Pet Age recently spoke with Mika Wheelwright, founder and owner of Fidobiotics, to find out more about her pet supplement company and how her products benefit digestive health.
Q How did your childhood dog help inspire you to start Fidobiotics?
A As Pledge, my family’s golden retriever, got older, he needed knee surgery. Following the surgery, Pledge received a course of antibiotics that wreaked havoc on his good flora and caused digestive upset. While his knee improved, his gut health suffered.
It’s important to mention that I was fortunate to grow up within the world of probiotics. My parents owned a contract manufacturing company that specialized in probiotics for 38+ years. They are passionate about health and nutrition and that passion passed on to me (along with some helpful industry know-how). I didn’t hesitate to treat Pledge’s tummy troubles the same way I would any member of the family, with some probiotics. By the next day, he was visibly more comfortable, and the quality of his stool improved over the week. I was so relieved that our human probiotics had worked so well.
Pledge’s response to probiotics inspired a desire to make a product with the very best, most effective strains for cats and dogs. While making the very best product is the top priority, Fidobiotics also became my vehicle to educate and teach others about the importance of good gut health and the important role that probiotics play.
Q Why are probiotics important to dogs and cats?
A Gut health research is some of the most innovative and progressive in the health sciences today. We now know that good gut health and a diverse and healthy microbiome effects not just your digestive health but also your immunity, mood and emotional well-being and much more. Taking probiotics can also aid in certain allergies and other inflammatory conditions. With the fast pace of research and new studies, it appears this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our cats and dogs can share in these awesome benefits.
Q What sets your products apart from the competition?
A There is a lot that sets Fidobiotics apart! To start, everything we make is human-grade, non-GMO, grain-free, gluten-free. Also, I think my upbringing within the human side of nutraceuticals, supplements and probiotics has prepared me to advocate for good gut health among our furry friends. In addition, our technology with the CSP Activ-Vial, understanding formulations with not just probiotics but herbs, mushrooms, vitamins and minerals, is multi-beneficial. And finally, Fidobiotics is an all-female operation at the moment!
Women make up the majority of the pet consumer demographic. In fact, 85 percent of all consumer purchases in the U.S. are made by women. As a female owner in the pet industry, Fidobiotics is better able to understand the key demographic and cater specifically to women in a fun, scientific and fact-based way.
Q What product has been the best-seller from your lineup?
A Good Guts has been the star of the show! It is a complete daily digestive supplement with 11 probiotics, two prebiotics and five digestive enzymes. This year we also launched a calming aid in the form of CBD + probiotics, called Maxin’ Relaxin’ Rover (or Calm Down Kitty for cats). All of our products are in a powder format, water soluble, so they are super easy to administer to any type of food. Not to mention they taste derrricious!!
Q What advice would you have to retailers who are considering bringing in probiotics?
A There is seemingly no end to dogs and cats who encounter digestive issues—but adding a probiotic/digestive enzyme like Good Guts to your inventory is good for a few reasons.
First, the small packaging—that little footprint means a bigger profit per square inch for your effort. Next, it’s an easy add on sale to ANY customer, feeding ANY food—and they’ll thank you for it! Finally, [for] pets who just can’t take other tummy fixes such as pumpkin or pectin, this is a great, and arguably better, alternative. Tummies will be fixed AND pets will benefit from a boost to their immune system and other health improvements.
Whether or not you bring in Fidobiotics, here is an absolute must-know cheat sheet:
- Multiple Strains: More strains of probiotics, the better, as you will have more health benefits. (This is the general rule if you are looking for a daily)
- CFU count: CFU is a Colony Forming Unit; it is the way in which a probiotic is measured. The higher the count, the better, preferably in the billions.
- Packaging: This is extremely important because probiotics die extremely easy through moisture and temperature.
- Best if used by date: It’s important that the company has done stability testing to ensure it’s alive by the time your fur baby takes it. Manufacturing date is stating this is how strong it was then—not when the product is ingested.
- Prebiotics: You always need the pre with the pro. The prebiotic is a non-soluble fiber that helps get the probiotics to the destination alive. Some say it’s the food for the probiotics, but I like to say it’s the car that gets it safely to the destination.