Mushrooms can be delicious but also extremely dangerous. While you can feed your dog mushrooms, there are limitations. If you are thinking about providing your dog mushrooms or are worried that they might have already ingested these fungi, then keep reading.
In the following article, we’ll take a look at what species of mushrooms are safe to feed your dog, how to identify the symptoms of mushroom poisoning, and more.
The Facts about Dogs and Mushrooms
While mushrooms are a staple in many tasty dishes we eat, they also grow wild in many wooded areas, parks, and even our gardens. We’ve all heard stories about mushroom foragers dying because of a toxic mushroom, and so it can be pretty alarming when our dog sniffs and even eats some mushrooms he finds when out and about.
While certain household varieties of mushrooms are safe and even beneficial for your dog to consume, other wild types could be very toxic, leading to your dog getting very sick.
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Are They Safe for Your Dogs?
While dogs can eat edible mushrooms sold in grocery stores, they don’t need mushrooms in their diet to be a hundred percent healthy. For this reason, many pet parents prefer to avoid giving their dogs mushrooms and instead opt for other healthy vegetables as snacks such as carrots and humans.
In addition, wild mushrooms can be poisonous to canines, just as they are for humans. Some people say that dogs can identify toxic mushrooms by their scent; however, this is inaccurate. Some poisonous mushrooms might be more appealing to your inquisitive pet due to their unique smells and textures.
This is true in the case of the Amanita phalloides (death cap) and Inocybe spp, species with a fishy odor that attracts dogs.
What are the health benefits of mushrooms for dogs?
Mushrooms have many health benefits and are packed full of nutrients, so adding them to your dog’s diet can help support liver and kidney function, improve overall nutrition and boost your pet’s metabolism.
In addition, mushrooms can stabilize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, manage weight loss, prevent viral infection, reduce blood pressure, and boost the immune system. Mushrooms can also help your pet stave off certain diseases like fatty liver disease, heart disease, and cancer.
Mushrooms also act as prebiotics, naturally providing support to the gut through healthy fiber. They also offer a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, folic acid, Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Riboflavin, Selenium, and Zinc. Mushrooms are also rich in amino acids and antioxidants that prevent free radical damage.
They are also an excellent protein source and provide your pet with healthy fats and essential digestive enzymes.
What Kinds of Mushrooms are Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Mushrooms that we can purchase for human consumption are also typically safe for dogs to consume. If you buy mushrooms for your dog, always try and use organic varieties. As mushrooms naturally soak up any pesticides, organic varieties will be free of additional toxins.
Alongside the mushrooms you find in your grocery store, several medical mushrooms are used to treat allergies, cancers, and diseases. Some of these can also be very beneficial for your dog.
Here is a list of the types of mushrooms that are safe for your pet to consume:
1. Turkey Tail Mushroom (Coriolus or Trametes Versicolor)
This is a tremendous cancer-fighting mushroom featuring colorful rings that resemble a turkey’s tail. These mushrooms have been used to treat several cancers in humans and have also tripled the life expectancy of some dogs.
Rich in prebiotics, this mushroom can dramatically improve a dog’s gut health, while the antioxidants found in this mushroom fight aging and improve organ function.
2. Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus)
With a delicious lobster taste, the antioxidants found in the Lion’s Man mushroom will help your dog fight cancer, heart disease, and the effects of aging. This mushroom is also used to boost the immune system, prevent brain disease, slow or even reverse the results of stomach, liver, and colon cancer.
3. Cordyceps Mushroom (Cordyceps Militaris)
Found growing on caterpillars and cultivated commercially, these mushrooms can boost your dog’s immune system, fight tumor cells, and help ward off bacterias and parasites. These mushrooms can also manage diabetes to help treat a leaky gut and reduce skin inflammation.
4. Maitake Mushroom (Grifola Frondosa)
A powerful healing mushroom, also known as the dancing mushroom that is one of the best for slowing cancer growth in dogs. It is also used as a remedy for kennel cough.
5. Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus)
Known as the ugly mushroom, Chaga can boost your pet’s heart, liver, and intestinal health. In addition, the vitamins and minerals in this mushroom can help fight off viruses and infection and improve energy levels. This mushroom, mush like the others, also has strong anti-cancer properties.
6. Phellinus Mushroom
This anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial mushroom is particularly good at fighting Staphylococcus. It can also help destroy cancer cells, while the anti-inflammatory properties support joint health in dogs.
7. Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum)
This mushroom is particularly good at stopping the itching from allergies due to the slow release of histamines. It will also help to boost your pet’s immune system and prevent cancer. Known as the mushroom of immortality, this fungus is known to extend one’s life.
8. Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
A popular eating mushroom, Shiitake supports the immune system, warding against cancers and heart disease. This mushroom also contains 30 different enzymes for better management of digestive issues. It will also help your pet break down the carbohydrates in dog food, while the high amino acid content can help improve mood and energy levels.
9. Cremini Mushroom (Baby Bella)
Known as baby bella mushrooms, Cremini is essentially juvenile portobello mushrooms. These mushrooms can help boost your pet’s immune system and contain many helpful bacteria to improve digestion.
10. Portobello Mushroom
Plain Portobello mushrooms can be safe for dogs to consume. These mushrooms help convert sunshine into Vitamin D, which can aid in absorbing calcium and phosphorus, improving your dog’s bone and joint health.
11. Porcini Mushroom
Another mushroom commonly found in grocery stores, Porcinis, provides a great fiber source for your dog’s gut health. They also supply antioxidants for immunity, protein for muscle mass, and iron for essential minerals.
12. White Button Mushroom
The most commonly found edible mushroom, white button mushrooms have high levels of B Vitamins and are a rich source of nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and fibers. These will help support your pet’s skin while helping to break sugar, fats, and protein down into energy.
What are the Safe Ways to Feed Mushrooms to Your Dog?
If you plan to introduce mushrooms into your dog’s diet, do so gradually, as you would any new food, to avoid any stomach upset and stop immediately should you notice any sign of illness.
Fresh or dried mushrooms will retain more nutrients than canned or tinned mushrooms, however, be sure never to feed your dog raw mushrooms. Dogs do not have the enzymes needed to break down the sugars and fibers found in mushrooms, and cooking mushrooms will help digestion.
Also, mushrooms have a tough, chitinous wall that is broken down on cooking, releasing the nutrients. Cooking mushrooms also inactivates monomethyl hydrazine which is present in raw mushrooms and can be toxic to dogs.
Do consider leaving mushrooms out in sunlight before feeding. This helps them produce ergosterol, or vitamin D2, which will help your dog absorb more vitamin D.
Also, keep mushrooms as plain as possible. Mushroom sauces can contain other oils and seasonings like garlic and onions, which can be harmful to pets.
When are mushrooms unsafe for dogs?
While only some mushrooms are toxic to dogs, the toxic ones can be fatal. Some of the most commonly found toxic mushroom species include:
- Amanita phalloides, also known as the death cap
- Galerina marginata, also known as deadly Galerina
- Amanita gemmata, also known as the jeweled death cap
- Amanita muscaria, also known as the fly agaric or deadly Agaric
- Gyromitra spp., also known as false morel
- Inocybe spp. and Clitocybe dealbata mushrooms
- Amanita ocreata, also known as the Angel of Death
- Lepiota, also known as the False Parasol
If your dog eats a wild mushroom, always consider it poisonous unless proven otherwise, as it can be challenging to identify wild mushrooms, even for a trained mycologist. While the symptoms of mushroom poisoning will differ depending on the mushroom species and toxicity, some of the common symptoms include:
- Increased drooling
- Excess urination
- Loss of energy
- Tear production
- Tremors and seizures
- Liver failure
- Acute kidney injury
- Neurological distress
- A staggering gait
- Abdominal pain
In addition, certain mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties. These include the Conocybe, Gymnopilus, Psilocybe, and Panaeolus mushrooms. On the other hand, mushrooms can also cause gastrointestinal distress to dogs. This is particularly the case with the Boletus, Chlorophyllum, and Entoloma mushroom varieties.
Mushroom Allergies in Dogs
In addition to watching for the symptoms of mushroom poisoning, some dogs may also show allergies or other side effects after consuming edible mushrooms.
Signs of a food allergy from eating mushrooms can include skin issues, excessive gas, and vomiting after eating. Severe allergic reactions are pretty rare, but you can see your dog break out in hives, have difficulty breathing and an increased heart rate, and swelling around the face and neck.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should you do when you suspect mushroom poisoning in your dogs?
Many vets say that eating wild mushrooms is a much under-reported cause of fatal poisoning in dogs. If you believe your dog has consumed a wild mushroom, be sure to contact your vet immediately. Don’t try and identify the mushroom first. Instead, treat all wild mushrooms as potentially toxic and life-threatening.
How will your vet treat mushroom poisoning in dogs?
As veterinary treatment can vary based on the type of mushroom, try and get a sample of the mushroom your dog consumed before heading off to the vet. If the mushroom ingestion was recent, your vet is likely to try and induce vomiting. Alternatively, your vet may use activated charcoal to bind the poison or drugs that counteract the toxin.
After that, supportive care will be offered to keep your pup comfortable, providing fluids, anti-nausea medications, and a liver protectant. Some dogs can slip into a deep coma-like sleep and will require monitoring until they wake.
Yes… Dogs Can Eat Mushrooms!
If you have a pooch that likes to follow his nose and you live in a wooded area, the chances are you’ll encounter a wild mushroom at some point. Don’t wait for your dog to ingest one of these mushrooms, ensure you have the number for a 24-hour vet and poison control center on hand at all times.
If you do plan to feed your pet mushrooms, you can look forward to a range of immune-boosting and disease-fighting benefits; just always be one hundred percent sure what you are giving your animal, as poor choices could lead to disastrous consequences.
Further reading: What other Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Asparagus
- Can Dogs Eat Cucumber
- Can Dogs Eat Ginger
- Can Dogs Eat Pickles