Give us some background on how MuttGut came to be.
Michelle Griffin: MuttGut and KittyGut are the first retail products launched by The Culture Club, which I founded in 2017. My company created the patent-pending Urban Flora, a unique, fermented formula that came out of my own diagnosis of myasthenia gravis, a rare life-threatening neuromuscular, autoimmune disease. Ineffective immune regulation is a common consequence of microbiome dysbiosis, which is an imbalance or deficiency of gut bacteria. Today, The Culture Club, headquartered in Los Angeles, specializes in microbiome technology.
I joined forces with Gitte Jensen, Ph.D., to establish an efficacious supplement to manage my own immune response. The unique fermented postbiotic formulation became patent-pending Urban Flora. As an avid animal lover, I shared the product with my pets and found the results equally outstanding, leading to the creation of the pet product brands MuttGut and KittyGut.
The groundbreaking products are the culmination of years of research and development spurred on by my personal health issues, which were eventually treated using my unique fermented postbiotic formulation, the patent-pending Urban Flora. MuttGut, for dogs, and KittyGut, for cats, both contain 100 percent organic, human-grade ingredients, are non-GMO and grain free, and were formulated and tested in the U.S., in U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved laboratories.
Tell us about MuttGut’s microbiome support system and how it works.
Griffin: MuttGut and KittyGut contain the patent-pending supplement Urban Flora. They each provide a three-in-one prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic formula for dogs and cats that is sprinkled on the top of food. The prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics help improve gut health and the overall health of dogs and cats by establishing symbiosis in the microbiome.
MuttGut and KittyGut’s proprietary formula is a probiotic and postbiotic powerhouse for dogs and cats—fermented with 270 billion CFUs of diverse, beneficial bacteria. To supercharge antioxidant protection, they include the anti-inflammatory favorite, turmeric. Our spray-dry process stabilizes and encapsulates the metabolites naturally produced during fermentation to deliver long-term gut support that’s simple to serve.
It’s the first and only three-in-one gut health formula for pets that addresses health issues at the root cause. When we developed our formula, we took into consideration all elements of gut health.
What sets MuttGut apart from similar products on the market?
Griffin: There is really nothing like it available today. The reason the MuttGut product is so unique is that it combines key ingredients for a multilevel effect. By using a high-quality bentonite clay to detoxify the gut lining, the formula maintains and supports the foundational blocks of a healthy digestive system. The products are veterinarian recommended and human grade, made in the USA in an FDA-approved laboratory, organic and non-GMO, with no preservatives or fillers, and are grain free.
MuttGut and KittyGut are scientifically formulated to:
- Promote normal digestive function
- Support a healthy immune system
- Promote a healthy microbiome and gut flora
- Provide antioxidant protection
- Promote cellular reproduction
Does MuttGut have a company philosophy? How does it influence the research and development of your products?
Griffin: Our company philosophy is that “it all begins in the gut.” MuttGut can help pets to live their best life. The Culture Club’s mission is to tackle imbalances at the root cause. Science has shown that the gut is responsible for the quality of essential living—from digesting nutrients, making vitamins and producing chemicals that impact mood. A simple sprinkle of the formula on a pet’s food can alleviate a multitude of symptoms such as irregular digestion, runny poop, booty scoots, excessive gas, upset stomach, paw licking, occasional anxiousness, sensitive skin and much more.
How have pet owners’ approach to their animals’ health changed over the years? What are notable trends in the animal health category that retailers should be paying attention to?
Griffin: Pet owners are far savvier than ever before. With the growth of social media, information travels fast and the average consumer makes more educated choices. What makes us so unique at The Culture Club is that we are the first and only gut health company to bring a three-in-one product to market that addresses overall gut health. We make the pet owners’ lives more convenient. Consumers can get confused with all the different supplements on the market, so it’s important to start with the gut. Retailers should be guiding pet owners to improve gut health as a priority.
What do pet specialty retailers need to know about gut health?
Griffin: Your pet’s gut is a powerful yet delicate system of diverse bacteria and microflora that break down food into nutrients. By adding probiotics (good bacteria), prebiotics (food source for probiotics) and postbiotics (beneficial byproducts of probiotics) to their food, digestion becomes easier and produces incredible benefits. Urban Flora is a scientifically formulated, patent-pending pet supplement. We ferment a precise blend of prebiotics and probiotics to produce postbiotics that supercharge your pet’s gut.
How does MuttGut support independent pet retail partners? What role do you think independent retailers play in the overall market?
Griffin: Our independent retailers are key to bringing new and innovative products like MuttGut to market. They spend time to learn about the product and take the time to educate the pet owners. Our retail partners know their consumer in person and what the real issues are. At SuperZoo in 2021, we were told repeatedly that the majority of requests for recommendations by pet parents were gut health products. There is a real need for MuttGut, and that’s why there is such an incredible buzz in the industry around the release of our first product. The independent retailer plays a huge role in educating the consumer on all the new pet products and solutions in the industry.
Tell us about some key people at your company that your pet specialty retail partners should know about. What role do they play in making your team great, and what makes them great at it?
Griffin: Gitte Jensen, Ph.D., founded NIS Labs (Natural Immune Systems) in 1999. Her academic background is in cancer research, with a special focus on immune surveillance and systems biology. Her appointments at University of Aarhus, University of Alberta and McGill University—along with a strong interest in natural products, nutrition, herbal and complementary medicine—provide a unique bridge for serving traditional medicine as well as novel developments.
It has been an honor to work with Dr. Jensen, an innovative leader in her field, who has made an immense impact on my own health and life. Together, we can’t wait to share that impact with pet owners around the world.
The Culture Club investor David Levy is a serial entrepreneur and investor in innovative pet companies with 24 years of work in the pet industry. He also served as the former director at Whitebridge Pet Brands and Primal Health and as former CEO of Zeus and Co. Pet Supply. Currently, David is the CEO of Pet Product Innovations.
Lord Roderick Balfour will help with our expansion into the U.K. and Europe. As an investor of the new pet food brand Scrumbles, he will play a key role in our U.K. retail and distribution. Roddy’s global reach is a great asset to The Culture Club.
What should retailers who do not currently sell MuttGut know about your company?
Griffin: Gut health is the key to overall health, longevity, brain function and well-being. Our product is made with years of research behind it, human-grade ingredients, and we never compromise our quality. We have scientific studies to support knowledge, and we guarantee satisfaction. We stand by our product and provide a 100 percent refund if you are not satisfied. We build our relationships on trust and integrity.
Our No. 1 goal is to improve gut health in dogs and cats all over the world, and we need our partners to do this.
What does the future look like for MuttGut?
Griffin: This is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to create innovative new gut-related health products and treats that help our pets live longer, healthier lives.