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Does my Pet Need Dietary Supplements and Are They Safe?

Alternative Therapies, Avian, By Species, By Topic, Cats, Dogs, Exotic, Nutrition

Many people have heard a lot about dietary supplements, and may believe that supplements are beneficial, simply based upon how they are advertised. In fact, the actual quality and effectiveness is not always known, because many supplements haven’t undergone scientific testing. Also, supplements do not have the same oversight by government agencies, which means manufacturers are able to make all sorts of claims without proof.

The most common supplements we hear people giving to their pets are joint supplements, vitamins, and antioxidants. CEDARCREST Animal Clinic veterinarians recommend that people check the supplement bottle for a seal of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), which is a non-profit industry group dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals throughout the United States. The NASC sets the standards for quality of dietary supplements and apply strict guidelines for labeling and marketing supplemental products.  Although the effectiveness of a particular supplement may not be scientifically proven, using a NASC approved supplement will help ensure that you are giving your beloved pet a safe and high-quality product.

Even if you give your pet a NASC approved supplement, it will not guarantee that the supplement will work as advertised. In many of the scientific studies evaluating supplements, the active ingredients are testing in relatively high concentrations. However, many supplements actually have pretty low concentrations. Supplement manufacturers can avoid government mandated testing by keeping dosages very low in over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Ironically, the low concentrations in these products are too low to have the “promised” effects and benefits.

A law passed in 1984 states that supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA before going to market, and the manufacturers do not have to provide evidence of safety or effectiveness to the FDA, unless a new ingredient is added. All of this does not mean all supplements are useless but, unfortunately, there is not a sure-fire way for a consumer to know whether a certain supplement has the actual amount of the ingredient advertised, if the ingredient is effective, or accurate information for comparing one supplemental product to another.

If you are considering giving your pet dietary supplements and would like to schedule a consultation, call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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