Vitamins for Fido: The Growing Popularity of Pet Supplements
For more and more consumers, making decisions that support their own health as well as the health of those they care about has become a top priority – which could explain why we're seeing a significant surge in the number of health products (especially dietary supplements) that have been crafted with man's furrier and four-legged (but no less loved) members of the family in mind.
The Growing Demand for Pet Supplements
Not unlike its human-centric counterpart, it's expected that the pet supplement market will continue to experience growth through 2020.
According to a recently published report from the Dublin-based Research and Markets, it's expected that this particular market will grow by as much as 5.6% CAGR over the next five years (a rate of growth that, we might add, mirrors what's expected of its human-centric counterpart).
Manufacturing Supplements for Pets v. Manufacturing for People
Believe it or not, there are more similarities than differences when it comes to converting a human supplement into one that's been tailored to meet your pet's needs.
Despite the fact that official federal regulations are lacking when it comes to the of pet supplements, consumer demand for high-quality ingredients and manufacturing practices has driven many brand owners to source ingredients and seek certification that are comparable to those used and found in human supplements. Features like organic ingredients, being gluten/grain-free, and being free of other allergens and ingredients have become increasingly popular.
Another factor that shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to manufacturing supplements for pets is taste. Flavors that most of us, as humans, would find to be incredibly unappealing (like, for example, a chicken liver-flavored supplement powder or chewable) could be the perfect flavor for pleasing the feline, canine, or equine palate.
Popular Categories for Pet Supplements
At the moment, some of the more popular pet supplements varieties address:
- Preventative Care and Aging: Supplements in this category tend to support healthy aging, joints, cardiovascular health, etc.
- Coat, Teeth, and Nails: These supplements act like "hair, skin, and nail" supplements, but for our canine, feline, and even equine counterparts.
- Gut Health: Not unlike the digestion-focused products that have become popular among, prebiotic and probiotic supplements for pets have seen an increase in popularity.
- Condition Specific Supplements
Even though these are some of the more popular varieties on the market today, it's important to recognize that the pet supplement market (just like the human supplement market) is constantly changing to reflect consumer demands and the latest nutraceutical breakthroughs.
- For example, the extract of an herb called Terminalia chebula (tradename: Ayuflex), was tested in moderately osteoarthritic (OA) dogs (weighing about 50 lbs). Dogs with OA received either 500 mg placebo or 500 mg TCE twice daily for 150 days. On a monthly basis, dogs were given a full physical exam and were evaluated for arthritic pain Results were that dogs given Terminalia chebula extract showed significant reductions in overall pain, pain upon limb manipulation, and pain after physical exertion. Radiographic evidence also indicated slowed progression of OA in joints examined.
- Likewise, a clinical trial[i] was conducted to determine the effect of eggshell membrane powder (EMP), on joint mobility in adult canine. Results were that EMP increased joint mobility in adult dogs in as few as 7 days and continued to increase over time. Furthermore, EMP increased joint mobility in adult dogs that were also on an existing pain management program including: supplementation of glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pet supplements are a growing market. Condition specific supplements are most likely to get the best response, and joint supplements are certainly the current leader in the category.
[i] Baird RK. The effect of Hydrolyzed Eggshell Membrane Powder on joint mobility in dogs. Animal Medical Center, Uniontown, PA. November & December 2008: 6 pgs.