Did you know that mushrooms could be an ideal dietary supplements for dogs?
It doesn't mean dogs can eat mushrooms of all types, though.
You have to read further to find out what the harmless and toxic kinds are.
First of all, why are dogs so into mushrooms?
Here are the reasons:
Dog would be happy to eat them because of the strong smell like shiitake mushrooms!
OK, now we know mushrooms are poisonous, but are ALL mushrooms deadly to dogs?
Will dogs be ok eating mushrooms? The short answer is YES.
But the real question is - what type of mushrooms, though!
The safest type of mushrooms your dogs can eat are the ones from a store or a supermarket. Otherwise, mushrooms growing outdoors are risky. (source)
What kind of risk are we talking about? Death, the greatest risk.
Logically, we as humans won't eat mushrooms growing in the wild due to the risk of toxicity. Why would we feed them to our pooch?
According to Dr. Justine A. Lee, mushrooms sold in chain grocery stores are generally safe for dogs to eat. (source)
Now we know that mushrooms bought in a store are safe for dogs - such as portabello, closed cup, See You Tomorrow needle mushrooms, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms...
On the other hand, not all wild mushrooms are poisonous.
So, how do we know which ones are?
There are way too many kinds of mushrooms but only around 100 types are poisonous. (source)
Your dog could have accidentally ingested them while playing at the park or back garden.
The effect of poisoning is visible even with just a tiny bite, depending on the type of mushrooms.
Whenever in doubt, the first thing to do is to contact your veterinarian.
Identifying mushrooms is no easy task.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the job of identifying mushrooms should be carried out by a mycologist? (source)
Do you regularly walk your dogs outdoors?
If you do: it's very likely that your fido would snap up a wild mushroom.
Mushrooms do not grow from seeds but spores.
They rely on wind, water, insects to disperse the spores.
It also means they could be growing anywhere.
Veterinarians and mycologists think that reacting quickly to the situation can avoid mushroom toxicity to dogs.
These wild mushrooms are the worst troublemakers:
Some toxic mushrooms such as Amanita phalloides (death cap) and Inocybe spp. have some fishy odor.
As a result, these are the most ingested poisonous mushrooms as dogs are more attracted to their odor. (source)
Check this story out about the tragedy of wild mushrooms to dogs.
If a dog can eat mushrooms, so can a puppy.
Only the store-bought mushrooms are safe to feed them.
However, not all dogs like mushrooms.
Introducing mushrooms to them at an early age would help them become more acceptant.
Make sure your puppy can start eating solid food before giving them small bits of mushrooms.
Test to see if they are allergic to mushrooms by feeding them in small portions.
A puppy is way more curious than an adult dog.
Please be more cautious when they are out for a play. Make sure they are well supervised.
Here is the list of vitamins and minerals found in mushrooms beneficial to the dogs:
They are chemicals that ward off free radicals, a type of chemical that can harm a dog’s body cells, potentially leading to cancer. (source)
Apart from that, antioxidants can also improve the immune system of your pets, preventing allergies and skin problems from troubling your dog. They are essential to dog breeds that are more susceptible to cancer.
They can be found in some mushroom species. They are a kind of fiber in the cell walls.
Beta-glucans have immunity-stimulating effects. They play a role in resisting against allergies possibly contributing in the physiological processes for the metabolism of bodily sugars and fats.
The beta-glucans found shiitake and split gill mushrooms are the most efficient. (source)
B vitamins like riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and niacin (B3) can be found substantially in mushrooms. (source)
They aid the body to get energy from food, form red blood cells, and promote a healthy brain.
Niacin can promote healthy skin and ensure the digestive as well as the nervous systems work properly.
It is an essential nutrient that helps with better sleep, movement of muscle, memory retention as well as learning.
Choline helps in maintaining the cellular membrane structure, assisting in the nerve impulses transmission, sustaining fat absorption and minimizing chronic inflammation.
It can help produce red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
Copper can keep both bones and nerves healthy.
It helps in the process of metabolism.
It is also important to the nervous system.
A naturally-occurring antioxidant that helps protect the bodily cells.
Mushrooms can provide 2.8 - 4.9 mg of ergothioneine from each serving of white, portabella or crimini mushrooms. (source)
This mineral can reduce anemia from troubled canines. (source)
When a dog’s red blood cell production in their bone marrow reduces, it will suffer from anemia.
Thus oxygen will move slower in dog’s bloodstream and cause fatigue.
It's a useful mineral for helping dogs in reproductive health. (source)
It also helps with the correct use of carbohydrates and protein.
Hence, manganese deficiency can cause weak growth, reproductive failure, abnormal skeletal system, ataxia or loss of equilibrium.
It's essential for the nervous system.
It also contributes to the hormone production.
A crucial mineral in a dog’s bone development.
It can ensure nerves, muscles and heart work properly.
It also helps in maintaining the normal balance of fluid and mineral - thus controlling blood pressure.
Did you know that mushrooms have 98-376 mg of potassium per every 84 gram of serving, which is 3-11 % of the daily requirement. (source)
As most people know that protein is essential for:
Its antioxidant function protects body cell from damage.
Also, it is essential for the immune system, liver enzyme function, inflammation prevention and the decrease in tumor growth rates.
Mushrooms can offer the richest sources of this mineral, which is 12 mcg of selenium in a 100-gram serving. (source)
The deficiency in this vitamin can impede your pet’s vision.
It will cause them to lick or scratch their fur often and their fur will be dull-looking.
Vitamin A also helps preventing reproductive problems in dogs.
Vitamin C can be found in oranges as well as in mushrooms.
It is an immune system booster and an anti-carcinogen agent (cancer prevention).
It can ward off viral infections such as polio, distemper and skin disease.
Also, this vitamin can stop diseases like abscesses, respiratory infections, bacterial infections and a kennel cough.
This fat-soluble vitamin is crucial for:
(I) regulating the calcium in your dog’s body,
(II) balancing the phosphorous level,
(III) aiding in nerve and muscle control and
(IV) bone formation process.
Mushrooms are the only plant source that contains Vitamin D. (source)
Placing newly cut mushrooms in the sun will drastically increase their Vitamin D content.
Mushrooms are so beneficial to our dog's health.
We should use them as a treat or reward.
Read this section further to find out how you should give your pooch mushrooms.
If your fido’s digestive system is friendly to mushrooms, using them as a treat is a good option.
Start by giving me a small portion of mushrooms to see if they are keen on them, or if their digestive system would react negatively.
Read below to find out more about symptoms that show mushrooms are not suitable for them.
You have the green light if your dog shows interest in store-bought mushrooms.
The Button Mushrooms we can see in shops are a good treat and a health food. You could treat your dogs with them during training sessions.
Experts are of the opinion that mushrooms from stores should be cooked.
Dr. Andrew Weil says that all mushrooms are not digestible if consumed raw due to their tough cell walls.
Also, cooking the mushrooms will release the nutrients.
More importantly, some mushrooms have small amounts of toxins, including compounds considered carcinogens (cancer causing substances).
These compounds are not heat-resistant. They will be destroyed if cooked thoroughly, best using broiling or grilling methods. (source)
Feeding your pooch mushrooms for the first time could get you into a messy situation, if they react negatively to the fungi.
In order to make it less risky, your best approach is to feed them in moderation.
They can start off with a small amount of cooked mushrooms, with constant monitoring.
Even if your dog is consuming cooked mushrooms, they might have negative reactions such as digestion issue, stomach pain, diarrhea and so on.
Every dog is different.
If mushrooms are not meant for them, you should stop feeding them.
On the other hand, if they do not show any abnormal signs after eating that, you are free to include this food as part of your dog’s healthy diet.
Please seek advice from your vet how many mushrooms your pooch should eat daily, if you are concerned.
The problem is that we don’t normally serve up plain mushrooms on our dish. They are with seasonings, butter, sauces, oil, herbs, and so on.
In this case, the mushrooms might be mixed with garlic and onions; which are very harmful to dogs.
Another instance is butter, a dairy product that contains milk; dogs are not very good at digesting lactose.
The best served mushrooms should be bland and plain.
Ok, your dog has eaten mushrooms by accident or you’re integrating them into their diet but you want to monitor their reactions to it.
Before reading on, if you have the reason to suspect that your pet has ingested poisonous mushrooms, please contact your veterinarian or pet emergency hospital immediately!
According to the clinical signs and their time of onset, there are four categories of toxic mushrooms (A, B, C and D). (source)
They are divided into seven groups based on the toxin within.
Sometimes, it is not easy to tell what kind of mushroom your pet has ingested.
The symptoms can vary hugely depending on what type of mushrooms your dog has consumed.
You should always take the suspected fungi and the dog with you to the vet.
This is a list of some of the most common symptoms from mushroom poisonings:
This is the most dangerous type of mushroom with its amanita toxins.
These mushrooms include: Amanita, Lepiota, Galerina, A ocreata and A. phalloids (also named as death cap or death angel)
The clinical signs observed after having consumed this type of mushrooms are:
This toxin is found in the Clitocybe dealbata and Inocybe spp. mushrooms.
Ingesting them can cause:
There is a different type of Amanita that contains the above-mentioned toxins. These mushrooms are Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina
The clinical signs of having consumed this kind of mushroom are:
The False Morel mushrooms are Gyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak), Gyromitra caroliniana, mushrooms in the Verpa genre and mushrooms in the Helvella genre.
They are not life-threatening but can cause:
The signs after having ingested them can be seen within 1-6 hours and usually resolved after 1-2 days:
If you have a reason to believe that your pet is poisoned by mushrooms:
1) Contact your veterinarian or take your dog to the nearest pet emergency hospital as fast as you can!
2) You can take a sample of the mushrooms you think they have eaten.
Then, place it in a paper bag, waxed bag or a clean towel but not a plastic bag.
Refrigerate it until examination.
The sooner you take your dog to the veterinarian, the sooner they can decontaminate it.
This will also be less expensive for your medical bill and less damaging to your dog.
Diagnosis steps for mushroom poisoning
3) Give a complete history of your pet’s health to your veterinarian, such as the onset and nature of symptoms, as well as possible incidents that could have caused unexpected complications.
4) Your veterinarian will then perform a thorough physical examination and blood count, urinalysis and biochemistry profile.
This procedure may show hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood glucose levels), and unusually high levels of liver enzymes caused by liver damage.
A sample from your pet’s stomach will also be taken to identify the type of mushroom.
Treatment steps for mushroom poisoning
5) Your pet will require immediate hospitalisation as it is an emergency.
6) Usually, activated charcoal will be given orally to bind the toxins found in the stomach and intestines.
7) Then, your dog will undergo fluid therapy in order to stabilise their fluid levels. This will enhance urination to eliminate toxins in their body.
8) The veterinarian might even choose to induce vomiting depending on how severe the complications are.
Of course we should say yes to mushrooms, knowing how nutritious they are to our pet dogs.
However, we must be vigilant and only give our dogs cooked unseasoned mushrooms that you can find at supermarkets, not those wild ones.
Not all dogs are the same.
Even if it is scientifically proven that they can eat cooked mushrooms bought from stores, allergic reactions might occur, though highly unlikely.
Hence, as a safety precaution, the dog should only be given a tiny amount of mushrooms and gradually increase the portion, when they do not exhibit any negative reactions.
Never ever give your dogs any wild and uncooked mushrooms.
Even mycologists make mistakes identifying species of mushrooms.
So, why take the risks of saving a few bucks and jeopardise your pet’s health?
Pooches will always be inquisitive.
When we are outdoors with them including at our own garden, the owners should be extra cautious and not be distracted.