New health crazes are popping up every week and the result is an endless supply of vitamins and supplements. It’s even branched into our cats and dogs and flooded the market with different types for our pets, so how do you know which ones are safe?

There are different types of herbs, supplements and vitamins that can be beneficial for cats, but some can cause more harm than good. First of all it’s important to know the difference in terminology between dietary supplements and therapeutic supplements. Dietary supplements are substances that are added to food to make it nutritionally complete and balanced. Therapeutic supplements or nutraceuticals are foods or food nutrients that are taken orally to provide a health benefit – whether as preventive or as treatment for a disease.

Most people find information about supplements on the Internet, but the best resource for information is YOUR VET. We’re here to help! If you are interested in getting a supplement for your cat for a particular issue, let us know and we can help advise you to ensure your cat gets the best treatment possible. Information on the Internet can be biased, incorrect, or incomplete. Remember just because a product is listed as “natural” does not mean it’s safe for your cat. The best resource is the person you trust for all your pet’s health needs – the vet!
When determining the effectiveness of supplements, it’s important to remember that few have been subjected to scientific trials. Also not all manufacturers offer quality assurance or do quality controls. These means that not all companies share the same concerns about ensuring that the product is free of contaminants, made with top quality ingredients, contain the correct amount of active ingredients, and retain their potency over time. In North America, supplements are generally not considered to be drugs or foods which allows them to skirt many federal regulations. The FDA does require that all ingredients in the product be listed so that they can ensure none of the listed products are a potential health threat. They also require that no unsubstantiated claim be made regarding the product’s ability to treat disease. However, not all products available on the market have been reviewed especially those available for animals. Because of this, there’s really no guarantee of contents, strength or if it even works – much less if it’s safe for your cat.

However, within veterinary medicine there are a few brands that go above and beyond to produce quality based supplements that many veterinarians trust. They include VetriScience, Nutramax, Standard Process, Vetoquinol and Catalyst. There are also a few things you can look for when evaluating a supplement product. Make sure you find the following on the label:

• Name and contact information of the manufacturer
• All active ingredients with a percentage/strength
• All inactive ingredients
• Any plant types should contain: harvest date or expiration date, part of the herb used, amount of active ingredients

Before starting any new vitamin or supplement, talk to your vet! The Just Cats team can make recommendations that will be the most effective and the safest for your cat’s particular issues. If you have questions or would like suggestions, call us at 703-520-2702 or email us at