BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Examines Advertising For Petzlife’s Oral Care Product For Cats, Dogs
New York, NY – Sept. 3, 2008 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Petzlife Inc. discontinue a wide range of health claims and testimonials for the company’s “PetzLife Oral Care Spray & Gel.” The company has said it will attempt to comply with the decision as quickly as possible.
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined print and Website advertising for the product, marketed for treatment of cats and dogs, pursuant to NAD’s ongoing monitoring program.
Claims at issue included:
- “100% Natural, kills bacteria on contact”
- “Remove plaque & tartar without anesthesia”
- “Reverse oral disease, eliminate bad breath”
- “Petzlife revolutionary, award winning products will save you hundreds on Vet bills and can increase your pet’s lifespan by 3-5 years.”
- “PetzLife oral care products have worked on my patients that have had severe tartar and gingivitis. Now we can cure the problem while avoiding anesthesia and the drugs.”
At the outset of the NAD inquiry, the advertiser maintained that substantiation for the claims at issue came from “almost 500,000 happy users and 100’s of vets.” The advertiser stated that it had modified the claim “can increase your pet’s lifespan by 3-5 years” by crediting it “to the Veterinary community as a general statement as it relates to good oral health.”
PetzLife Oral Care Spray and Oral Car Gel are topical ointments, sprayed or rubbed on cats’ and dogs’ teeth and gums. According to the advertiser’s website, the spray and gel contain grapefruit seed extract, grape seed extract, thyme oil, neem oil, rosemary oil, and peppermint oil which are “specially formulated” with distilled water and grain alcohol.
NAD noted that it has recognized in prior cases the importance of providing consumers with clear and accurate messages about a product’s performance capability, especially when the claims relate to health issues.
NAD noted that the advertiser used strong performance and efficacy claims that positioned its products as an alternative to routine surgical oral care. Specifically, the advertiser claimed PetzLife Oral Care products would reverse oral disease, cure gingivitis and save hundreds of dollars on veterinarian bills. The advertiser provided no evidence to support its health and safety claims.
NAD concluded that the advertiser’s performance and efficacy claims “100% Natural, kills bacteria on contact,” “Remove plaque & tartar without anesthesia,” “Reverse oral disease, eliminate bad breath,” “Petzlife revolutionary, award winning products will save you hundreds on Vet bills and can increase your pet’s lifespan by 3-5 years,” and “PetzLife oral care products have worked on my patients that have had severe tartar and gingivitis. Now we can cure the problem while avoiding anesthesia and the drugs” were not substantiated by competent and scientific evidence and recommended that they be discontinued.
To the extent that the advertiser relied on statements from “almost 500,000 happy users and 100’s of vets,” NAD noted that it has observed in prior proceedings that “[t]estimonials are inadequate as support for advertising claims, notwithstanding the fact that they may reflect the existence of satisfied users.”
NAD recommended that, given the absence of any reliable evidence of product efficacy, the advertiser discontinue its use of consumer and veterinarian testimonials in its advertising.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it would “attempt to comply with the decision as quickly as possible.”