Obviously, we want our dogs to be around for as long as possible. We also want to ensure that life that means so much to us is full of joy. Ensuring your dog’s daily diet includes vital nutrients is the best way to give them a happy, healthy, and long life.
Depending on the quality of your dog’s diet, many of these nutritional elements can be found in their food, but for some, you may want to add supplements. Beta-glucan, a cellular component found naturally in certain plants, fungi, and yeasts, is one of these essential immune-boosting fibers that are great for your dog’s health.
iHeartDogs’ Mushroom Gold Bone Broth Immune Support Powder is made from a six mushroom blend, so it’s rich in beta-glucan. By adding just a few scoops of powder to your dog’s food at mealtime, you can help control their cholesterol and boost their immune system, heart health, and digestive health.
So, now you might be wondering: why add supplements; isn’t my dog’s food enough? Let’s get a bit more into what beta-glucan is, where it’s found, and how it can benefit your dog’s health at any age.
What is “Beta-glucan”?
First off: it’s not a medication, nor is it a “chemical additive.” Beta-glucan is a polysaccharide, and it’s as natural as plants are.
As mentioned above, beta-glucan can be found in the cell walls of certain plants as well as in some yeasts, fungi (like mushrooms), algae, and bacteria. Common dietary sources include things like:
- Maitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Reishi mushrooms
- Oats, rye, barley, and wheat (humans often get a dose from cereal)
However, for those picky eaters, beta-glucan frequently comes in supplement form (either a pill or a powder). Beta-glucan is certainly beneficial to dogs, but as it’s also in the foods we eat, human beings and other animals benefit too.
Beta-glucan (β-glucan) is a naturally occurring soluble dietary fiber, meaning it dissolves in water. Beta-glucan is referred to as an “immune modulator.” It’s most known for the benefits it provides to the immune system (obviously), digestion, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels in the body. It also helps reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions like diabetes and arthritis.
Now, let’s get further into those beta-glucan health benefits. Some of this might feel like a biology class, but it’s important to know just how impactful a simple change to your dog’s diet can be.
What are the health benefits of Beta-glucan for dogs?
It stimulates the immune system.
The immune-boosting benefits of Beta-glucan have been studied at length (albeit mostly in human beings). For one thing, the fiber plays a prominent role in stimulating lymphocytes (a.k.a. white blood cells), so the body can fight off intracellular parasites and extracellular pathogens.
In simpler terms: beta-glucan promotes white blood cell activity, which helps fight off harmful intruders. (Pretty obvious now why they call it an immune modulator.)
Beta-glucan helps with digestion and gut health.
When ingested, beta-glucan promotes the growth of “good” bacteria in your dog’s intestines. At the same time, β-glucan works to keep harmful bacteria in the gut at bay.
The healthy bacteria that live naturally in the body are known as probiotics, and since beta-glucan is a “prebiotic” fiber, probiotics rely on them to thrive. The stomach needs probiotics to maintain a healthy microbial balance. That job ultimately pertains to the body’s overall health too.
As a soluble fiber like β-glucan dissolves in the body, it creates a gel that does several things to improve digestion. The gel slows the passage of the food traveling through your dog’s intestines. This increases the amount of time it takes for them to digest food and leaves your dog feeling fuller longer. That, in turn, can reduce the likelihood of overeating. Slowing the digestion process also aids in the absorption of nutrients and the removal of excess compounds.
RELATED: The Benefits Of Maitake Mushrooms For Dogs Will Get Those Furry Paws Dancing
It’s good for the heart.
Beta-glucan is rich in antioxidants, which can reduce or prevent inflammation. Antioxidants fight “free radicals” in the body, which are basically compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high. Free radicals are linked to multiple chronic illnesses, including heart disease.
The gel created by β-glucan can also carry excess lipids (cholesterol) out of the body as it’s digested. Studies have shown this cholesterol-reducing effect, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in your dog.
It helps regulate blood glucose levels.
Beta-glucan also slows the absorption of sugar into your dog’s bloodstream. This action helps to keep their blood sugar levels stable.
Because of that regulation, frequent ingestion of beta-glucan can prevent a dog from developing diabetes later in life.
Beta-glucan works to prevent cancer and combat its side effects.
Studies show promise in the use of beta-glucan supplements to slow tumor growth in dogs. That’s because beta-glucan contains D-fraction, a substance that stimulates cancer-killing T-cells.
Not to mention, beta-glucan’s stimulation of white blood cell activity can really help strengthen the immune system while a dog is undergoing chemotherapy (which can make their immune system weaker). Dogs undergoing cancer treatments can take beta-glucan supplements to help them with their fight.
RELATED: The Chaga Mushroom: An Ugly Fungi Or A Miracle Cure For Canine Cancer?
How is Beta-glucan good for puppies specifically?
The first few months of a dog’s life are critical. They need sufficient nutrition in order to develop properly.
Not to mention- when they’re young and just weaned off their mother, puppies are at a higher risk for acquiring bacterial or viral infections. Puppies who ingest beta-glucan can maximize their body’s defenses when they need protection most.
Gut health and immune system health are very closely related (about 70% of the immune system is located in the gut), so the work beta-glucan does in the digestive tract is extremely valuable at this tender age.
Increasing beta-glucan levels in a puppy’s diet, potentially through supplements, can also increase the efficiency of their vaccines and help prevent the development of chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity.
Basically, increasing beta-glucan in a puppy’s diet sets them up for a long, healthy life. And that’s something every dog parent wants!
Is Beta-glucan good for older dogs too?
Absolutely it is! While the benefits of beta-glucan are essential to giving a puppy a strong, healthy start to their life, these food sources and supplements are not just for developing dogs. Fully grown dogs can get a lot out of increasing the beta-glucan levels in their diets too.
Particularly beneficial to an older dog are the joint-health benefits beta-glucan provides. Mobility issues are among the most common for dogs getting up there in years, and they can really use the anti-inflammatory properties.
And, of course, there’s the heart health and cancer-fighting properties, which are both conditions whose likelihoods increase with age.
Is Beta-glucan safe for dogs?
The short answer: yes! It exists naturally in plenty of foods they already consume. As with almost anything dogs (and people, for that matter) ingest, they just need to take the right amount. The daily recommended dose will depend on the size of the dog.
In general, too much fiber can cause bloating and discomfort. It would take a lot to be harmful, but if you do sense something wrong with your dog, contact your vet. The most likely risk of beta-glucan overconsumption is gas. You might have a hard time preventing that in your dog anyway.
Additionally, if your dog is on immunosuppressive drugs, they may see less of an effect from β-glucan with the typical dose. There’s also somewhat of a built-in concern for dogs with hypoglycemia, as their blood glucose levels may drop too low.
Separately – you should always read through all the ingredients on any product you give your dog to make sure they’re not allergic to any of them. Signs of an allergic reaction can be found here.
(Note: This is meant to serve as a guide so you can be as informed as possible, but it’s not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Ask your veterinarian about beta-glucan in your dog’s diet.)
Are Mushrooms Safe For Dogs To Eat?
That’s another “yes, but it depends.” Not all mushrooms are equal. The ones listed in this article as sources of beta-glucan (shiitake, chaga, reishi, turkey tail, and maitake) are perfectly safe for dogs (and humans) to have. Also fine for dogs to eat are White Button (the most common mushroom on pizza, a favorite snack of sneaky dogs), Cremini, and Portobello.
RELATED: Explore The Many Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits For Dogs
That said, your dog shouldn’t just go around eating wild mushrooms they encounter or snag off the table. Some mushrooms can be toxic, and even experts have a tough time identifying all of them.
Common signs of mushroom poisoning include:
- Excess drooling
Cooked/prepared mushrooms might be bad for dogs to eat because of the ingredients added to them in that process (seasonings, oils, etc.) If your dog does somehow get ahold of a forbidden mushroom and you see any of the above symptoms, get them to the vet as soon as possible.
The Easiest Source Of Beta-Glucan: iHeartDogs’ Mushroom Gold Bone Broth For Dogs
The iHeartDogs’ Mushroom Gold Bone Broth For Dogs Immune Support Powder contains six different types of mushrooms (shiitake, chaga, reishi, turkey tail, and maitake), and it’s rich in immune-boosting nutrients. Beta-glucan is just one of those valuable components.
With this powder, your dog gets all the nutrients from bone broth combined with those from the added mushrooms. The bone broth also adds flavor good enough to charm the pickiest of eaters.
Besides all the benefits beta-glucan provides, this compound offers a kind of natural detox by supporting liver function. It’s also good for mobility and flexibility since it has anti-inflammatory properties (your dog’s joints will thank you). Really, it’s just an all-around healthy product.
A one-time purchase of a 2.88 oz jar of iHeartDogs’ Bone Broth comes out to $29.99. But here’s an added benefit: When you purchase one of these jars of immune support powder, we donate 7 meals to shelter dogs!
You can order just one jar (which lasts around 45 days), or you can sign up for a subscription to make re-purchasing easier. You’ll save more money with auto-ship, but it doesn’t affect the number of meals we donate.
A Mushroom Gold Bone Broth Jar contains 90 scoops of powder. All you have to do is sprinkle a scoop (as directed – it depends on the dog’s weight) into your dog’s meal once a day. That’s it.
iHeartDogs’ premium bone broth was made in the U.S. and formulated by veterinarians, which means you can trust the quality and effectiveness of the ingredients. You can learn more about the iHeartDogs Mushroom Gold Bone Broth Advanced Immune Support Powder by clicking here.
You can also learn more about iHeartDogs’ commitment to helping shelter animals by donating meals with every purchase on our site here. Thanks for supporting us so we can support them!
NOTE: The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.