If your pooch loves to explore using his tastebuds and sense of smell, you may find yourself wondering from time to time whether his tastebuds could get him in trouble—especially if the two of you like to spend time outdoors around wild plants.
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they enjoy and benefit from a diet of meat and vegetables. This means that your dog’s diet can include mushrooms… sometimes. Simply put, mushrooms are a tricky subject: some mushrooms offer significant health benefits, while other mushrooms can seriously threaten the health of your pup.
Toxic Mushrooms for Dogs
There are several species of mushrooms that are considered poisonous for dogs and humans alike. Some of the most common poisonous mushroom species include:
- Amanita phalloides (death cap)
- Galerina marginata (deadly Galerina)
- Amanita gemmata (jeweled death cap)
- Amanita muscaria (fly agaric)
- Gyromitra species (false morel)
- Inocybe species
- Clitocybe dealbata mushrooms
Unless you’re an experienced mushroom forager, it can be challenging to differentiate between mushroom species when you’re out for an adventure with your pup. As a precaution, assume that all mushrooms found in the wild are poisonous.
If Fido decides to taste test a wild mushroom, contact your vet or a poison control center as soon as possible. They can help to rid the body of mushrooms by inducing vomit, using activated charcoal, and/or taking additional steps as needed. If possible, bring a sample of the mushroom (or take a photo) to help identify which type of mushroom was ingested.
Signs of Mushroom Toxicity
Unless it has been confirmed otherwise, it’s best to assume that a wild mushroom is toxic. If your dog happened to sneak a taste while you weren’t looking, you may not be aware of any causes for concern until you begin seeing signs of mushroom toxicity.
Common signs of mushroom toxicity in dogs include:
- Weakness, or even collapse
- Bowel movement issues
- Abdominal discomfort
- Yellowing of the skin
In extreme cases, mushroom toxicity can be fatal. Don’t wait until things get serious—it’s best to consider it an emergency if your dog happened to eat an unidentified mushroom.
Safe Mushrooms for Dogs
While it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to mushrooms for dogs (or any potentially toxic ingredient, really), it is worth noting that there are various mushrooms that are perfectly safe and healthy for dogs.
Generally, mushrooms sold in grocery stores are safe for dogs to eat. Safe mushrooms for dogs include (but are not limited to):
- White button
Keep in mind that some dogs can be allergic to mushrooms, even if they have been deemed safe for consumption. As with any ingredients, introduce any dietary additions to your dog gradually, monitoring him closely for any signs of illness or food allergies.
Any time you notice abnormalities in your dog’s behavior or appearance, it’s a good idea to contact your vet to rule out any potentially serious problems.
Mushroom Health Benefits
In addition to being safe for consumption, the above-listed mushrooms for dogs can offer a variety of health benefits, including but not limited to:
- Liver and kidney support
- Nutrients such as amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins A & B, enzymes, magnesium, potassium, and more. Some mushrooms are also high in fiber and/or protein.
- Blood sugar and metabolism regulation
- Weight control
- Lowered cholesterol
- Immune system support
Decreased risk of illnesses and allergies
Adding Mushrooms to Your Dog’s Diet
If you’re interested in adding mushrooms to your dog’s diet, make sure to do it carefully. As with any new food being introduced to your dog’s diet, you’ll want to start with a small amount and slowly increase over time while monitoring for any signs of food allergies or illness. (It’s never a bad idea to talk to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.)
Only add one type of mushroom at a time—that way, if your dog has a negative reaction, you’ll be able to easily identify which one is causing problems.
Fresh or dried mushrooms tend to contain the most nutrients compared to their canned or preserved counterparts. With that in mind, please note that fresh mushrooms should always be cooked. Otherwise, your pup may have some tummy troubles, as dogs have difficulties digesting raw mushrooms.
While we tend to enjoy our mushrooms doused in flavorful sauces and seasonings, avoid adding any extra ingredients to your dog’s mushrooms. In this case, plain and simple is best.
You can also provide your dog with his dose of mushrooms with some of Pet Honesty’s supplemental chews. For example, Allergy Support+ Chews contains an organic blend of dog-friendly mushrooms along with other natural ingredients to support your pup’s immune function and overall health.