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More Supplement Brands Turning to the Mighty Mushroom

In our Trending In column, we talk to Nulo, Pawze and Fera Pet Organics about their products that tap the many benefits of functional fungi.





ONE OF THE ingredient trends to emerge at Global Pet Expo was that of the mighty mushroom. Indies have long touted its health benefits for pets, recommending fungi-based supplements for a variety of issues. It seemed mushrooms were everywhere we looked! We talked to three brands about their new products with this top ingredient.

Reishi Goodness

Heather Acuff, Ph.D., director of research and development for Nulo, explained why reishi mushrooms are the co-star of the company’s Hemp & Mushroom Soft Chews for dogs. “Reishi mushrooms are one of the best known and widely studied mushrooms, and have been used for a variety of purposes for thousands of years in traditional Eastern medicine. They are considered an adaptogen, which is a plant or fungi that can help the body resist or cope with stress. Some of the most beneficial compounds found in these amazing mushrooms are beta-glucans (a special polysaccharide that stimulates the immune system), antioxidants (terpenoids and phenols), and glycoproteins that are rich in lysine and leucine that work together to keep the body healthy and vibrant.”

The chews also contain hemp seed protein, which Dr. Acuff points out “contains 17 amino acids, of which glutamine is the most abundant. It supports the health of the intestinal lining and helps maintain a normal inflammatory response in the body’s liver and kidneys. Together, reishi mushroom and hemp seed protein offer a differentiated approach to supporting the systems that have an important role in removing toxins from the body. This can be a great choice for older pets, as well as those living in urban areas.”


Special Blend

PAWSE introduced its Mighty Mushrooms, a freeze-dried blend of chaga, maitake, reishi, shiitake and turkey tail, with chicken and catfish. Co-founder Bradley Kerrick shares the inspiration for these pet treats, “Similar to the CBD products that we have and continue to develop, we saw first-hand the tremendous benefits that these functional mushrooms can and do most often provide. In addition to our own anecdotal research, there is extensive scientific research proving that fungi are extremely diverse in terms of morphology, ecology, metabolism and phylogeny. Approximately 130 medicinal activities such as antitumor, immunomodulation, antioxidant, radical scavenging, cardioprotective and antiviral actions are assumed to be produced by the various varieties of medicinal mushrooms.”

He praises the benefits of beta-glucans, as well. “One of the primary bioactive compounds found in these mushrooms is beta-glucans, complex polysaccharides that have been shown to enhance the immune system by increasing the activity of immune cells, such as macrophages and natural killer cells. This increased activity can help pets fight off infections, viruses and diseases.”

Kerrick touts the quality of his ingredients. “The mushroom extracts we use are from 100% fruiting bodies, with zero fillers or added grains or starch of any kind. They are USDA Organic certified and grown naturally as they would in the wild. Furthermore, the mushrooms we use are scientifically verified for the aforementioned beta-glucan levels to assure the pet parent that they are getting the active beneficial compounds in their products. Last, but certainly not least, is the palatability and format we are offering to the pets. Dogs and cats love the Mighty Mushrooms because we use all natural animal meat as the base ingredient to complement the mushrooms, two of which are very bitter in flavor and not very palatable.”

More Immunity Support

Fera Pet Organics uses 10 different mushrooms in its Organic Mushrooms Immune Support powder: lion’s mane, red reishi, shiitake, cordyceps, maitake, turkey tail, chaga, oyster, poria and tremella. Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Michelle Dulake, DVM, points out that all of the mushrooms used are derived from 100% fruiting bodies, which contain the highest levels of beta glucans, adding that “This mushroom blend has absolutely no fillers, grain, starch or mycelium, and is third-party tested to ensure there are verified levels of beta glucans.”


She also shares a success story about the product. “A Fera Pet Organics customer reached out and asked if our mushrooms helped with thyroid issues.
There are papers stating that mushrooms can positively affect the thyroid, but cannot claim to prevent or treat disease. The pet owner explained that her dog had been hypothyroid for years and was supplementing with levothyroxine. After starting our organic mushrooms, she tested her dog’s thyroid level and it was higher than before, so she started to slowly wean her dog off of the prescription medication and maintain a healthy thyroid level while being on our Organic Mushroom Immune Support supplement.”

Fera also opted for a different delivery method with one of its new Fera Goat Milk Topper products. Dr. Dulake says, “The Immunity Goat Milk Topper incorporates organic turkey tail mushroom, which is filled with beta-glucan polysaccharides known for their immune enhancing effects. They also contain antioxidants which protect the body against damage caused by free radicals.”



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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