Mushrooms are a type of fungi that can grow anywhere, with a few even found in Antarctica. So the chances of you finding a few mushrooms growing in your backyard or your way home from a walk aren’t low. Similarly, it’s not surprising for your pooch to find some either. Your canine can easily locate and chew on some wild mushrooms. However, in the case that they do, is it something you should be concerned about? Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms safely?
The simple answer is yes, dogs can eat mushrooms, but only a handful of them. Just like humans, poisonous species of mushrooms are dangerous for dogs too. To further complicate the matter, dogs aren’t typically the most discerning when it comes to what goes in their mouths. Certain poisonous mushrooms even give off a fishy odor, which can further tempt your dog to eat some. Thus, as an owner, it’s up to you to be extra careful when choosing the mushrooms that your canine buddy eats, especially if the mushrooms are wild.
Keep reading to find out what species of mushrooms are toxic to dogs and which are safe, with a few tips to safely feed mushrooms to your dog.
Which Mushrooms Are Toxic for Dogs?
According to an article in The Washington Post, of all the mushrooms in the world, only one to two percent of them are actually poisonous. Even from among that small percentage, only about a dozen are fatal. However, the toxic ones are all TREMENDOUSLY toxic.
Some of the most common toxic species of mushrooms, that cause the most problems, include:
- Amanita phalloides (Death Cap)
- Galerina marginata (Funeral Bell)
- Amanita gemmata (Jeweled Amanita)
- Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)
- Gyromitra species
- Inocybe species
- Clitocybe dealbata (Fool’s Funnel)
How to Identify Mushrooms That Are Poisonous to Dogs?
“There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters. But there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” This adage sufficiently stresses just how complicated identifying toxic mushrooms can get. There’s just no rule of thumb that separates edible mushrooms from deadly ones. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some factors you can look out for when it comes to identifying wild mushrooms.
Here are a few pointers that may come in handy:
- If the mushroom has white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sack-like base called a volva, avoid it. It may be some good edible fungi, but it could also potentially be a part of the deadly Amanita family.
- Avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem.
- Never feed your dogs mushrooms unless you’re 100% sure that they’re safe. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Following these rules doesn’t mean that any mushroom that doesn’t fall under the above criteria is perfectly safe. However, these points are sure to help you rule out some of the nastier types.
Which Mushrooms Are Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Planning to add mushrooms to your pet’s diet? Don’t try your luck with identifying mushrooms on your own and giving them to your dog. Even experienced mushroom foragers make mistakes when identifying toxic species of mushrooms. So unless you’re a mycologist, just purchase the ones locally available in an organic grocery store.
Species of mushrooms that dogs can safely eat include:
Signs of Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of mushroom poisoning depend entirely on the species of mushroom your dog has eaten. While some species affect the stomach, others can go for the liver or even the nervous system.
Common signs of mushroom poisoning in canines include:
- Tear production
- Severe gastrointestinal upset
If you suspect your pet has eaten a potentially poisonous mushroom, think of it as an emergency and take them to the vet ASAP. The veterinary team will try to get rid of the mushroom’s toxicity from your dog’s body. This is often done by inducing vomiting and/or using activated charcoal to bind the poison. Early veterinary care is sure to help your pooch with recovery.
Are Mushrooms Beneficial for Dogs?
Even though certain mushrooms can be lethally poisonous to your dog, this doesn’t mean that all mushrooms are necessarily harmful to your pet. Edible mushrooms are a healthy food that can provide varying degrees of several important nutrients like vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, and minerals. Certain species are also believed to have had additional value in ancient medicine practices.
Consumption of mushrooms can provide several health benefits and this applies to your dog as well. Some such benefits include:
- Support liver and kidney function
- Help stabilize blood sugar and metabolism
- Aid in weight management and help build muscle mass
- Lower cholesterol levels and aid promote liver health
- Boost the immune system and help prevent viral infections
- Reduce blood pressure
- Prevent heart diseases and cancer
Here‘s a guide to the medicinal uses of mushrooms for dogs that may help you learn more about the benefits that different species of mushrooms can provide to your dog.
Can Dogs Have an Allergy to Mushrooms?
Yes, some dogs can have an allergic reaction to mushrooms. Signs of a potential mushroom allergy include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive gas, and skin problems. Some dogs may be extremely sensitive and may even have a potentially lethal reaction after eating mushrooms. To be on the safe side, look out for hives, swelling of the face or neck, increased heart rate, and difficulty in breathing. If you notice any of the symptoms, call your vet and act on their advice.
Can Dogs Eat Store-Bought Mushrooms?
Mushrooms sold in large-chain grocery stores are generally safe and non-toxic to both humans and dogs. However, mushrooms smeared in sauces, oils, and seasonings are a big no. These pose a whole new set of problems for our canine buddies. Oils, butter, seasoning, and certain vegetables can be harmful to dogs. Thereby, it’s best to serve plain mushrooms to your pup.
Can Dogs Eat Wild Mushrooms?
Just as you shouldn’t consume wild mushrooms, you shouldn’t let your pet eat them. You can never know if the wild mushroom your pooch just ate is safe for them or not. In the worst case, your dog could even lose their life. Dogs are known for jeopardizing their health by gobbling up whatever they see or sniff, so, always avoid letting your dog eat wild mushrooms. Consult a vet immediately if your pup has eaten any wild mushrooms.
How Can You Add Mushrooms to Your Dog’s Diet?
If it’s your dog’s first time trying out mushrooms, they could easily get an upset stomach over it. And this applies to all food items, not just mushrooms. So it’s always better to introduce new food to your pup gradually by only giving them a little bit at first. If you don’t see any adverse reactions try giving them a little more next time.
Avoid giving your dog canned mushrooms as they are typically processed and lose some of their nutrients in the process. Fresh or dried mushrooms are much healthier for your pooch so they’re a better option if you wish for your dog to try some delicious mushrooms. Make sure to clean them properly first to remove any dirt, pesticides, or other harmful components.
You can also try cooking the mushrooms before feeding them to your pup. Make sure not to use any additives like salt, onions, or garlic though as they aren’t safe for your dog and can make them sick.
As such, we can safely say that dogs can eat mushrooms, just not all types of them. Poisonous mushrooms are dangerous for both you and your canine buddy so always avoid wild mushrooms. Overall, it’s better to feed your dog edible/locally available mushrooms by properly cooking them. However, remember to consult your vet before deciding whether or not you should let your pup have some mushrooms.
For more vegetables that you can feed to your dog, check out these articles.
- Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? How Eating Mushrooms Could Kill Your Dog! - January 18, 2021
- Can Dogs Eat Avocado? The Dangers of Feeding Avocados to Dogs! - January 6, 2021
- Can Dogs Eat Cherry Tomatoes? Tips to Safely Feed Them to Your Dog - January 5, 2021