Functional Mushrooms for Dogs & Cats
Like cannabis, functional mushrooms have been used for plant-based therapy for thousands of years. Every medicinal mushroom has unique healing properties, but nearly all share the ability to activate the body’s immune system. Benefits can be attributed to mushrooms because of their variety of full macro-nutrient profiles, polysaccharides (alpha/beta-glucans), and other detoxifying metabolites.
Mushrooms for Dogs & Cats serve as a catalyst in modulating the immune system by activating macrophages, neutrophils, basophils, and every other immune-system-cell in the body. They are also reported to lower cholesterol levels, improve blood-sugar levels, and inhibit the spread of weakened immune cells.
Functional Mushrooms for Dogs & Cats:
Beyond Beta Glucans
Contrary to marketing from other functional mushroom supplements for dogs and cats, beta-glucans are not the only ingredient in mushrooms that provide immuno-modulating activity for our pets. Both the fruit body and mycelium have shown to produce immuno-modulating benefits in the same way other fermented foods do like kombucha or kimchi. Therefore, when considering natural remedies for dogs and cats, using the full-spectrum of medicinal mushrooms will always be the safest and optimal way to promote your Dog or Cat’s health.
Similar to fermented foods, many of the chemical compounds found in functional mushrooms can trigger a prebiotic response in the gut for dogs and cats. Gut health in pets is one of the primary ways to promote longevity and improve quality of life. For this reason, the combination of beta glucans and various chemical compounds found in both the mycelium and fruiting body of mushrooms can have profound effects on our pets’ health.
Beta Glucans are a pivotal part of the enhanced immune response dogs and cats benefit from when using a functional mushroom supplement. It is the current standard in which we show potency in all of our mushroom supplements by providing pet owners with our 3rd party lab tests. However, at Earth Buddy we feel beta glucans are simply one of the many important compounds the overall health benefits functional mushrooms can provide for our pets.
The five different species of mushrooms for dogs and cats that Earth Buddy uses contain hundreds of chemical compounds that have shown to enhance the health of both humans and animals. Each species contains its own unique molecular treasure trove of immune enhancing, gut microbiome balancing, histamine modulating, and nootropic benefits for the brain.
Mushroom Mycelium & Additional Benefits of Mushroom Supplements
Mycelium is the living network or the roots living in the soil or substrate of the short lived fruiting body of the mushroom. In the wild, this mycelial network acts much like the internet to disseminate vital information throughout entire ecosystems. It communicates this information across ecosystems such as infectious parasites and acts quickly to eliminate the threat posed to the entire mycelial network. Mycelium can also transport vital nutrients to other living plant species and improve the fertility of soil. Many organic farms and lush forests have large living mycelial organisms, which a growing number of scientists and mycologists believe is a key marker in the health of that ecosystem.
So why is mushroom mycelium equally as important as the fruiting body of the mushroom? In many cases of mushroom species, the mushroom mycelium has equal, if not, more health benefits than its short-term counterpart of the fruiting mushroom. Most of the scientific research done on various mushroom supplements involves a mycelium extract or fermented substrate with little or no fruiting body.
Take Lion’s Mane mushrooms for example, in which a 2018 study showed that the neurological enhancing compounds were shown to be more prevalent and bioavailable in the mycelium versus the fruiting body of Lion’s Mane. This is just one of many examples showing that both the mycelium and fruiting body of mushrooms have immunological and longevity enhancing benefits. With this in mind, Earth Buddy uses both mycelium and fruiting body in our mushroom supplements for dogs and cats.
Sourcing of Functional Mushroom Supplements for Dogs & Cats
Pet parents also need to have clarity on the sourcing of their mushroom supplements, as most of the mushrooms for dogs and cats are being sourced overseas. Many mushroom supplements that are sourced from countries with less regulation of mushroom supplements pose great long-term risk to the health of our pets. Functional Mushrooms grown for the purpose of ingesting the concentrated medicinal compounds can simultaneously concentrate toxic compounds due to mushrooms ability to bioremediate. Mushroom products for pets claiming to grow in natural, outdoor environments can absorb environmental pollutants, heavy metals, and toxins.
The good news is all of Earth Buddy’s mushrooms are sourced in the USA from a USDA organic facility and are triple extracted in order to concentrate the immuno-modulating compounds. This process also makes the mycelium and mushrooms for dogs and cats more bioavailable when ingested. Functional Mushroom supplements for pets that are NOT extracted can contain an indigestible fiber called “chitin”, which can prevent the absorption of these health enhancing compounds the fungi contain.
Efficacy & Safety of Mushrooms for Dogs & Cats
As it stands today, Earth Buddy Pet is the only company that 3rd-party lab tests our mushrooms to show purity and potency. Other mushroom supplements for cats and dogs typically do not share this information, let alone, actually test for alpha and beta glucans. Beta glucans are the standard to show efficacy and quality of the mushroom extracts used in pet supplements. Additionally, showing the amount of alpha glucans can signify whether or not the mushroom supplement has a high amount of starchy carbohydrates.
Earth Buddy grows all of their mushrooms for dogs and cats on a variety of substrates (food that the mycelium and fruiting body are grown on). We typically grow the five different species on a combination of organic millet, organic rye berries, and even use organic soy hulls sourced from an amish community. By triple extracting the mushrooms with a combination of alcohol and hot water, we can concentrate into a liquid form. In some cases, like our Mushroom Capsules or our Immunity Mushroom Blend, we freeze-dry the mushroom extract liquid back into a highly potent and concentrated form of mushroom powder.
When shopping for functional mushroom supplements for dogs and cats, it is imperative that the company you choose is transparent about their sourcing and testing. Much like the CBD for pets and cannabis for pets, functional mushroom supplements are unfortunately the wild west currently. Very little is required for companies and pet supplements are often vaguely labeled.
Final, but equally important safety concern of using mushrooms for pets is consuming wild grown mushrooms. Pet parents should always prevent their animals from consuming these mushrooms, as many poisonous mushroom species can often resemble safe, functional mushroom species.
Take solace in the fact that you, as a responsible pet owner, have educated yourself on the vast safety concerns and benefits of mushrooms for dogs and cats. Know that Earth Buddy takes great measures to protect and source the highest quality mushroom extracts from a USDA organic facility in the USA! If you are interested in learning more about our mushroom supplements be sure to listen below or dive into our individual mushroom species pages below.
Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms for Dogs & Cats
Both the fruiting body and mycelium provide a synergistic effect on our pet’s health, much like the theory in cannabis known as the Entourage Effect. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is an important concept when it comes to botanical and natural supplements. This idea is what differentiates these functional mushrooms for pets from traditional medicines.
Every mushroom comes with its own unique set of healing abilities, but here’s a list of the most common benefits of medicinal mushrooms:
- Activates Immune Cells (like Macrophages & Neutrophils)
- Boosts Energy and Balances Mood
- Increases Antibody Production
- Promotes Better Digestion & Improves Apppetite
- Promotes Healthy Inflammatory Response
- Helps with Seasonal or Dietary Allergies
- Enhances Focus and Concentration
- Promotes Adaptive Response with Stress
- Balances Histamine Response
- Supports Respiratory and Organ function
- Enhances vital gut microbiota
But since each mushroom is unique, we should get to know the top five organic mushrooms used by Earth Buddy and how their unique properties can help your pet! Click on the links below to learn more about each of the top five medicinal mushrooms used in our products. If you need further guidance on using our mushroom capsules and/or how to administer functional mushrooms for dogs & cats, check out our YouTube Channel!
How Medicinal Mushrooms Can Help Your Pet
Learn more about how medicinal mushrooms might help your pet by listening to this podcast episode featuring Earth Buddy founder, Sean Zyer! In this podcast, Sean discusses a wide variety of topics surrounding mushroom supplements for pets with Carrie Hyde, founder of Thriving Pet Expo!