There are at least 14 varieties of miscanthus and it grows, sometimes spontaneously and invasively, all over the world. When it gets too wild in our yards, and its feathery flowers bloom and let loose in the air, we usually cut it back. But it will grow again and again, especially after a good rain.
Miscanthus found to thrive in the mid-west. (M-Fiber)
While there are several industrial uses for miscanthus, such as producing power and heat, ethanol, and green building material, recent studies have been conducted that indicate miscanthus is an excellent dietary food source for fiber in the diets of dogs and cats. The type of miscanthus studied was the Miscanthus giganteus, but other varieties may be studied in the future. Miscanthus giganteus grows much taller than, say, our commonly found Miscanthus sinensis, or 'silvergrass.'
It has many benefits. Miscanthus is easy to grow and to process compared to other fiber supplements in pet food. It is natural, non-GMO, grain free, and gluten free. It is grown and processed in the U.S. And it does not contain sugars, amino acids, and polypeptides that can be found in typical pet food fiber such as such as tomato pomace, rice bran, sugar beet pulp and pea fiber. "Since these byproducts are usually made from the skins and outer hulls, they also have a greater potential to contain pesticides and other harmful toxins that can find their way into the food we feed our dogs and cats. Other fibers, such as cellulose powder, are produced from wood chips and pulp that are processed using harsh chemicals." (Pet Business)
Pet Business lists some of the benefits of miscanthus as follows:
- Miscanthus is purposely grown as a nutritional fiber crop in the Midwestern U.S.
- It contains over 80 percent dietary fiber.
- It is all natural, non-GMO, grain-free, and gluten-free.
- It is not a byproduct of another industry, so strict environmental conditions during all steps can be monitored from field to factory.
- It is grown without the use of herbicides and pesticides and can even be purchased with organic certification.
- It is ecologically beneficial. Because is its grown on marginal farmland and has a perennial root system, miscanthus crops are net carbon negative, improve soil quality and reduce soil erosion and run-off.
There are a few companies that have already started including miscanthus in their dog and cat foods. Some have patented or trademarked their formulations and avoid using the word 'miscanthus' in their ingredients. But cheese-flavored Bernie's Perfect Poop proudly includes miscanthus among its ingredients in its new supplement. That's because miscanthus grass, pumpkin powder, and flax seed fibers provide "the perfect poop," something all pet parents have to admit is a joy to behold.
But that's not all that's in the Bernie's Perfect Poop supplements. They also include prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes to form a high fiber solution that heals and maintains your dog's gut, so if your dog has any immune system problems in his gut or elsewhere, the Perfect Poop will probably kick butt and get rid of them too. Customers do say that the supplements have taken care of skin allergies! And it even freshens breath.