents, we should learn about the health issues our pets go through. If it's something that confuses us that raises questions about a product's ingredient or efficacy, it's important that an expert like your local veterinarian should be able to find out and help answer.

But honestly, how many of you would call your pet's veterinarian when you have a question about a product or a nutritional supplement you're buying? Probably, not the majority. Although it's probably safe to say that if nothing else makes sense, a "high-quality" nutritional supplement should matter.

But, what is a "high-quality" nutritional supplement?

"High-quality" nutritional supplements have for the most part undergone a rigorous process of quality control provided by an independent agency that does not have a financial interest in the manufacturer. These independent quality-control providers give pet parents the sense of trust and confidence that the nutritional supplement their buying has been tested and certified to meet industry standards of a high-quality product that is transparent, consistent and credible. This third-party certification provides the manufacturer to display the certifier's seal or mark on its packaging.
Third-party Certification SealsSo, which pet nutritional supplement third-party seal should every pet parent look for? Third-party certification seals like USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Marine Stewardship Council, AFIA Safe Food Safe Feed, and the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal are some of the most trusted third-party certifications on pet nutritional supplements.

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) lists pet brand companies that have undergone rigorous testing and audit to ensure that pet parents like us feel confident that the nutritional supplement we're buying, be it at the local store or online, is safe and meets stringent high-quality standards that we want for our pets to stay healthy and happy for years to come.

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