In veterinary practice, it’s quite common to see mushroom poisoning in dogs and cats. The fact remains that some mushrooms are certainly not safe for our dogs to consume and so conventional veterinary clinics may advise against feeding mushrooms to dogs. But, can dogs eat mushrooms? Recent scientific research has emerged over the last few years with data suggesting that mushrooms can actually benefit your pet! Therefore, in this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about mushrooms for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
Can dogs eat mushrooms? This is perhaps one of the most difficult questions veterinarians may have to answer during their clinical consultations. Yummy and nutritious to humans, mushrooms do have various health benefits for us, but new studies show that they can be just as beneficial to our dogs and cats as well.
You’ve probably heard of various holistic vets preaching about the many medicinal uses of mushroom for dogs. While, on the other side of the scale, you may have heard of the many cases of mushroom toxicities in dogs. The internet is full of various stories about mushroom consumption in dogs and so things can get a little confusing. So, here we will look at what studies and research says about “Can dogs eat mushrooms?”
What Studies Say…
A 2012 study analyzed mushroom poisoning cases in dogs. The study concluded by stating that there are thousands of mushroom species available in North America. However, of these thousands, less than a 100 are considered toxic to dogs—and of these 100, only mushrooms that fall under the genus Amanita are liable for mushroom poisonings in dogs.
In contrast, another study done in 2012 looked to examine the potential benefits that mushrooms may have in treating cancer in human patients. Interestingly enough, this research project used animal models—in this case, dogs, to examine the efficacy of a bioactive chemical known as Polysaccharopeptide (PSP).
PSP is the main active chemical found in the mushroom species known as Coriolus versicolor, which is commonly known as Turkey tail mushroom. In this study, researchers chose to treat dogs with canine hemangiosarcoma (liver and spleen cancer) with PSP. Most noteworthy, it was found that PSP did indeed slow down the progression of metastases of the cancer cells, thus increasing the longevity of these dogs.
So can dogs eat mushrooms? Yes! But, they cannot consume all mushrooms. Rather, dogs may only be tolerant to a few kind of mushroom species.
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms: What Types?
While there is a long list of mushrooms that can be safely consumed by dogs, we recommend the following list of medicinal mushrooms because they have proven to be safe and medically beneficial for dogs!
- Reishi Mushroom
- Shiitake Mushroom
- Deer antler fungus
- Maitake mushroom
- Lions Mane
- King Trumpet
- Turkey Tail
Health Benefits of Mushrooms for Dogs
The many health benefits of mushrooms have been predominately studied in humans, but during the last decade, there’s been a push towards understanding the health benefits of mushrooms for dogs. Mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds, which include alpha and beta-glucans, enzymes, ribonucleases, antioxidants, and more!
Reishi and Maitake mushrooms have been extensively studied during the last few years. One study demonstrated that the active compounds of Maitake mushrooms were able to reduce the growth of three types of cancer cells in dogs, this includes cancer mammary gland cancer, connective tissue cancer, and lymphoma cells.
Reshi, Maitake, and Shiitake —The Three Golden Mushrooms
Reshi, Maitake, and Shiitake are the three mushrooms that have been heavily praised for its various beneficial properties. All these three mushrooms are said to advantageous when it comes to slowing down the regression of cancer cells.
It’s been claimed that these three mushrooms can reduce the risk of skin infections and inflammations, provide immune support, and can potentially reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy.
Some clinical studies demonstrated that Reishi mushrooms may have the potential to treat conditions such as :
- Gastric ulcers
- Reishi mushrooms have the potential to reduce the effects of allergies due to their strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Based on human studies—using animal models, lion’s mane mushroom had the potential to promote the regeneration of a rat that had injured nerves. Therefore, experimentally lion’s mane mushroom can have a neuroregenerative properties.
In veterinary practice, mushrooms can prove to be quite useful in when used as a supplement to treat diseases such as:
- Cushings disease
- Liver failure
- Chronic cystitis
- Urinary incontinence
- Respiratory tract infections
- Cortisone therapy
Should You Feed Your Dog Medicinal Mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries to treat all sorts of ailments. It’s commonly used to:
- support liver and kidney function
- To improve and stabilize diseases of an aging pet—so this is good for controlling blood sugar levels in a diabetic dog, arthritis, and potentially endocrine diseases such as Cushing’s
- Medicinal mushrooms also have antiviral and antimicrobial effects
- They are rich in antioxidants and can thus enhance your pet’s vitality.
How To Give Medicinal Mushrooms To Your Dog?
There are many ways you can choose to administer medical mushrooms to your dog. Holistic veterinarians may suggest that pet owners choose a mushroom concentrate extract or concentrate powder, which can be added directly to your pet’s food. However, you can also choose to feed your dog whole mushrooms that have been lightly cooked or dried mushrooms.
Medicinal Mushroom Dosage
Based on the integrative veterinary care website, the following dosage rates for various mushrooms species has been suggested:
For dogs suffering from liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure:
- Cordyceps 50 mg/ lb, twice a day
For dogs suffering from kidney disease:
- Shiitake 50 mg/lb, twice a day
- Maitake 25 mg/ lb, twice a day
- Ganoderma 20 mg/ lb, twice a day
For dogs suffering from cancer or tumors
- Maitake 25 mg/lb, twice a day
- Shiitake 25 mg/lb, twice a day
- Trametes Versicolor 25 mg/ lb, twice a day
What Mushrooms Should You Avoid?
Wild mushrooms may be flourishing in your backyard, but that does not mean that it is still safe for our pets to consume. While there’s really only a small percentage of mushrooms that are truly toxic to dogs, you should still exercise caution. Furthermore, you should educate yourself on which mushrooms may be toxic to dogs.
In the veterinary world, amanita phalloides and Inocybe are the two common mushrooms that result in poisoning in dogs. This is because mushrooms that belong to these families often tend to have a fishy smell to them—making pups particularly interested in tasting them.
So, what are the mushrooms you should avoid? We’ve created a list below!
- Amanita strobiliformis
- Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)
- Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
- Panther Cap/False Blusher (Amanita pantherina)
- Amanita gemmata
- Amanita smithiana
- Gyromitra species
- Coprinus atramentarius
- Entoloma, Gomphus
Know the Risks of Giving Mushrooms to Dogs?
Feeding your pet potentially poisonous mushrooms can be risky business! Many mushroom species and genus have been observed to cause the following, problematic symptoms in dogs:
- Gastrointestinal discomfort and distress
- Increased salivation
- Excessive drooling
Mushroom Toxicity in Dogs
Research suggests that 95% of mushroom toxicity cases in people and pets occur as a result of consuming too many mushrooms that belong to the Amanita species. Generally, mushroom toxicity is classified according to the type of mushroom species that was ingested and the toxin that may be associated with it.
For example, mushrooms that contain peptides such as amatoxins, phallotoxins, and virotoxins can cause kidney and liver dysfunction. Therefore, you must keep in mind that mushroom poisoning can be lethal to dogs and treatment options can be quite extensive.
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Yes, but be Cautious!
Dogs can definitely eat mushrooms, but the fact remains that there are only a handful of mushroom species that are safe for their consumption. Unfortunately, the potential benefits mushrooms may have to our pets, is still something scientists are in the process of studying.
However, scientific evidence has been suggesting that active compounds of certain medicinal mushrooms can potentially aid in slowing down cancer or tumor growth.
Illustrations inspired by our furry friend Otis!