Have you ever wondered whether your dog can eat mushrooms?
Mushrooms are a powerful tool when it comes to natural healing. From digestive upset to infections to cancer … mushrooms can help your dog in so many ways.
But mushrooms sometimes get a bad rap.
And it makes sense … some mushrooms can be very dangerous to you and your dog.
That shouldn’t stop you from adding the good ones to your dog’s diet though.
So today I want to talk about the good mushrooms your dog can eat and all the benefits they provide.
I’ll also talk about how to share them with your dog … because even the good ones can be bad if you do it wrong.
But before we get into that … I want to look at the mushrooms you should steer clear of.
That way you can be sure your dog gets all the reward without any risks.
Can Your Dog Eat Wild Mushrooms?
When it comes to wild mushrooms, only a small number of them are toxic. But when they’re toxic …. they’re very toxic.
Mushrooms that your dog can’t eat include …
- Amanita phalloides (Death Cap)
- Galerina marginata (Autumn Galerina)
- Amanita gemmata (Jeweled Deathcap)
- Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)
- Gyromitra species (False Morel)
- Helvella Lacunosa (Elf’s Saddle)
- Inocybe species
- Clitocybe dealbata (Ivory Funnel)
It can be difficult to identify toxic mushrooms. Even expert foragers have trouble with certain species.
To make matters worse, the bad ones tend to have a fishy smell that attracts dogs to them.
When it comes to mushrooms out in the wild it’s safest to assume they’re all toxic. So if your dog likes snacking on walks, be careful he’s not helping himself to mushrooms! (I’ll give you some advice on this in a bit.)
Symptoms Of Mushroom Poisoning
The symptoms of mushroom poisoning will depend on the mushrooms your dog ate.
Unfortunately you won’t always know what type of mushroom your dog grabbed.
And because it’s difficult to identify them … it’s best not to waste time trying to figure out which mushroom it is.
Instead, look for these general symptoms …
- Ataxia (walking like he’s drunk)
- Jaundice (yellowing skin or eyes)
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms can vary if your dog has other underlying problems. It can also depend on the time of year (some toxins vary by season) … and what else your dog has eaten.
If your dog ate a mushroom … or you suspect it and he shows any of these symptoms, contact your holistic vet.
If possible, get a picture or sample of the mushroom in case they want you to bring it. If you can grab a sample, wrap it in a damp towel and store it in a paper bag.
Left untreated, mushroom poisoning can lead to organ failure, seizures, and even death.
How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Wild Mushrooms
If mushrooms grow on your property, make it part of your clean up routine to remove all mushrooms. When you go to scoop poop, keep an eye out for new growths and get rid of them.
When you‘re outside with your dog, whether on your own property or in public, keep an eye on him. It’s best to keep your dog on a leash so he can’t wander off and eat them on his own.
If you haven’t taught your dog the “leave it” command, you should. It’s a good way to stop your dog from eating mushrooms or any other contraband.
Mushroom Allergies In Dogs
It’s also important to remember that even if your dog eats safe mushrooms, he may be allergic.
If your dog is allergic to mushrooms, signs may include …
- Vomiting (often right after he eats the mushroom)
- Skin problems
- Difficulty breathing
Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Raw Mushrooms
Usually when we talk about whole foods for dogs … it’s recommended that you feed them raw to maximize the benefits. This is true of most whole foods but there are exceptions.
Mushrooms are one of them.
Raw mushrooms can be difficult for your dog to digest. Some may even be toxic, even if they’re otherwise safe for dogs.
So before you feed any mushrooms to your dog, cook or dehydrate them.
I will talk more about how to feed mushrooms to your dog. But before I get to that, let’s look at which mushrooms are safe for dogs.
Mushrooms That Dogs Can Eat
While you should never let your dog eat wild mushrooms … there are mushrooms that are safe for dogs … like white buttons or cremini.
Others are not only safe … they also offer your dog many healthful benefits that make them a great addition to your dog’s diet.
Those are the mushrooms I want to talk about today.
1. Turkey Tail (Coriolus or Trametes versicolor)
Turkey tail mushrooms grow on dead logs all over the world. They get their name because of their colorful rings that look like a turkey’s tail.
Many mushrooms can fight cancer but turkey tail’s backed by the most research. Just look at some of these studies.
- A 2011 study looked at how turkey tail reduced tumor size in breast cancer patients.
- A 2012 study showed increased survival times for patients with breast, gastric and colorectal cancer.
- A 2017 study found turkey tail was almost as effective as chemo (and without the side effects).
And that isn’t all. Here are more reasons you should let your dog eat turkey tail mushrooms …
Beta-Glucans – Beta-glucans are water soluble polysaccharides. They’re found in the cell wall of mushrooms and other foods.
In 2012, a study showed turkey tail mushrooms can be effective for hemangiosarcoma, a deadly cancer in dogs. Dogs treated with an extract of PSP from turkey tail mushrooms had the longest survival times. It tripled the life expectancy of dogs diagnosed with this cancer.
PSP can also fight viruses and improve gut health.
Turkey tail is also rich in another cancer-fighting beta-glucan … Polysaccharide-K (PSK).
In fact, PSK was even used to create an anti-cancer drug.
Phenols and Flavonoids – Turkey tail mushrooms are rich in phenols and flavonoids.
Phenols are organic compounds. Flavonoids are phytonutrients found in plants. Both are full of antioxidants.
Antioxidants repair damaged cells called free radicals that lead to aging and illness. They also help prevent cancer.
Ergosterol – Ergosterol is a steroid alcohol found in the cell membranes of fungi like turkey tail. It has anticancer and antioxidative properties.
Top Uses For Turkey Tail
- Prevent cancer and reduce effects of cancer treatment
- Improve liver function
- Prevent and fight chronic disease
- Reduce inflammation in the urinary tract and digestive system
- Improve gut health
- Treat pulmonary disorders
2. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s mane mushrooms are aptly named because of their similarity to the mane of a lion. They taste like lobster and have many benefits … especially for senior dogs.
Lion’s mane mushrooms contain …
Antioxidants – Lion’s mane mushrooms contain antioxidants that fight free radicals. This prevents several diseases … including cancer, heart disease and premature aging.
Beta-glucans – The polysaccharides found in lion’s mane can boost the immune system. They do this through increased cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Like other mushrooms, they also have anti-cancer properties.
Erinacines and Hericenones – Erinacines and hericenones are extracted from lion’s mane. They pass through the blood-brain barrier to stimulate nerve growth factor (NFG). NFG helps keep brain neurons alive. Research links low levels of NFG to Alzheimer’s, dementia and similar diseases.
Top Uses For Lion’s Mane
- Improve brain function
- Help manage degenerative myelopathy
- Prevent and fight cancer
- Boost the immune system
- Manage ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis and other digestive issues
- Improve heart health
- Manage weight
- Prevent blood clotting
- Fight bacterial infections like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and H.pylori
3. Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
In the wild, these mushrooms grow on caterpillars but … growers can also cultivate them. This makes them cheaper … but also less potent.
Cordyceps also offer many benefits …
Beta-glucan – Cordyceps are also full of polysaccharides. That makes them a good choice to support the immune system. They also stimulate the release of cell signalling molecules called cytokines. This helps fight tumor cells.
Cordycepin – Cordycepin is antitumoral, antibacterial, antiviral and incesticidal. It helps fight tumors, bacteria and parasites.
Ergosterol – Like turkey tail mushrooms, cordyceps contain ergosterol. Ergosterol is a steroid alcohol that is an anticancer and antioxidant.
Top Uses For Cordyceps
- Slow aging
- Prevent and fight cancer including lung cancer
- Help manage diabetes
- Reduce skin inflammation
- Boost performance
- Treat leaky gut
- Help with chronic liver disorders
- Treat kidney failure
- Manage cardiac arrhythmias
- Help with asthma
- Support geriatric disorders
- Treat hypercholesterolemia
4. Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Maitake is also known as the dancing mushroom. It’s said that its name came from the excitement of the people when they found it in the wild. They would dance with happiness because of its powerful healing properties.
It’s one of the most potent mushrooms to slow cancer growth. It’s anticancer properties come from the D-fraction they contain …
D-Fraction – Maitake mushrooms produce a bioactive extract called D-fraction. It’s a combination of beta-glucans and protein. D-fraction has anti-cancer properties that stop tumor growth and increase cancer fighting cells.
It’s effective in fighting mammary, connective tissue and lymphoma cancers.
Top Uses For Maitake
- Reduce glucose levels to help manage diabetes
- Remedy kennel cough and canine flu
- Prevent cancer and provide support during cancer treatment
- Support the liver
- Replace chemotherapy for breast cancer
5. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga is also known as the ugly mushroom. It’s found on birch trees in cold climates.
Healers have used it since the 16th century in medicine.
Here’s why your dog should eat chaga mushrooms …
Beta-Glucans – The polysaccharides in chaga can boost heart, intestinal and liver health. They also improve energy levels and provide anti-cancer properties.
Vitamins and Minerals – Chaga mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals that support your dog’s health. They boost the immune system and help keep organs healthy. This means your dog will be able to fight off viruses, infection, and toxins.
Polyphenols – Polyphenols are plant based compounds. They’re packed with antioxidants. That means they can scavenge free radicals that lead to cancer and premature aging.
Triterpenoids – Triterpenoids are in many edible plants and have anticancer properties. They can halt cell growth of leukemia, Walker 256 carcinoma and breast cancer.
Top Uses For Chaga
- Fight and prevent cancer
- Scavenge free radicals to prevent aging
- Reduce inflammation
- Fight viruses
- Boost the immune system to manage allergies and autoimmune diseases like arthritis
- Reduce toxicity of traditional cancer treatments
- Imporve gut health
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Decrease cholestrol
Phellinus mushroom is a medicinal fungus with many beneficial properties. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer and it boosts the immune system.
They’re especially effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria.
Here’s why phellinus is so great …
Beta-Glucans – The beta-glucans in phellinus enhance immune cell activity of macrophages and B-cells. And like turkey tail and other mushrooms, they can help destroy cancer cells.
Proteoglycans (PGs) – PGs are protein molecules found in the spaces between your dogs cells. They help protect cells in your dog’s body.
Phellinus produces an alcohol extract that contains PGs. It’s used as an anti-inflammatory to support joint disease. One study showed they could even replace non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).
Top Uses For Phellinus
- Prevent and fight cancer
- Use as a natural antibiotic
- Reduce inflammation
- Support joint health
7.Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms are known as the mushroom of immortality.
Once you read on, you’ll understand why …
Ganoderic Acid – This triterpene inhibits the release of histamines. This helps with allergies as it helps stop the itch.
Polysaccharides – Reishi contain polysaccharides that help boost the immune system and prevent cancer.
Antioxidants – Reishi mushrooms also contain antioxidants that support the immune system. They also help detoxify and protect the liver.
Research shows Reishi can also speed up wound healing for those with diabetes.
This, combined with anti-inflammatory properties, has shown to extend life. (That’s why it’s called the mushroom of immortality.)
Top Uses Of Reishi
- Inhibit antihistamine release to manage allergy symptoms
- Slow aging
- Regulate immune response
- Fight and prevent cancer
- Support organs, especially the heart and liver
- Manage kidney issues associated with diabetes
- Regulate glucose levels
- Improve endurance
- Manage arthritis
- Treat upper respiratory infections
- Relieve pain
8. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
You may be familiar with this mushroom by name. It’s a popular eating mushroom. But its many health benefits may surprise you.
Enzymes – Shiitake mushrooms contain up to 30 different enzymes that help manage digestive issues.
It’s also useful for dogs with high starch diets, like those on kibble. That’s because one of the enzymes in shiitake is amylase. And amylase helps break down carbohydrates and starches.
Amino Acids – Shiitake also contains up to 10 amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
But that isn’t all they do.
They also synthesize hormones and neurotransmitters … which can help with mood and performance.
Minerals – Shiitake is rich in minerals your dog needs to stay healthy. It’s especially high in calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium.
Shiitake mushrooms can also lower blood serum cholesterol.
In one study, rats had a 25% reduction in total cholesterol after they ate shiitake for one week. Researchers have yet to identify the component responsible for these effects.
Top Uses Of Shiitake
- Support immune system
- Prevent cancer and reduce side effects of chemo
- Help with digestive health
- Improve heart health
- Lower cholesterol
- Soothe bronchial inflammation
- Regulate urinary incontinence
- Help relieve allergy symptoms
Mushrooms As Prebiotics
Prebiotics are non-digestible, insoluble fibers. They feed the healthy bacteria that colonize in your dog’s digestive tract.
When probiotics ferment prebiotics … they secrete short-chain fatty acids and other postbiotics. These byproducts protect the gut, boost the immune system and keep your dog healthy.
So, you can let your dog can eat mushrooms to help support his gut and immune health too.
How To Feed Mushrooms To Your Dog
Unless you’re an expert in identifying mushrooms … it’s best to stick to store-bought mushrooms.
Organic is always better. Mushrooms can absorb toxins and pesticides.
Buy organic to avoid adding these dangerous substances to your dog’s diet.
And never feed your dog raw mushrooms!
To serve mushrooms to your dog, cook them first.
You can also dry them with a food dehydrator. Once dehydrated, crush them up and make a broth or sprinkle the dried mushrooms on your dog’s food.
Or you can make a broth for him.
Combine dried mushrooms or powder with hot water. You will want to use 2 tbsp of mushroom per 1 oz of water.
Cool and store in the fridge.
Give your dog ½ ml per 5 lbs of body weight.
Try A Powdered Supplement
Mushroom supplements are also available in powder and capsule form. And they’re very convenient.
When you buy a supplement, make sure to read the label. You want a product made from whole mushrooms … not just mycelium.
The main reason you want to feed your dog mushrooms is because of the beta-glucans. They contain most of a mushroom’s medicinal properties.
But most mushroom-based products are mycelium, which is like the root of the mushroom.
There‘s some beta-glucan in the mycelium but nowhere near as much as the mushroom body has.
Mycelium are also grown on grain or rice … not in their natural environment.
That means they’re higher in starch.
It also means their beta-glucan content comes from the grain. Grain-derived beta-glucans don’t have the anti-cancer and immune-modulating properties.
So it’s important to buy a supplement that uses whole mushrooms.
Dosing Mushroom Powder
If the product is for dogs, follow the directions on the package.
If it’s for humans, assume the dosage is for a 150 lb person and adjust based on your dog’s weight.
It’s always best to start with a lower dose and work up. That will help avoid any digestive upset.
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
A lot of people are afraid to share mushrooms with their dogs. Especially because wild mushrooms can be so dangerous.
But when you take the time to source the right mushrooms, they can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet.
Mushrooms fight cancer, boost the immune system, and help manage allergies … to name some of the many benefits.
So let your dog try some mushrooms and see how much they can do for his health.