Dogs explore their world through scent and taste, which means it’s not uncommon for your pup to want to stop and nibble on a wild mushroom while he’s roaming around outside. When it comes to determining which “human” foods dogs can eat, mushrooms are a tricky subject.
There’s a common saying among mushroom foragers: “there are old mushroom hunters, there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” While the majority of mushrooms are perfectly safe and can provide added health benefits, there is a small percentage of mushrooms that are toxic—and those that are toxic are VERY toxic.
Before you swear off mushrooms altogether, take some time to learn about which mushrooms are safe for your dog to eat, and which should be avoided. It’s worth noting that all Pet Honesty products containing mushrooms are safe for canine consumption, with several health benefits.
Which Mushrooms Are Unsafe?
As much as we wish dogs could use their impeccable sense of smell to detect toxins, this is unfortunately not the case. To complicate things even more, some of the most toxic species of mushrooms have a fishy odor, which is especially attractive to dogs.
Some of the most toxic mushroom species include:
- Amanita phalloides, or “death cap”
- Galerina marginata, or “deadly Galerina”
- Amanita gemmata, or “jeweled deathcap”
- Amanita muscaria, or “deadly agaric”
- Gyromitra species
- Inocybe species
- Clitocybe dealbata
Symptoms of mushroom toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, weakness, lethargy, seizures, jaundice, ataxia (appearing drunk), and signs of being in pain.
Even the most experienced mushroom foragers make mistakes when identifying mushrooms. If your dog ingests a wild mushroom, contact your vet or poison control center immediately just to be safe, whether you see symptoms of toxicity or not. If possible, collect a sample or take a photo of the mushroom in question so that the vet can determine the best course of action according to the exact toxin contained in the mushroom.
Prevent your pup from eating wild mushrooms by keeping him on a leash or closely monitoring him whenever you’re out roaming around. Training your dog to follow commands such as “leave it” or “drop it” will be helpful for those moments when curiosity gets the best of your pooch. Keep an eye out for mushroom growth in your yard or around your house, and remove them as needed so your dog can safely explore without worry.
Which Mushrooms Are Safe?
Generally, mushrooms sold in grocery stores are safe for dogs and humans to eat. Types of mushrooms that your dog can safely eat include:
- White button
- Turkey tail
- Lion’s mane
As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t eat it then your dog shouldn’t either. If you decide to let your dog eat mushrooms, avoid sharing mushroom dishes containing ingredients that can be harmful to canines: garlic and onions, oil, butter, and seasoning, to name a few. Stick with plain mushrooms, cooked with dog-safe oil.
And yes—they must be cooked. While raw, whole foods are generally recommended when it comes to a canine diet, dogs do not create the necessary enzymes for breaking down fiber and sugars found in raw mushrooms. In order to avoid digestion issues, be sure to cook or dehydrate any mushrooms before letting your dog eat them.
Mushrooms for holistic purposes are available as a powder or in the form of a capsule. Consult your regular vet, or a holistic vet, to confirm the correct dosage for your dog.
Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are high in fiber and full of antioxidants, and many are high in protein as well. Beneficial ingredients in mushrooms vary according to the specific mushroom species, but may contain ingredients such as amino acids, vitamins A and B, copper, enzymes, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, and zinc.
Essentially, this means that mushrooms:
- Support liver and kidney function
- Regulate blood sugar and metabolism
- Lower cholesterol
- Promote weight loss
- Prevent viral infections
- Boost the immune system
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce likelihood of serious diseases
If you would rather stay on the cautious side, it’s perfectly fine if you prefer to avoid letting your dog eat mushrooms altogether and opt for another tasty treat instead. Dogs do not need mushrooms in their diet; the beneficial ingredients in mushrooms can be found elsewhere.
If you want your pooch to benefit from the healthy ingredients found in mushrooms but don’t want to worry about whether you’ve selected the right type, consider Pet Honesty’s Daily Multivitamin Chews or Advanced Allergy SkinHealth Chews, which contain an organic mushroom blend as part of their natural ingredients.
As with any of our supplements, we advise you always monitor your pup when introducing any new food or supplement since there may be allergies you are not aware of yet and may take some time for them to adjust.Sources: