3 Essential Quality Controls for Pet Supplement Contract Manufacturing

Written By: Pet Tech Labs Team

Customers buy pet supplements for many reasons. Some owners use supplements to enrich their pets’ diets, while others want to promote healthy aging. Many customers also use supplements to support pets with specific health challenges. For example, an owner could give joint supplements to a horse experiencing joint discomfort.

These motivations all revolve around the same objective: supporting pets' overall health and well-being. Brands can help clients achieve this goal by implementing strict quality controls to create beneficial supplements that prioritize safety. The most important industry standards include pet supplement ingredient quality assurance, Good Manufacturing Practices, and pet supplement testing protocols. 

1. Pet Supplement Ingredient Quality Assurance

A pet supplement is only as good as the quality of its ingredients. The best supplements use carefully sourced and pure ingredients. 

Manufacturers can buy pet supplement ingredients from several sources. Many manufacturers rely on domestic raw material wholesalers. These third-party businesses purchase raw ingredients from farmers and sell them to supplement manufacturers. They sell bulk quantities of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, and other ingredients. 

Some manufacturers source ingredients directly from local businesses. For example, you could buy fish oil from a local fishery for joint supplements and lavender from a nearby farm for calming pet supplements. Finally, manufacturers may purchase rare or unique ingredients from international providers, such as emu oil from Australian farmers. 

The quality of these raw ingredients can vary drastically, even between similar suppliers. For instance, one farmer might spray their flaxseed with pesticide while another uses organic methods. 

Brands should look for reputable manufacturing partners that prioritize consistency, quality, and safety. Ask potential partners about their quality control standards so you can trust that you’re getting the most beneficial and safest ingredients. 

Finally, manufacturers should test every pet supplement ingredient for purity, potency, and safety. Common testing methods include: 

  • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC): These tests separate compounds to determine their purity and potency. 

  • Particle size: This physical test analyzes the consistency of particles in raw ingredients, providing insights into their consistency and solubility. 

  • Microbial content testing: This assessment detects bacteria, parasites, and other harmful microorganisms in raw ingredients. 

  • Ames mutagenicity: This bacterial bioassay test evaluates the mutagenic potential of chemicals by detecting harmful environmental substances.

These quality controls can help protect pets by maintaining product integrity and consistency. 

Learn about costs, MOQs, and turnaround time for pet supplement manufacturing >>

 2. Adhering to Current Good Manufacturing Practices 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires pet supplement manufacturers to follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). According to the FDA, these practices “provide baseline safety and sanitation standards for the manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding of animal food.” 

Here are a few key CGMPs:

  • Raw materials: Pet supplement manufacturers must inspect all raw ingredients and store them in secure containers. 

  • Cleanliness: Manufacturing personnel must thoroughly clean and sanitize all equipment and utensils. These practices eliminate harmful pathogens present on surfaces and improve safety of equipment. 

  • Grounds maintenance: Manufacturers must keep their facilities and the surrounding grounds clean and in working order. Best practices include disposing of waste, repairing buildings, and eliminating pests that could contaminate ingredients. 

  • Equipment maintenance: All equipment must receive proper maintenance. Manufacturers should repair and replace broken parts immediately to keep machines functioning properly. 

  • Hygiene practices: Staff must remove and properly store items that could fall into ingredients and containers, such as cell phones, keys, and jewelry. 

  • Personnel training: Only qualified staff can manufacture and package pet supplements. Managers must provide appropriate hygiene and food safety training so personnel understand how to handle ingredients appropriately. 

  • Record retention: Manufacturing facilities must keep training records and other required documentation for at least two years. 

Pet supplement manufacturers should develop robust quality management systems to monitor and document their adherence to CGMP guidelines. These systems will help demonstrate compliance if the FDA audits them. 

3. Pet Supplement Testing Protocols

You should test your products throughout the manufacturing process. These assessments allow you to verify the integrity and purityof your supplements. They also boost your brand reputation by demonstrating your commitment to protecting pets. 

Brands should conduct in-process testing of the full product during manufacturing operations. These assessments may include: 

  • Testing raw materials for heavy metals, microorganisms, and other harmful contaminants

  • Uniformity assessments to verify that the ingredients have been mixed properly 

Manufacturers also perform final tests before releasing the pet supplements to customers. Here are a few common final assessments:

  • Chemical analysis of the supplement to measure its nutrient amounts 

  • Label testing to evaluate purity and strength 

  • Shelf life testing  

Third-party-testing laboratories can provide unbiased assessments of a supplement’s composition and quality. These external reviews help you comply with regulatory standards and improve your credibility. 

Additionally, some distributors and online retailers require proof of third-party testing to sell pet supplements. For example, Amazon requires supplement sellers to demonstrate that their products have been assessed by a Testing, Inspection, and Certification (TIC) organization. Brands that don’t comply with this mandate can’t sell their products on the website. 

Related Content: 5 Benefits of Selling High Quality Animal Supplements

Support Pets With Quality Controls 

Pet owners want to give their pets beneficial supplements they can trust. Yet many products don’t meet these expectations. A recent literature review found that some manufacturers mislabeled ingredients or didn’t accurately represent their quantities. This lack of quality can damage customers’ trust and lead to negative outcomes for pets. 

Implementing essential quality controls can help you avoid these risks. Carefully source raw ingredients from reliable companies and test their purity and strength. You should also choose a manufacturing partner who follows Current Good Manufacturing Practices and tests the supplements repeatedly. 

These quality controls will enable you to produce beneficial, pure, and high-quality pet supplements. These processes will also help you earn customers’ trust and build a loyal following, leading to long-term business growth. 

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