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Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats in the U.S., 4th Edition


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Following double-digit annual sales gains in years past, sales growth in the U.S. market for pet supplements and nutraceutical treats has begun to moderate: marketers will need to work harder to remain relevant. With hundreds of products batting for limited shelf space, selling pet supplements means educating consumers and retailers about their benefits and differences, with veterinarians remaining the toughest customers of all. Clinical testing, proprietary formulas, the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) seal of approval, novel ingredients, natural ingredients, retail merchandising, and social media programs are all parts of the competitive equation as, now more than ever, the sale of one pet supplement or nutraceutical treat comes at the expense of another.

Throughout the recession and its aftermath of economic doldrums, sales of dog and cat treats remained strong. So it is perhaps not surprising that pet supplements are increasingly resembling treats. Traditional forms still abound, including tablets and pills. But palatability concerns and the human/pet “enjoyment factor” of supplements in treat form has led to an explosion of functional biscuits and “soft chews.” Also gaining ground are alternative delivery formats including gels and pastes, as well as gravies and powders designed to be added to pet food. As a result, the boundary between supplements and foods continues to blur as the number of pet owners regularly supplementing their pet’s diet in one way or another continues to rise.

As in human supplements, aging is the core market driver as more pets suffer from age-related conditions such as joint deterioration and cognitive dysfunction. Also taking a page from human supplements are popular ingredients including glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and probiotics, along with trendier ingredients like bee pollen, green tea, and elk velvet antler. At the same time, many supplements not sold as foods continue to inhabit a regulatory gray area while banking on “unapproved drugs for which enforcement discretion may be exercised” status with the FDA. Nevertheless, the industry’s self-policing efforts, spearheaded by the NASC, have clearly raised the industry confidence level, as has the increased focus on supplements wielding the kinds of scientific backing most veterinarians require.

This 4th edition of Packaged Facts’ definitive Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats in the U.S. report segments the market into two categories—pet supplements and nutraceutical treats (i.e., those containing supplements or novel botanical ingredients addressing specific health conditions)—with a primary focus on products for dogs and cats, but also extending to horses and other types of small companion animals.  The report provides a forward-looking examination of the market from every angle, including an update on the regulatory situation; historical sales figures and projections spanning the 2008-2017 period; breakouts by supplement type and retail channel; competitive activity by channel including pet specialty, veterinary, mass-market, and online; marketing and new product trends; and consumer patterns and preferences.

With market projections placing U.S. retail sales at $1.6 billion by 2017, the report hones in on high-growth segments including feline, alternative administration formats including chewable tablets or soft chews, gels, pastes, liquids, powders, sprays, and pet food toppers, as well as full-fledged nutraceutical treats, natural and organic products, senior and other condition-specific products, featured ingredients, and enthusiastic or potential consumer demographics. Featuring exclusive Packaged Facts pet owner survey data, the report details consumer trends in dog and cat supplement and nutraceuticals treat usage by product type, brand, and retail channel.


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope & Methodology
      • Market Definition
      • Report Methodology
    • Market Trends
      • U.S. Retail Sales Chart Gradual Recovery Post Recession
      • Share of Pet Supplement and Nutraceutical Treat Sales by Function
      • Sales by Distribution Channel
      • Annual Sales Gains Expected to Rise Gradually
    • Competitive Trends
      • Most Supplement Companies Focused in Pet Health
      • Veterinary Channel Marketers and Trends
      • Channel Cross-Over and Expansion
      • Private-Label Supplement Range Expanding
    • Marketing and New Product Trends
      • Advertising and Promotion
      • Beyond Print
      • Educating Retailers
      • New Product Activity Continues, Though at Slower Pace
      • Focus on Felines
    • Consumer Trends
      • Overview of Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products
        • Table Use of Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products by Type: Dog vs. Cat Owners, 2012 (percent)
      • Topline Usage Rates Among Dog and Cat Owners
      • Usage of Dog Products Recovers in 2011 and 2012
      • Multiple-Pet Factor Favors Dog Supplement/Nutraceutical Treat Sales
  • Introduction
    • Product Parameters
      • Market Definition
      • Report Methodology
      • Condition-Specific Products
      • Natural vs. Synthetic
    • Product Regulation
      • Two Choices: Food or Drug
      • The National Animal Supplement Council
      • Human Supplement Regulation Based on Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)
  • The Market
    • Market Size and Composition
      • U.S. Retail Sales Chart Gradual Recovery Post Recession
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Total, Small Animal (Dog, Cat, Other), Equine, 2008-2012 (in millions of dollars)
      • Small Animal Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Small Animal (Dog, Cat, Other) Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Total, Supplements, Treats, 2008-2012 (in millions of dollars)
      • Equine Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Equine Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Total, Supplements, Treats, 2008-2012 (in millions of dollars)
      • Mass-Market Sales and Composition
        • Table SymphonyIRI-Tracked Sales of Dog and Cat Nutraceutical Treats and Supplements, 52 Weeks Ending November 4, 2012 vs. Year-Ago (in thousands of dollars)
      • Natural/Organic Product Share of Sales
      • Pet Supplement Sales Up 7% in Natural Supermarket Channel
        • Table Retail Dollar Sales of Pet Products in the Natural Supermarket Channel by Category and Segment, 2011 vs. 2012 (in millions of dollars)
      • Share of Pet Supplement and Nutraceutical Treat Sales by Function
      • Horse Supplement Usage by Form and Region
        • Table Form of Horse Supplements Usually Used, 2006, 2008, 2010 (percent)
      • Sales by Distribution Channel
      • Pet Supplements Less Than 5% of Pet Specialty Store Sales Regardless of Animal Category
        • Table Percentage of Pet Specialty Store Sales Volume Derived from Pet Supplements by Animal Type, 2011
    • Market Outlook
      • Positive Trends in Human Supplements Bode Well for Pet Supplements
      • Pets as Family Trend Bolsters Pet Health/Wellness Spending
        • Table Pet Owner Attitudes and Behavior Characterizing Human/Animal Bond, 2012 (percent)
        • Table Level of Veterinary Expenditures by Human-Animal Bond and Animal Type, 2011 (mean dollar per household)
      • A Natural Advantage
      • Pet Med Alternatives
        • Table Level of Agreement with Statement: "I avoid using pet medications as much as possible": Dog Owners vs. Cat Owners, 2011 (percent)
        • Table Level of Agreement with Statement: "I prefer to try holistic/natural pet treatments including nutritional supplements before resorting to pet medications": Dog Owners vs. Cat Owners, 2011 (percent)
      • Supplements Advancing Among Veterinarians, But They Still Want More Testing
      • Negative PR
      • Growing Focus on Therapeutic Pet Foods
        • Table Level of Agreement with Statement: "I believe that pet supplements are more effective than `functional' pet food designed to treat specific health conditions," 2012 (percent)
        • Table Level of Agreement with Statement: "I believe "functional" pet food designed to treat specific health conditions is more effective than supplements in pill, tablet, liquid, or powder form," 2012 (percent)
        • Table Level of Agreement with Statement: "I do not use pet supplements because I believe my pet gets all the nutrients it needs from the pet food I buy," 2012 (percent)
      • Nutraceutical Treats Expanding Market Boundaries
      • Lack of Product Understanding Hinders Market
      • Equine Segment Suffers from Decline in Horse Population
        • Table How Pet Owners View Their Pets by Type of Pet, 2011 (percent)
      • Regulatory Situation: Status Quo Seems to Working
      • Pet Market Macrotrends
        • Table Household Penetration Rates for Dogs and Cats, 2007-2012 (U.S. households-percent and number in thousands)
        • Table Age of Dogs and Cats, 2012 (percent of pet owners)
        • Table Percentage and Number of Overweight and Obese Dogs and Cats, 2011
        • Table Level of Agreement with Statement: "I am spending less on pet products because of the economy," 2010-2012 (percent)
    • Looking Ahead
      • Annual Sales Gains Expected to Rise Gradually
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Total, Small Animal (Dog, Cat, Other), Equine, 2012-2017 (in millions of dollars)
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Small Animal (Dog, Cat, Other) Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Total, Supplements, Treats, 2012-2017 (in millions of dollars)
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Equine Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Total, Supplements, Treats, 2012-2017 (in millions of dollars)
        • Table Share of U.S. Retail Sales of Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats: Small Animal (Dog, Cat, Other) vs. Equine, 2012-2017 (percent)
      • Why the Sluggishness?
      • On a Positive Note
  • Competitive Trends
    • Most Supplement Companies Focused in Pet Health
    • Mergers & Acquisitions
      • Bayer Acquires Teva Animal Health
      • Perrigo Acquires Sergeant's
      • Kemin Acquires Genesis
      • Unicharm Takes Stake in Hartz (Sumitomo)
      • Nutri-Vet Acquired by Imperial Capital/Petra Pet
      • The Honest Kitchen Receives Capital Investments
      • Quaker Pet Group Acquires Watson's Senior Pet Supplies
    • Pet Specialty Channel Marketers
    • Mass-Market Activity in Pet Supplements: Leading Marketers and Brands
    • Mass-Market Activity in Nutraceutical Treats: Leading Marketers and Brands
      • Table SymphonyIRI-Tracked Sales of Pet Supplements, 52 Weeks Ending November 4, 2012 vs. Year-Ago (in thousands of dollars)
      • Table SymphonyIRI-Tracked Sales of Nutraceutical Dog Treats, 52 Weeks Ending November 4, 2012 vs. Year-Ago (in thousands of dollars)
      • Table SymphonyIRI-Tracked Sales of Nutraceutical Cat Treats, 52 Weeks Ending November 4, 2012 vs. Year-Ago (in thousands of dollars)
    • Veterinary Channel Marketers and Trends
      • Patented Formulations
      • Clinically Proven
      • Teva Bounces Back with New Parent and New Products
      • The French Contingent: Sogeval, Vétoquinol, Virbac
    • Channel Cross-Over and Expansion
    • Iams and Merrick Back Out of Pure-Play Supplement Waters, Nestlé Purina Forges Ahead
    • Novus Ramping Up in Companion Animal Supplements
    • Private-Label Supplement Range Expanding
      • Table Selected Marketers and Brands of Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats, 2012
  • Marketing and New Product Trends
    • Marketing Trends
      • Advertising and Promotion
      • Nutramax Relies on Celebrities, Including The Lord
      • Nutri-Vet Deploys Award-Winning Animated Videos
      • Vétoquinol Introduces Rewards Program for Veterinarians
      • Educating Retailers
        • Table Repeat, Impulse, Sale/Promoted, and Comparison-Shopping-Based Purchasing Rates for Pet Supplements vs. Other Types of Nonfood Pet Products, 2012 (percent)
      • On the Web
    • New Product Trends
      • Activity Continues, Though at Somewhat Slower Pace
      • Focus on Felines
      • Soft Chews, Gels, Pastes, and Other Non-Traditional Forms
      • Condition-Specific Supplements
      • Multivitamins, Multitasking, and Multipet
      • Featured Ingredients
  • Consumer Trends
    • Overview of Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products
      • Table Use of Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products by Type: Dog vs. Cat Owners, 2012 (percent)
    • Consumer Focus: Pet Supplements
      • Topline Usage Rates Among Dog and Cat Owners
      • Topline Number of Product Purchasers
      • Over Two-Thirds Use OTC Products
      • Over Half Buy at Pet Superstores
        • Table Purchasing Patterns for Pet Supplements by Retail Channel, 2010 vs. 2012 (percent of U.S. dog or cat owners who use OTC pet supplements)
      • Petco and Hartz Tied as Top Brands by Usage Rates
        • Table Purchasing Patterns for Pet Supplements by Brand, 2012 (percent of U.S. dog or cat owners who use pet supplements)
      • Consumer Traits of Pet Supplement Purchasers
        • Table Use of Pet Supplements by Consumer Trait: Dog Owners, 2012 (percent)
        • Table Use of Pet Supplements by Consumer Trait: Cat Owners, 2012 (percent)
      • Joint Health Divides Dog from Cat Segments
        • Table Use of Pet Supplements and Nutraceutical Treats by Type: Dog vs. Cat Owners, 2012 (percent of U.S. dog or cat owners who use pet nutraceutical treats)
    • Consumer Focus: Nutraceutical Treats
      • Topline Usage Rates Among Dog and Cat Owners
      • Topline Number of Product Purchasers
      • Purchasing Patterns: Pet Superstores vs. Walmart
        • Table Purchasing Patterns for Nutraceutical Treats by Retail Channel, 2012 (percent of U.S. dog or cat owners who use OTC pet supplements)
      • Few Nutraceutical Treats Show up in Experian Simmons Data
      • Consumer Traits of Pet Nutraceutical Treat Purchasers
        • Table Use of Pet Nutraceutical Treats by Consumer Trait: Dog Owners, 2012 (percent)
        • Table Use of Pet Nutraceutical Treats by Consumer Trait: Cat Owners, 2012 (percent)
    • Historical Usage Rate Trends
      • Usage of Dog Products Recovers in 2011 and 2012
        • Table Purchasing Rates for Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products: Dog vs. Cat Owners, Spring 2005-Spring 2011 (U.S. dog- or cat-owning households)
      • Usage Rates for Cat Products Hit Bump in the Climb
        • Table Household Income Level Snapshot: Dog vs. Cat Owners, 2012 (U.S. dog- or cat-owning households)
    • Product Purchaser Demographics
      • Multiple-Pet Factor Favors Dog Supplement/Nutraceutical Treat Sales
        • Table Purchasing Rates for Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products by Number of Pets: Dog vs. Cat Owners, 2012 (percent and index for U.S. dog- or cat-owning households)
        • Table Dog and Cat Ownership Trends by Number of Pets, 2008-2012 (percent of U.S. households)
        • Table Dog and Cat Ownership Trends by Number of Pets, 2008-2012 (number of U.S. households in thousands)
      • Demographic Patterns Are Anomalous
        • Table Demographics for Purchasing of Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products: Dog Owners, 2012 (percent, number of households, and index)
        • Table Demographics for Purchasing of Supplemental Pet Nutrition Products: Cat Owners, 2012 (percent, number of households, and index)

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