When it comes to natural healing for your dog, you can’t go wrong with medicinal mushrooms for dogs.
I use mushrooms for dogs in my practice all the time. I’ve seen some amazing results using mushrooms as a natural remedy for many different health issues. I mean everything from regulating blood pressure to treating cancer. There’s not any one plant that can do as much as a mushroom can. In short, they’re miracle plants.
Here’s how these phenomenal fungi can help your dog.
Mushrooms As Medicine
Not all mushrooms are medicinal but most edible ones have medicinal properties. In many places around the world, mushrooms are used as food, medicine … and even in various types of cultural ceremonies. And it’s easy to see why.
Healing Functions Of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are really versatile natural plants. And they serve four major functions:
- Prevention (disease)
- Regeneration (cells)
- Protection (cancer, radiation)
- Intervention (treatment)
Nutrition In Mushrooms
Mushrooms’ healing abilities come from their nutritional value. They contain:
- Minerals: potassium, selenium, sulfur, sodium, geranium, zinc, phosphorus
- Sugars: mannitol, xylose, glucose, galactose, mannose
- Vitamins: B complex, folic acid, pro-vitamin D
- Protein: essential amino acids
- Enzymes: antibacterial, proteolytic
- Lipids: phospholipids, sterols, sterol esters, free fatty acids, mono-, di- and triglycerides
- Polysaccharides: glycogen, beta-D-glucans, chitin
- Essential oils: triterpenes
And just as they’re great for us, they’re great for our dogs as well. So what’s the deal with mushrooms for dogs? Let me tell you …
Medicinal Mushrooms For Dogs
I consider these the power mushrooms and the best mushrooms for dogs: Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail and Cordyceps.
Research shows they can improve immune system function and have a wide range of other important health benefits for your dog. And they’re very social – they work really well together. You can combine them to get the different healing properties of each one.
1. Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are known as the mushrooms of immortality. They have anti-tumor effects, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and immune-stimulating properties. This makes them great for boosting overall health. In dogs, reishi mushrooms can …
- Help improve heart health
- Improve immune system function
- Improve liver function
- Inhibit antihistamine release
- Improve endurance
- Help relieve pain
Reishi mushrooms are typically used to treat:
- Heart disease
- Viral upper respiratory tract infections
- Compromised immune systems
2. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms have 30 different enzymes and 10 amino acids. They also have minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium. And that makes them really impressive when it comes to your dog’s health (and your own for that matter). They stimulate white blood cells and improve circulation. They can also inhibit tumor growth and lower cholesterol. Use shiitake mushrooms to:
- Reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
- Treat Cushing’s disease
- Help soothe bronchial inflammation
- Regulate urinary incontinence
- Reduce allergy symptoms
Shiitake “Detox” Broth
Make this broth for your dog and feed it during or after a fast, or if your dog isn’t eating well. You’ll need …
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 beef bone
- ¼ cup daikon or beet root
- ¼ cup carrot
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup celery
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
To make the broth …
- Soak dried mushrooms to rehydrate in 1 cup of cold water overnight
- Put bone, veggies, salt and turmeric in soup pot with 4 cups of water
- Bring to a boil them simmer covered for about an hour
- Add the mushrooms and water you soaked them in, simmer another hour, then remove from the heat
Give your dog 1 tsp to a tablespoon every few hours when he’s not eating.
3. Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese. These mushrooms are known to stimulate t-cells, inhibit tumor growth and lower cholesterol. Maitake mushrooms are good for:
- Preventing cancer
- Supporting the body during chemotherapy and other cancer treatment
- Helping manage diabetes
- Supporting dogs with liver problems
4. Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey tail mushrooms are full of beta-glucan polysaccharides. These are the essential sugars in the body that aid in activating the immune system. This can help protect the body from infection and fight off disease.
A recent study done by the Veterinary School at the University of Penn State looked at dogs with hemangiosarcoma. This is a common cancer found almost exclusively in dogs. Dogs treated with a compound derived from the turkey tail mushroom had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the disease. But these mushrooms are good for more than cancer. Turkey tail mushrooms can:
- Help heal pulmonary disorders
- Treat the inflammation of the urinary and digestive tracts
- Decrease the effects of chemotherapy and radiation
5. Cordyceps Mushrooms
Wild cordyceps mushrooms actually grow on caterpillars. This makes them really expensive to harvest. Luckily, they’re also cultivated by growers. Although cultivated mushrooms may not be quite as potent as wild ones, they’re way more wallet friendly. Cordyceps have antifungal and antibacterial properties. They also have three protein-bound polysaccharides and several amino acids.
Studies show that cordyceps mushrooms have impressive antitumor properties. They can protect against liver and heart disease as well. Cordyceps are also good for treating:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Chronic liver disorders
- Kidney failure
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Lung carcinoma
- Geriatric disorders
How To Feed Medicinal Mushrooms To Your Dog
To give your dog mushrooms, you can easily make a tea or broth using dried mushrooms or add powder to their food. If you do want to give your dog whole mushrooms, it’s best to cook them thoroughly. Raw mushrooms can be really hard for your dog to digest and they may be toxic. They’re safe when cooked.
If you buy mushrooms in powdered or capsule form, follow the directions on the package. If the product is for humans, assume the dosage instructions are for a 150 lb person. Adjust the amount according to your dog’s weight. Start with a lower dose and work up gradually to avoid any digestive upset.
Here’s just one example of how to use the power players together.
Mushroom Mix for Liver Disease
If your dog’s liver is weakened or if she suffers from liver disease, this mushroom mix can help support the liver. To make the mix:
- Combine the dried mushrooms (or powder) – 2 Tbsp each of reishi, maitake, shiitake and turkey tail
- Mix with 4 oz hot water
- Add Amino-b-plex (available at many online vendors)
- Store in the fridge
Give your dog ½ ml per 5 lbs of body weight twice daily.
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Some people are nervous to use medicinal mushrooms for dogs. A lot of this fear comes from the potential for wild mushrooms to be toxic. But there’s no need to fear these fantastic fungi. Buy organic from a reputable source and see how great they are for your dog’s health.
Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(1):32-44.
Wasser SP. Medicinal mushroom science: Current perspectives, advances, evidences, and challenges. Biomed J. 2014 Nov-Dec;37(6):345-56.
N. Sheena, T.A. Ajith & K.K. Janardhanan (2003) Anti-inflammatory and Anti-nociceptive Activities of Ganoderma lucidum Occurring in South India, Pharmaceutical Biology, 41:4, 301-304.
Brown DC, Reetz J. Single agent polysaccharopeptide delays metastases and improves survival in naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012.
Lin B, Li S. Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.
Liu X et al. Cordyceps sinensis protects against liver and heart injuries in a rat model of chronic kidney disease: a metabolomic analysis. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2014 May;35(5):697-706.