6 Reasons Reishi Mushrooms Are Good For Your Dog

Dog running next to reishi mushrooms

The mushroom of immortality. That gets your attention! You want your dog to live forever, don’t you?

Well … you might be able to extend your dog’s life by giving her this mushroom.

The mushroom of immortality is one of the names for reishi. It’s a powerful medicinal mushroom. It’s been popular for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. You’ll also see reishi called by their botanical name Ganoderma lucidum or the Chinese name Ling zhi.

I want to share the top 6 reasons to give reishi mushrooms to your dog. And I’ll also share some of the best brands to buy to make sure you’re getting a good reishi supplement.

But first, let’s summarize what research tells us about reishi’s health benefits.

What Reishi Mushrooms Do

Unlike many other medicinal plants, there’s a lot of research on reishi mushrooms. Clinical research supports their many medicinal properties.

These are some of those properties:

  • Immune system support
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Protect the liver
  • Support kidney health
  • Relieve allergies
  • Control blood sugar
  • Regulate blood pressure

The benefits of reishi mushrooms make them a potent supplement to support your dog’s health in many ways.

6 Reasons To Give Your Dog Reishi Mushrooms

So … here’s our list of the top 6 reasons to give reishi mushrooms to your dog.

#1 Fight Cancer

Reishi mushrooms have long been used to treat cancer in China and Japan. Their constituents include triterpenes, compounds that have many medicinal benefits. Studies have shown their anti-cancer properties.

Reishi mushrooms also contain beta glucans. These are complex sugars known to modulate the immune system. This means they boost the immune system but don’t over-stimulate it.

Research shows reishi mushrooms can support the immune system to fight cancer. And prevent it! Reishi may stop cancer growth and even shrink tumors in some cases.  They can also help prevent secondary cancers. Studies also show they reduce the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

[Related] Natural Treatment Of Cancer In Dogs

#2 Protect The Liver

Your dog can’t live without a healthy liver. Giving foods or supplements that help the liver do its job is a really good idea.

Reishi mushrooms have antioxidant properties that help nourish, detoxify and protect the liver.  These antioxidant properties reduce the effects of free radicals. Free radicals that can slow down liver function.

Reishi can help renew liver cells, strengthen the liver and improve the detox process.

In a study on rats, reishi reversed liver fibrosis. This is the final stage of fatty liver disease and is usually not treatable.

Reishi has also been used to treat hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis in humans. While these aren’t dog diseases, this fact demonstrates the healing power of reishi.

Caution: if your dog already has severe liver disease, talk to your holistic vet before giving reishi.

[Related] Liver Disease In Dogs: A Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective

#3 Manage Diabetes

Studies show reishi mushrooms can help manage diabetes. They can lower blood sugar and help regulate glucose levels.

Research also shows they prevent or slow kidney issues that can develop in diabetics.

Another side effect of diabetes is that wounds can be slow to heal. The antioxidants in reishi can also speed wound healing for diabetic patients.

If your dog’s on meds for diabetes, talk to your holistic vet about how reishi might help.

[Related] What Causes Diabetes In Dogs?

#4 Support Heart Health

In Japan, reishi mushrooms are a traditional treatment for circulatory problems.  In traditional Chinese medicine, reishi is a general tonic for the cardiovascular system.

Reishi act as vasodilators, improving blood supply and oxygen delivery to the heart. Vasodilators open blood vessels so that blood flows more easily and the heart doesn’t have to pump as hard.

Reishi have a blood thinning effect. Don’t give in conjunction with blood thinning drugs like warfarin.

Reishi can also reduce blood pressure and can help relieve heart arrhythmia.

6 benefits of reishi mushrooms

#5 Control Allergies

Reishi contain ganoderic acid. Ganoderic acid is a triterpene that inhibits the release of histamines. Histamines cause allergic reactions.

llergic reactions are an improper immune response. And reishi’s immune modulating powers can help. Reishi also have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. These can reduce allergy symptoms like itching and difficulty breathing.

Reishi can have a healing effect on the lungs, relieving coughs and other respiratory issues.

[Related] What’s causing your dog’s allergies? Here’s the ultimate guide!

#6 Slow Aging

Reishi can delay the aging process and reduce aging symptoms.

A study of a reishi supplement fed to mice resulted in longer lifespans and reduced death risks. Increased longevity is one of the benefits reishi are famous for. And the reason for the mushroom of immortality name!

Reishi can fight immunosenescence. That’s the gradual decline of the immune system brought on by the aging process over time.

Reishi’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent and even reverse cognitive decline. They can also help manage aging joint issues like arthritis.


Reishi mushrooms have very few reported side effects. In humans, nausea and insomnia have been reported in a few cases. For dogs, it’s best to start slow to avoid any digestive upset.

Reishi mushrooms have anti-clotting effects. They shouldn’t be combined with blood thinning drugs. Avoid giving reishi to pregnant or lactating females. Studies haven’t covered this group of patients.

How To Give Reishi Mushrooms To Your Dog

Reishi mushrooms taste quite bitter. So, the best way to give them to your dog is usually in a tincture or powder/capsule formula.

Note: If you do want to give your dog whole reishi mushrooms, be sure to cook them thoroughly. Raw mushrooms are very indigestible and may be toxic to dogs. Making a tea or soup is a good way to feed fresh or dried mushrooms.

Buying Reishi

There’s a wide variety of quality in mushroom supplements. It’s important to do your research before buying and find an organic product if you can. You also want to ask the company how their mushrooms are grown. Many mushroom supplements are grown on grain and are mycelium. This is not a true mushroom but a partially grown fungus. These mycelium products are high in starch, and they’re missing full levels of beta glucan. Again, that’s the really important medicinal ingredient that can help fight cancer and boost your dog’s immunity.

Reishi can also be used in conjunction with other mushrooms. You’ll often see supplements that combine reishi mushrooms with maitake, shiitake, cordyceps or turkey tail.

[RELATED] Beware of fake mushrooms. Find out how to tell the difference here.

Summing Up …

Many holistic vets who use mushrooms in their practice advocate using reishi. Ihor Basko DVM says:

Reishi mushrooms are my favorite mushroom to consume for my own health benefits, and my favorite mushroom to use in my holistic practice (in combination with herbs, other mushrooms, and antioxidants). […] In general, reishi mushrooms are good to use with pets experiencing chronic degenerative processes, weakened immune systems, dysfunctioning liver, heart or kidney systems, or general weakness.

Reishi mushrooms may not make your dog immortal (that’s a lot to ask of a mushroom), but they can do a lot of wonderful things for her health!

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