Let food be thy medicine! Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, was believed to have given this quote. In our modern world, food can be a source of either health or disease for our pets. The Canadian government considers two categories of natural health products: functional foods (eg. yogurt with added probiotics) and extracts from foods (eg. glucosamine).
A nutraceutical may be a naturally nutrient-rich or medicinally active food, such as green tea leaves or it may be a specific component of a food, such as polysulfated glycosaminoglycans in green-lipped mussel powder. Vitamins and minerals are also under this category.
All-natural health products (NHPs) sold in Canada are subject to the Natural Health Products Regulations which came into force on January 1, 2004. The Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) governing body in Canada has also included the oversight of non-prescription and disinfectant drugs in addition to natural health products (NHPs). There will be an NN number (animal products have an NPN number) on the bottle or package of natural health product to ensure quality control of the product, so look for it when purchasing products for your pets. This ensures a governing body has overseen quality control, clinical trials and that the product or food truly has the ingredients they are claiming in it. With all the various products available, we want to ensure your pet is safe and proper quality control is key. Ask your veterinarian what products are safe and effective for your pet!
Dr. Juanita Ashton, BSc, DVM, ACDBC-IAABC is a certified Canine Behavioural Consultant, and one of the owners of the Elmsdale Animal Hospital