By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

70% of drugs commonly prescribed by veterinarians are not approved for use in dogs and cats. Additionally, the animal health supplements you buy over the counter and from your vet are unapproved drugs in the eyes of the regulators. This is true because in 1994 when congress passed DSHEA, the dietary supplement health and education act, they specifically said it did not apply to animals. There is no legal definition for animal health products such as joint supplements, if they are not a complete food, and they are not, they have to be an unapproved drug in the eyes of the regulators. This doesn’t mean that all of these unapproved drugs are bad for your pet or of poor quality, but it does mean that it is your responsibility as consumers to be informed label readers, especially with the supplements you are giving your pet.

Here are the key things to watch and watch out for on animal health care products:

  1. Watch out for animal care products with an asterisk that notes the statements made are not approved by the FDA, this is a DSHEA rule only for human products and means that the producer does not understand animal products or your pet’s needs.
  2. Do look for products whose labels list active ingredients, inactive ingredients, precautions and warnings; this indicates that the producer understands the requirements specifically for pets.
  3. Always look for the NASC, National Animal Supplement Council, yellow quality seal on the label.  This tells you that the producer adheres to extensive quality parameters, adverse event reporting and independent audits of their facility.  This is the best way to be assured your pet is getting a high quality, safe product.