Let me introduce you to the newest member in our family – baby Hyena! She is a foodie and an amateur rock collector. When she’s not hoarding rocks, she finds joy in munching carrots, cucumbers, peas, corn & pumpkin. Baby Hyena loves veggies. The other day, while she was investigating the house, she picked up a mushroom from the grocery bag, and curiously nibbled an inch or two. That made me wonder, can dogs eat mushroom ? Is it safe for them ? Does it have any health benefits for dogs ?
Well, it’s not uncommon for dogs to come across mushrooms while out walking or hiking. Moreover, dogs being omnivores may find mushrooms interesting to snack on.
Puppies, in particular, are super-curious. They eat probably everything that comes in their way.
So, it’s important that dog-parents and dog-walkers know the dangers of wild mushrooms, and what to do if their dog has eaten a mushroom, as it could save their dog’s life.
Additionally, dogs can eat many human foods, and dog parents may often wish to share a mushroom as a snack.
However, some foods that are safe for you, may not be safe for your dog to eat.
Therefore, it’s good to do some research before giving your dog any new food.
Especially if you’re a new dog parent, you may want to know whether you can feed your dog store-bought or home-grown mushrooms.
But, can dogs eat mushroom ? Is this toad-stool safe for your dog to consume?
Let’s find out!
Can dogs eat mushroom ?
Technically, dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat and digest food of both plant and animal origin.
In fact, most commercial dog foods contain not only meat, but also plant-based ingredients like vegetables and fruits.
Dogs can also eat mushrooms, which are a fungus.
There are around 50,000 species of mushrooms in the world, and while most of them are considered safe to eat, 1 or 2% are extremely poisonous for both humans and dogs.
The poisonous mushrooms can cause severe negative reactions and, in many cases, death.
So, the answer to – can dogs eat mushroom completely depends on the type of mushroom.
Picture this. The sun is shining bright on a lovely spring day, and you and your dog are out on a walk in the woods nearby.
Your dog is enthusiastically sniffing the ground, and suddenly you notice, he has stopped to eat something. You assume it’s grass.
But, as he continues to chew something fleshy, you bend down to see what it is and find that your dog has eaten a wild mushroom.
Within seconds you’ll hit panic mode. Quite natural.
But, sometimes people don’t panic. They usually believe that dogs won’t eat toxic mushrooms because they can sniff out the toxins.
Unfortunately, this is not true.
Researchers, veterinarians and mycologists (mushroom experts) feel that wild mushroom poisoning is an under-estimated cause of poisoning-related deaths in dogs.
So, it is advised to be watchful and respond quickly if you have seen your dog eating a wild mushroom.
In such circumstances, contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital immediately.
Which mushrooms are toxic for dogs?
While only a few species of the mushroom in the world are toxic, the ones that are toxic are tremendously toxic.
Besides, it is often difficult to distinguish the toxic ones from the non-toxic varieties.
So, veterinarians and experts recommend considering all wild mushrooms as potentially toxic and a veterinary emergency.
While we see and explore the world, dogs smell and taste to learn about things around them. Out in the open, dogs eat mushrooms for the same reason they eat other odd things.
Additionally, the fleshy feel of a mushroom happens to fascinate an inquisitive dog.
What’s worse, some species of toxic mushroom, like Death cap and Inocybe have a fishy smell.
Dogs are particularly attracted towards fishy odors, which may explain why dogs often consume these toxic mushroom species.
If you’re a mycologist, you can easily distinguish the toxic mushrooms from the edible ones. If not, then it can be quite challenging and at the same time, too dangerous trying to identify mushrooms yourself.
Veterinarians strictly warn against this self-diagnosis, and recommend dog parents to bring their dog in for treatment if he grabs a wild mushroom during a walk in the woods.
Do not waste time attempting to identify the mushroom in question, as even the most experienced mushroom foragers make mistakes.
However, you must be aware of the most common wild mushrooms that are extremely poisonous, and are known to cause the most problems in dogs. To name a few:
- Amanita phalloides, best described as ‘Death cap’
- Amanita gemmata, generally referred to as ‘Jewelled death cap’
- Gyromitra several species or ‘False Morel’
- Galerina marginata, also named the ‘Deadly Galerina’
- Inocybe several species and Clitocybe deal Bata mushrooms
- Amanita muscaria, the red mushroom, also known as ‘Fly Agaric’ or ‘Deadly Agaric’
Signs of mushroom poisoning in dogs
If your dog has accidentally eaten a mushroom from the outdoors, consider it poisonous until your veterinarian has been able to prove otherwise.
The signs and symptoms of mushroom intoxication in dogs depends on the species of mushroom.
The toxic mushroom species contain different toxins, and different toxins have different effects and levels of toxicity in dogs.
For instance, Amanita mushrooms (death cap) contain a toxic substance called amanitin.
These cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, a false recovery period where the dog seems to feel better, and then liver failure, acute kidney injury, and sadly in the end, leads to death.
Inocybe several species and Clitocybe deal bata mushrooms poisoning has indications like excessive drooling, eye watering, increased urination, diarrhea, and common neurological signs like loss of sensation and decreased alertness.
Other kinds of Amanita mushrooms also cause serious neurological issues like muscle weakness, drugging effect, tremors, seizures, and coma.
The Gyromitra (false morel) causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, but is generally not life-threatening.
Other types of mushrooms simply cause gastrointestinal issues, and though these are rarely fatal, it can be very hard to identify the type of mushroom species consumed based on early symptoms.
These are some more common symptoms of mushroom poisoning in dogs to help you keep a watchful eye on your doggo:
- Excessive Salivation
- Severe gastrointestinal upset
- Drunken walk(sedation)
- Liver failure
If you suspect your dog has eaten a potentially poisonous mushroom, immediately rush for veterinary treatment.
Veterinary cure for mushroom poisoning depends on the type of mushroom, the symptoms, and how recently the mushroom was consumed.
If possible, do get a piece of the mushroom in a sealed plastic bag, as this will help your veterinarian identify the risks related to the toxic mushroom species and determine the best approach to deal with the specific poison.
Your veterinarian may induce vomiting if the eating was recent, and in some cases he may administer drugs to neutralize the toxin.
He may also direct some IV fluids and anti-nausea medications for recovery.
Early supportive care will help your dog recover comfortably.
In some serious cases, dogs may slip into a non-fatal coma, and may require to be under observation until they’re out of danger.
Which mushrooms are safe for dogs?
Wild mushrooms are usually poisonous for dogs, but what about the store-bought Button mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms, and Portobello mushrooms?
Mushrooms sold in grocery stores are commercially grown in mushroom farms, hence they are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.
However, we rarely eat plain mushrooms. Instead, we like to cook them with tasty sauces, oils, and seasonings.
The way we cook mushrooms can pose a set of health problems for dogs.
Oils, butter, seasoning, and certain vegetables, such as garlic and onions, can have adverse effects in dogs.
Unless the mushroom is served plain, it is good to avoid giving any food with mushrooms to dogs.
Moreover, all dogs do not like mushrooms, but some may enjoy it as a novel treat, like my baby Hyena.
But, make sure you do not to overfeed your dog.
So, in short, dogs can eat any species of mushrooms that we eat. Do keep in mind to always cook the mushrooms before feeding them to your dog.
Health benefits of mushrooms for dogs
Most mushrooms are 90% water. This makes them extremely low in calories.
Some mushrooms are a good source of fibre, some are full of antioxidants, and certain mushrooms are high in protein.
Depending on the species, mushrooms can contain a number beneficial nutrients which may include amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, B vitamins, copper, enzymes, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin phosphorus, selenium, thiamin and zinc.
As previously mentioned, some mushrooms are poisonous and deadly. So, when you wish to, only give your dog mushrooms that you would eat yourself.
In my city, we usually get button mushrooms in the supermarket. So, I feed my dogs the same ones as treats, occasionally.
I also make sure to cook the mushrooms before I serve them to my dogs.
Warning! Never give your dog uncooked mushrooms.
Dogs cannot stomach raw mushrooms. Raw mushrooms can make your dog sick, causing stomach upset like vomiting, diarrhea, or both.
How can you safely add mushrooms to your dog’s diet?
The best way to add mushrooms to your dog’s diet is to mix it along with his regular meals.
Any new food must be introduced gradually in your dog’s food to avoid indigestion problems. Also, ensure to introduce only one new food at a time so that you can find the culprit if your dog ends up falling sick.
So, follow the same rule with mushrooms. If your dog enjoys it with no signs of allergy or sickness, then it’s ‘mission accomplished’.
Usually, fresh and dried mushrooms have greater nutritional benefits compared to the preserved, canned ones available in stores.
Once you get some fresh mushrooms from the grocery, get ready to dish up a very easy recipe for your canine companion.
Give the mushrooms a quick rinse under running water, wipe them dry if any mud still visible.
Chop up the mushrooms, and put up a pan on the stove.
Then add a small amount of a dog-safe cooking oil like coconut oil or olive oil.
Cook the chopped mushrooms in the pan on medium heat.
You can also boil the mushrooms directly in chicken broth or meat broth, or simply add some broth to your pan of mushrooms towards the end of the cook for extra flavour.
Continue to sauté until the mushrooms fully absorb the broth.
Cool and serve the mushroom dish, or mix it into your dog’s regular food.
As with any new food or treat, feed your dog mushrooms in moderation.
Remember the 10% rule – all extra foods, including mushrooms, should make up less than 10 percent of your dog’s total diet, and the rest 90 percent should be his regular, balanced-diet food.
Although quite rare, some dogs may be naturally allergic to mushrooms and have a severe reaction after eating mushrooms.
To be safe, look out for signs of food allergy like vomiting immediately after eating, excessive gas, facial itching, swelling of face or neck, hives, skin problems, difficulty breathing, and an increased heart rate.
Do not panic when you see an allergic reaction, instead, remove the bowl of mushrooms, and contact your vet to get your dog the necessary treatment, which will usually be an anti-histamine (anti-allergy medicine).
Furthermore, some mushrooms species are used as medicines due to their therapeutic effects.
These medicinal mushrooms are available in dry-form, as a powder or in capsules.
If you wish to give these medicinal mushrooms to your dog for his specific health condition, talk to your regular veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian to make sure you are giving the best one in the accurate dosage.
This way, you do not leave much-room for error! 😉
Please share this informative blog post with all the dog lovers out there 😊