Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms – Toxic or Harmless? (UPDATED)

Can dogs eat mushrooms?

This post will tell you if mushrooms are totally harmless or the other way round for your dogs.

But before that:
Did you read or remember “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson’s dog unfortunately died of mushroom poisoning? Are mushrooms really poisonous to dogs?

Dogs eat mushrooms

Dogs eat mushrooms

According to what he said:

'This mushroom happened to have a lethal toxicity and within hours it was rapidly destroying his (the dog’s) liver and immune system to the point of no return …… I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside your dogs play …… What looks innocent, can be deadly to your lil' family members.”

I’m deeply sorry for his loss of pet - a part of the family.

Doesn't it scare you that mushrooms can take a dog's life? 

​But why are dogs into mushrooms? Here's the reason:
These edible fungi is a complex food group, they seem to appear anywhere in our food menu from a high-end restaurant to a fast food outlet. Without a doubt, most humans love to eat mushrooms. Dog would be happy to eat it too if they see one especially those with strong smell like shiitake mushrooms. 

OK, now we know mushrooms are poisonous but are ALL mushrooms deadly to dogs?

Can I Give My Dog Mushrooms?

Will canines be ok eating mushrooms? The short answer is YES, but the real question is about what type of mushrooms. 

The safest type of mushrooms your dogs can eat are the ones you can get from a store or a supermarket. The rest of them such as the mushrooms growing outdoors in the nature are risky.

What kind of risks are we talking about?

Nothing is more serious than poisoning and death of our beloved dogs. 

Logically, we as humans will not generally eat mushrooms growing in the wild due to the risk of having consumed a toxic mushrooms. The same principle should apply to the dogs. 

​Facts about Mushrooms for dogs

Did you know that mushrooms can be an ideal dietary supplements for pets?

Now we know that mushrooms bought in a store are safe for dogs but not in the wild. However, not all mushrooms growing outdoors are harmful as some of the mushrooms you can buy from shops are from the wild after all.

So, how do we know which types of mushrooms are poisonous? There are way too many kinds of mushrooms on earth, but only around 100 types are poisonous.

It could be an accident that your dog ingested it while playing at a park or back garden, the effect of poisoning is visible even with just a tiny bite depending on what type of mushroom is accidentally ingested.

Whenever you doubt that your pet is poisoned, the first thing to do is to contact your veterinarians.

Read further down to find out how to make their job quicker to help you save your dog. 

Identifying mushrooms is no easy task. Did you know that the job of identifying mushrooms should be carried out by a mycologist? 

Can dogs eat mushrooms

Are all Mushrooms Bad for Dogs?

Most wild mushrooms can be poisonous to both humans and dogs. What about those that can be bought from stores such as portabello mushrooms?

According to Dr. Justine A. Lee, DVM, DACVECC, writing for the Pet Health Network, mushrooms sold in large and chain grocery stores are generally safe for dogs to eat.

Can Dogs Eat Wild Mushrooms?

Do you regularly walk your dogs outdoors?

If you do:  then you have to worry about the likelihood that your fido would snap up a wild mushroom. 

Since 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. 

It is WRONG to think that dogs won't eat poisonous mushrooms as they can tell the toxins by scent!
Kyra says

Veterinarians and mycologists think that the best thing to do to avoid the deadly poison of these fungi taking away your pets’ lives is to react quickly to the situation by contacting your veterinarian, emergency veterinary hospital or an animal poison control centre. 

These are the wild mushrooms that are the worse troublemakers. 
•Amanita phalloides, also known as "death cap"
•Galerina marginata, also known as "deadly Galerina" or "Galerina autumnalis"
•Amanita gemmata, or "jeweled deathcap"
•Amanita muscaria, called "fly agaric" or "Deadly Agaric"
•Gyromitra spp., or false morel
•Inocybe spp. and Clitocybe dealbata mushrooms
•Helvella Lacunosa

Some toxic mushrooms such Amanita phalloides (death cap) and Inocybe spp. have some fishy odor. As a result, these are the most ingested poisonous mushrooms since dogs are more attracted to their odor. 

Check this story out about the tragedy of wild mushrooms to dogs

Can Puppies Eat Mushrooms Safely?

If a dog can eat mushrooms, so can a puppy.

But bear in mind:

Only the mushrooms that we buy from stores are the safe ones to feed them.

However, not all dogs like mushrooms. Introducing mushrooms to them at an early age would help them to become more acceptant.

Make sure your puppy can start eating solid food before you give them small bits of mushrooms. By giving them tiny portions of “safe” mushrooms can ensure if they are allergic to these fungi.

A puppy is way more curious than an adult dog. Please try to be more cautious when they are out for a play, keep them at close supervision.

Nutrients of Mushrooms That are Good for Dogs

What nutrients are there in the mushrooms that can enhance the pet’s physical wellness?

Here is the list of vitamins and minerals beneficial to the dogs found in mushrooms:

1) Antioxidants

They are chemicals that ward off free radicals, a type of chemical that can harm a dog’s body cells, potentially leading to cancer

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.

2) Beta-glucans

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. 

3) B vitamins

B vitamins like riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and niacin (B3) can be found substantially in mushrooms.

They aid the body to get energy from food, form red blood cells, promote a healthy brain.

 Intake of niacin will promote healthy skin and ensure the digestive and nervous systems work properly. 

4) Choline

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.

5) Copper

It can help produce red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Copper can keep both bones and nerves healthy.

6) Dietary fiber

 It helps in the process of metabolism. Dietary fiber also play a crucial part in the nervous system.

7) Ergothioneine

As a naturally occurring antioxidant, it may help protect the bodily cells.

Mushrooms can provide 2.8 - 4.9 mg of ergothioneine from each serving of white, portabella or crimini mushrooms.

8) Iron

This mineral can deter anemia from troubling canines.

 When a dog’s production of red blood cells in their bone marrow has reduced, they will suffer from anemia. Thus oxygen will move slower in dog’s bloodstream, causing fatigue due to the lack of red blood cells. 

9) Manganese

It is a useful mineral for helping dogs in their reproductive health.

Due to its function to aid the correct use of carbohydrates and protein, manganese deficiency can cause weak growth, reproductive failure, abnormal skeletal system, ataxia or loss of equilibrium.

10) Pantothenic acid

It has an essential role in the nervous system as well as contributes to the production of hormones.

11) Phosphorus

 A crucial mineral in a dog’s bone development​.

12) Potassium

This mineral plays an important role in ensuring 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, in layman’s term which is 3-11 % of the daily requirement. 

13) Protein

As most people know that protein is essential for new hair/ fur growth, repairing whilst building skin cells and muscle tissues, providing energy for everyday activities, strengthening the immune system as well as creating hormone and enzymes to ensure the canine’s body function optimally. 

14) Selenium

It is an ideal mineral for its antioxidant function protecting canine’s body cell from damage leading to heart disease and some cancers.

Also, it is essential for the immune system, liver enzyme function, the prevention of inflammation and the decrease in tumor growth rates.

Mushrooms are one of the many foods that can offer the richest sources of this mineral.

15) Vitamin A

The deficiency in this vitamin can impede your pet’s vision, 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. 

16) Vitamin C

Vitamin C found abundant in oranges is an immune system booster as well as an anti-carcinogen agent (cancer prevention).

It is able to ward off viral infections such as polio, distemper and skin disease.

It can also put a stop to diseases like abscesses, respiratory infections, bacterial infections and a kennel cough. 

17) Vitamin D

This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial for:

(I) regulating the calcium in your canine’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 and are one of the not many non-fortified food sources.

By placing newly cut mushrooms in the sun will drastically increase their Vitamin D content. 

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How should dogs be given mushrooms? 

Now we know that 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 they should be given to your dogs:

1) Treat, treat and treat using 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.

Look for symptoms (read further to find out more about symptoms) if any, that show mushrooms are not suitable for them.

You have the green light if your dog shows interest and they are not detrimental to the canine’s health. 

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.

Dogs could really benefits from the nutritional attributes of this fungi food. 

2) Should dogs eat mushrooms cooked or uncooked?

Experts are of the opinion that everyday edible 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, in order for the nutrients to be released, they need to be cooked.

More essentially, he adds that several 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. 

3) How many mushrooms can dogs have daily?

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 at first.

They can start off with a small amount of cooked mushrooms with constant monitoring how their reaction to mushrooms.

Even if your dog is consuming cooked mushrooms, they might have negative reactions such as digestion issue, stomach pain, diarrhea and so on. It is because every dog is different. If this is the case, mushrooms are not meant for them and you should stop feeding them mushrooms.

On the other hand, if they do not show any abnormal signs after eating the cooked mushrooms, you are free to include this food as part of your dog’s healthy diet.

Everything must be in moderation, feeding too many mushrooms to your dog could cause them to ingest certain nutrients more than their body needs, leading to potential danger to their health.

Please seek advice from your vet how many mushrooms should your pooch eat daily if you are concerned.

Remember: Do not give wild mushrooms to your dogs given the fact that you are not a mycologist (mushroom specialist) knowing which mushrooms are safe for consumption! Toxic mushrooms can cause serious sickness and sometimes even death.

4) Can we feed dogs with seasoned mushrooms?

This question might surface when you are dining at your table and your dog’s innocent look melting your heart and you can’t help but feed them your mushrooms on the table.

First at all, this is a bad practice that you should avoid because it would make your dog beg for food each time you eat at your table.

OK, now they have eaten the mushrooms.

Is it bad for their health?

The problem is that we don’t normally serve up plain mushrooms on our dish. They are well or sometimes overly seasoned with seasonings, butter, sauces, oil, herbs, and you-name-it.

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.

Symptoms of dogs eating poisonous mushrooms

1) Pet poisoning from mushrooms and sickness

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.

So, you should look at symptoms of dogs eating poisonous or non-poisonous mushrooms.

Before reading on, if you have a 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).

They are divided into seven groups based on the toxin within.

  • Category A mushrooms are the most deadly ones that can cause the destruction of cells, particularly liver and kidney cells.
  • Category B and C mushrooms could affect nervous system
  • Category D mushrooms could trigger gastrointestinal irritation. 

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.

2) Common symptoms in mushroom poisoning

This is the list of some of the most common symptoms resulted from mushroom poisonings:

•Lethargy and weakness
•Abdominal pain
•Jaundice (Yellowing of the skin)
•Uncoordinated movements
•Ptyalism (Excessive drooling) 

3) Exact mushrooms causing your dog ill:

a) Amanita

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)

Amanita Muscaria Mushroom

Amanita Muscaria Mushroom

The clinical signs observed after having consumed this type of mushrooms are:

  • gastrointestinal signs (within 6-24 hours after the ingestion)
  • A term called “false recovery” period tricking you into thinking your dog seems to have recovered.
  • Severe liver failure (within 36-48 hours after the consumption)
  • Possible development of acute kidney injury (AKI) in end stages

b) Toxin muscarine 

This toxin is found in the Clitocybe dealbata and Inocybe spp. mushrooms.

Inocybe spp. Mushrooms

Inocybe spp. Mushrooms

Ingesting them can cause:
- Urination
- Diarrhea
- Lacrimation
- Neurologic signs

c)Toxins muscimol and isotonic acid 

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:
- severe sedation
- tremors 
- seizures
- “drunk walking”

d) Gyromitra poisonings

The False Morel mushrooms are Gyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak), Gyromitra caroliniana, mushrooms in the Verpa genre and mushrooms in the Helvella genre. 

Gyromitra esculenta Mushrooms

Gyromitra esculenta Mushrooms

They are not life-threatening but it can cause:
- excessive vomiting
- diarrhea
- seizures (rare)

e) Boletus, Agaricus, Chlorophyllum and Entolomo species of mushrooms

The signs after having ingested them can be seen within 1-6 hours and usually resolved after 1-2 days:
- gastrointestinal irritation such as vomitting and diarrhoea
- life-threatening (rare)

f) Hallucinogenic mushrooms 

These mushrooms aren’t life-threatening and treatment is rarely required.
These mushrooms are Psilocybe, Gymnopilus spp., Panaeolus and Conocybe.

The signs of eating them are:
- ataxia (the loss of full control of bodily movements) 
- abnormal behaviors
- howling
- abnormal eye movement 
- hyperthermia 

Steps to Take if Your Dogs is Poisoned by Mushrooms

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 to help better identification.

Then place the sample in a paper bag, waxed bag or a clean towel but not a plastic bag. Then refrigerate it until examination. 

The sooner you take your dog to the veterinarian, the sooner they can decontaminate.

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.

Conclusion - Mushrooms or No Mushrooms for Dogs? 

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 your 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 in some of them 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 by the surroundings or their phones.

Not only the dogs could ingest mushrooms, they could potentially pick up chewing gum and swallow it. 

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