Mushrooms are a staple in many dishes around the world. Even though these edible fungi grow in backyards, parks, and gardens, there are so many stories of mushroom foraging gone wrong. We know that certain mushrooms are safe for human consumption; however, can dogs eat mushrooms?
Well, there is no straight cut answer. Some mushrooms have health benefits for humans and dogs. Then again, certain species of mushrooms are toxic and lethal to humans and dogs as well. So the best advice is to check with your vet before sharing any human food with your dog, including mushrooms.
When Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
Sticking to store-bought mushrooms for your dog is the best way to go unless you’re a mycologist or a biologist who studies the fungi.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced forager, it doesn’t mean that simply because mushrooms are safe for humans that they are automatically safe for your dogs.
So if you sauté some mushrooms in some olive oil and want to give your dog a little, it should be okay as long as your vet approves of it. Just be sure that you are not mixing mushrooms with any other vegetables or seasonings that could be potentially toxic to your dog.
Plain mushrooms are the best way to go to ensure that your dog is not affected by any of the seasonings in the dish. Mushrooms are also a great source of vitamin B and minerals such as potassium.
When Can’t Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
If you are on a hike or in the backyard with your dog and find that your dog has gotten his teeth on some mushrooms, it’s probably time to call your vet.
Also, collect any of the remaining mushrooms your dog ate to help the vet better understand what course of action to take.
Your dog may experience a variety of symptoms depending on what type of mushrooms they ate, including:
- Neurological issues
Please note that these are just some of the symptoms your dog could have from mushroom poisoning. Quick treatment is, therefore, required, or the situation could become deadly.
Treating Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs
The treatment options available for mushroom poisoning depend on the species of mushrooms ingested, the symptoms your dog is experiencing, and how recently the mushrooms when ingested.
Getting a sample of the mushrooms, wrapped in a paper towel and stored in a paper bag will help your vet determine how to help your dog on the road to recovery.
One of the treatment methods involved is induced vomiting and administering drugs to counteract the toxin. Your dog will receive supportive care, which will ensure that they are comfortable so they can manage their symptoms. Some dogs may slip into a non-fatal-like sleep and will require close attention until they are awake.
What Kinds of Wild Mushrooms Are Toxic to Dogs?
The reality is that while only a small percentage of mushroom species in the wild are toxic, the ones that are toxic are extremely toxic. What you should know is they are also difficult to distinguish from the non-toxic varieties. This is why vets recommend that you treat all wild mushrooms as potentially toxic, and in the event that your dog and ingests them, consider it a veterinary emergency.
Dogs enjoy exploring the world through taste and scent, and this is one of the reasons why they may eat mushrooms and other odd foods. To make things worse, some toxic mushrooms like time for Amanita Phalloids and Inocybe spp contain a fishy odor. If you didn’t already know this, dogs find the fishy scent particularly attractive. This explains a lot about why dogs ingest these toxic mushroom species.
Here are a few wild mushroom species that seem to cause the most problems:
- Death Cap is known as Amanita Phalloides
- Deadly Galerina, also known as Galerina marginata
- Jeweled deathcap referred to as Amanita gemmata
- Deadly Agaric or Fly agaric, also known as Amanita muscaria
- False morel or Gyromitra spp
- Inocybe spp and Clitocybe dealbata mushrooms
Common Edible Mushrooms You Can Share With Your Dog
Button mushrooms have as many antioxidants as most of these fancy mushrooms popping up in health food and grocery stores. In fact, many types of mushrooms are good not just for us but for our furry friends too.
Button mushrooms are the most cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. They also turn into crimini mushrooms, which turn into portobello mushrooms. The amazing part is that just a few days growing difference between these popular mushrooms creates these three popular varieties that are all packed with antioxidants vitamin B, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, and copper. In fact, one 3 ounce serving of button mushroom contains 5 mg of L-ergothioneine and is one of the antioxidants that are not destroyed by cooking.
They are currently 2,000 known species of Reishi mushrooms. The most important ones are identified by color. And they come in blue, yellow, red, purple, white and black. However, the most commonly cultivated is red Reishi mushrooms.
Reishi mushrooms are also referred to as “Grass of heaven” and is used as a tonic to help improve digestion, increase energy, support the cardiovascular system, regulate the immune system and alleviate allergy symptoms. The mushrooms are also rich in polypeptides, polysaccharides, and 16 types of amino acids, as well as organic acids, micro-elements, and coumarin.
In fact, these mushrooms help reduce fatigue when given as a supplement during chemotherapy or radiation. It also reduces appetite loss, risk of fiction, and bone marrow suppression.
In Asia, Shiitake mushrooms are a symbol of longevity. They are actually considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. In fact, these mushrooms are the second most cultivated mushrooms around the globe. These mushrooms are a rich source of protein and contain combine beef liver and vitamins A, C, B6, as well as copper, iron, folate, manganese, magnesium, pantothenic acid, potassium and niacin for your feline friend. They also contain more than 50 enzymes, such as Pepsin, which aids indigestion.
Maitake mushrooms have been used medicinally for 3,000 years in Japan and China. It’s often referred to as the “King of mushrooms.” These mushrooms are said to have amazing healing powers and have also been called an anti-cancer agent. Ultimately, they help to regulate blood sugar levels and also lower your cholesterol. One fact is that the chemical structure in Maitake’s polysaccharide compound is different from the beta-glucans that are found in other medicinal mushrooms. In fact, it is believed that these mushrooms demonstrate strong tumor suppressant abilities and boost immunity that fights infections.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms for Your Dog
It is believed that occasionally serving mushrooms to your dog will help extend their life. So if you enjoy eating mushrooms, there is no harm in sharing the benefits with your furry friend. You can swap out the meat at least once a week and substitute it with a serving of mushrooms.
Some of the health benefits of mushrooms include:
- Improves the diversity of nutrients in the diet, especially minerals.
- Help support liver and kidney function
- Improves nutrition in deficient and weak animals
- Lowers cholesterol and also supports weight-loss and fatty liver diseases
- Improves geriatric conditions such as blood sugar and metabolism problems
- Prevents viral infections
- Contains various antioxidants that are good for the overall health of your pet
How to Add Mushrooms to Your Dog’s Diet
Mushrooms, like any other food for your pet, should be gradually introduced to prevent an upset stomach. Over a period of several days, you should slowly increase the amount that you’re feeding your dog, and if you notice any signs of illness, stop immediately.
You should also be aware that you should introduce only one new food at a time so you will be able to identify the culprit if your pet ends up with any signs of illness or upset stomach.
Fresh and dried mushrooms, in general, contain more beneficial nutrients than preserved or canned mushrooms. Since dogs do not contain the enzymes needed to break down the fiber as well as some of the sugars in mushrooms, you should cook the fresh mushrooms before feeding them to your dog to better enable digestion.
The Bottom Line
Store-bought mushrooms have just as many health benefits for your dog as it does for you. They are also safe to share with your dog, and if you’re snacking on button mushrooms as you prepare dinner, feel free to toss your pup a piece or two. However, as we mentioned earlier, it’s always best to cook or steam the mushrooms to help break down the fibers and sugars so that your dog will be able to digest them better. So mushrooms are perfectly safe for your dog as long as they are free from any seasonings and sauces.