9 Things You Didn't Know About Your Pets' Vitamin and Supplement Needs

Patty Khuly, DVM
Updated: April 23, 2015
Published: May 14, 2008
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Here are nine fun facts about feeding nutritional supplements to your pets:

1. On pharmaceutical grade ingredients: It may surprise you to know that all but one pet supplement company adheres to the more stringent procedures required to produce pharmaceutical grade supplements. The vast majority of human supplement companies also eschew these stricter, more expensive controls.

2. On FDA regulation for supplements: There is none.

3. On green lipped mussel extract: No, not a substitute for vanilla in your next pound cake, but it will help some pets’ joints feel less creaky—and I love saying it.

4. On a new indication for fatty acids: Vitamin E and the Omega 3s are good for joint pain, too. Now some combinations of nutritional supplements for joints contain these, too.

5. On poor quality control: Some brands (store brands and private labels, mostly) have been found to contain less than 50% of the supplement dosage listed on the label.

6. On name brands: Be willing to pay more for a well-regarded name brand.

7. On supplement longevity: Some supplements last longer in the refrigerator, away from light and in airtight containers. Powders, chews and liquids in dispensers are best kept this way. Oxidation (and breakdown of key ingredients) or rancidness (for oil-based supplements) might easily result, otherwise.

8. On human supplements: These can be fine. As long as your pet is getting the right key ingredient and the product does not contain artificial sweeteners (namely, Xylitol), it’s generally OK—but ask your vet first.

9. On Flinstone’s vitamins: Yes, sometimes I recommend the “with iron” version to my clients. It gets a laugh if nothing else.

Image: ruigsantos / Shutterstock