Dedicated pet owners are committed to making sure their furry friends are happy and healthy.
From the type of food they purchase to the veterinarian they select, animal lovers often put as much time and care into finding the very best options for their pets’ wellbeing as they do themselves and their families. Animal supplements have become a hugely popular industry, as pet owners seek out nutritional products and vitamins that help strengthen the health and immunity of their cats, dogs, and horses. Just as federal regulations are set in place by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure consumable products are safe for humans, the same standards of quality must be upheld to guarantee animals are not harmed by supplements that are out on the market today.
This growing concern is what inspired Bill Bookout, president and founder of the National Animal Supplement Council, to establish an organization that works to improve the quality of pet supplements and supplement packaging and maintain the integrity of the animal health product industry.
In an exclusive radio interview with StandUpPouches.net President and CEO, David Marinac, Bill explains his unique journey toward establishing and maintaining the highest standards of quality for both animal supplements and the pet packaging industry.
Bill first started Genesis Limited, a company founded to provide feed and health products for companion animals, in 1999. The business was eventually acquired, and, having spent 15 years in the human medical device and animal health industries, Bill decided to move on to his next great venture. Founding the NASC was inspired by his own experiences with sick pets, and it has remained his passion project ever since.
After Bill went through the heartache of caring for a dog that needed two hip replacements, and again with a pup that was diagnosed with cancer, he worked to develop his own brand that could create products that would help his ailing animals. The goal was to produce supplements that would help extend his pets’ quality of life as long as possible, and he says his passion and dedication helped to build a solid foundation for both Genesis Limited and the NASC. He made it his mission to create a regulatory environment for animal supplements and the pet packaging industry to ensure what humans are giving to their animals is just as safe and effective as the own health products they themselves are consuming.
In his work to make a difference in the lives of dogs, cats, and horses, Bill ran into several obstacles. For one thing, there was no standard regulatory category for dietary supplements for animals, and some of the products he reviewed contained ingredients that were not safe for use in items meant for pets. Obstacles, he says, help create opportunities, and as a response he created a framework that would define good practicing standards for pet supplement packaging, supply chain management, enforcement of truthful claims, and communication that does not mislead or misinform pet owners.
When he first put these plans into motion, he says many naysayers thought he couldn’t pull it off – since working with government regulatory agencies was tedious and tricky – and he lost some support in the initial phases of founding the NASC. This taught him an important lesson, however: Those who didn’t put their faith and trust into the mission eventually went out of business, and those who went all in for the cause still remain close to Bill and his passion for protecting the health and wellbeing of animals.
NASC members, he explains, are all working to make a difference in the industry.
Other opportunistic participants selling animal supplements – that aren’t adhering to standards of safety or allowing on-site audits – are usually just trying to make a quick buck and aren’t making animal health the heart and soul of what they do. Acceptance into the NASC requires adherence to specific standards and a code of conduct. The Council’s goal has a narrow focus, and the bylaws state all interested members must have a direct, one-on-one interview with Bill so he can be sure they’re the right fit for membership. Each company must work to maintain the credibility of the organization and commit to educating and helping consumers make informed decisions about the animal supplements they purchase.
The NASC label for pet supplement packging is one of the most coveted quality seals a pet brand can hold, and Bill makes it his goal to educate people about the true meaning of this special emblem. The label saves time and effort for the end user so they know the pet product they purchase is safe and beneficial to their animals. NASC members who wish to earn this label must undergo a special series of audits and inspections — it doesn’t mean the company is perfect, Bill says, but it does indicate to consumers that the brand’s supply chain has been reviewed and that it is committed to adhering to very specific standards of quality. Bill goes on to explain the Council’s preferred supplier program and what pet owners should be looking for when scanning animal supplements, the pet product industry as a whole, a product's lists of ingredients, and their labels.
The NASC will hold its annual conference May 17-20, combining in-depth training programs on labeling, audits, sales, marketing, and more with informative sessions on packaging – led by Ditch The Box Host and StandUpPouches.net President David Marinac – and workshops focused on continuing education for those associated with the pet health products industry.
Bill says there will also be activities focused on philanthropy and maintaining product standards with a focus on quality as a destination, rather than a journey. Learn more about Bill and the NASC’s mission at NASC.cc.