Cautionary Guidelines: Finding Reliable Mushroom Supplements for Your Beloved Pet

Real Mushrooms
4 min readJul 3, 2023

Lack of transparency on labels for animal health products can result in a pet owner unknowingly buying a “mushroom” supplement that contains no actual mushrooms. This guide will empower you as a pet owner to select a mushroom product that will actually provide health benefits for your pet.

In recent years, the use of functional mushrooms as dietary supplements for pets has seen exponential growth. These remarkable fungi offer a wide array of health benefits, including immune support and potential antiviral properties.

However, it is essential for pet owners to be aware of the challenges surrounding the quality and transparency of mushroom products in the pet supplement industry. In this guide, we provide a short but comprehensive overview of what to be most aware of before purchasing pet mushroom supplements:

  1. The sub-optimal regulatory landscape
  2. The misleading way that some pet “mushroom” products are adulterated
  3. 4 signs of a quality pet mushroom product

The Lack of Regulation and Label Transparency

Unlike dietary supplements for humans, pet supplements are not subject to the same level of regulation by the FDA. This lack of oversight means that manufacturers can market their products without providing proof of quality control or ensuring transparent labeling. Consequently, pet owners face the risk of purchasing mushroom supplements that do not actually contain mushrooms, leading to potentially detrimental consequences for their pets’ health.

Mycelial Biomass vs. Mushroom Supplements: Know the Difference

One significant concern in the pet supplement industry is the growing availability of mycelial biomass products labeled as mushroom supplements. Mycelium is the vegetative stage of the fungal life cycle, while mushrooms are the fruiting bodies that contain the highest concentration of beneficial compounds. Mycelial biomass products are often derived from mycelium grown on grain (MOG), resulting in diluted mycelium content and higher levels of starch from the grain. These products may have reduced β-glucan content and lack the potent medicinal properties found in mushrooms. Additionally, some pet owners may feed their pets grain-free or low-carbohydrate diets, making mycelial biomass products incompatible with their nutritional preferences. It is crucial for pet owners to be aware of these differences and seek genuine mushroom supplements that provide the desired health benefits for their pets.

Reishi extract powder vs mycelium on grain
A high-quality Reishi mushroom extract should have a darker color, finer texture, and more bitter taste compared to Reishi mycelium grown on grain.

Identifying Genuine Mushroom Supplements

To ensure that you are making a well-informed choice when selecting mushroom supplements for your pet, it is crucial to pay attention to certain key factors. By considering the following guidelines, you can increase the likelihood of finding high-quality products:

  1. Scrutinize the Product Label: Look for supplements that explicitly state the presence of mushrooms as an ingredient. Be cautious of generic terms such as “mushroom complex” or “mushroom blend,” as these may not guarantee the actual inclusion of mushrooms.
  2. Assess β-Glucan Content: β-glucans are bioactive compounds found in mushrooms that play a significant role in immune support. Genuine mushroom supplements should have a substantial β-glucan content. Be wary of products with low β-glucan levels or high levels of starch, as this could indicate the use of mycelium grown on grain instead of actual mushrooms.
  3. Seek Transparency from Manufacturers: Trustworthy manufacturers should provide detailed information about their production methods. Look for companies that clearly state whether their product is derived from mushrooms or mycelium grown on grain. Transparent communication demonstrates a commitment to quality and consumer trust.
  4. Consider Third-Party Testing: Products that have undergone third-party testing by accredited laboratories offer an additional layer of assurance. These tests verify the content and quality of the supplement, giving pet owners greater confidence in their purchase.
Mushroom extract blend label
Transparency from a mushroom company is of utmost importance. Does the supplement you’re looking at buying identify whether it uses mushroom or mycelium? Does it list beta-glucan levels?

The Role of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) plays a crucial role in promoting responsible practices within the animal supplement industry. When searching for pet supplements, look for the NASC Quality Seal on product labels. This seal indicates that the company has passed independent audits and adheres to strict guidelines, including proper labeling, quality control, and an established adverse event reporting system.

The Road to Improved Quality and Consistency

To address the challenges surrounding the quality and transparency of mushroom supplements for pets, there is a need for industry-wide improvements. Currently, there are no specific guidelines or regulatory language that differentiate between mushroom and mycelial biomass products for animal health. This lack of clarity can lead to confusion among pet owners and potentially compromise their pets’ well-being.

Advocating for regulatory changes that ensure accurate labeling and standardized quality control measures is paramount. Organizations such as the NASC can play a pivotal role in establishing guidelines and working alongside regulatory authorities to ensure the safety and efficacy of pet supplements.

The Power of Mushroom Supplements

Mushrooms contain a rich array of bioactive compounds, with β-glucans being one of the most notable. Supplementing your pet’s diet with high-quality mushroom extract products can help support a number of their body’s systems, including their immune system. With mushrooms to support their health, you can help your loving fur baby to live a longer, stronger life.

You can gain a more in-depth understanding of the points outlined above by reading this article.

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Real Mushrooms

Real Mushrooms is driven by the desire to deliver the best possible medicinal mushrooms extracts in their purest form, without any carriers or grain fillers.