Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?

For the vast majority of people who own pets, dogs are the chosen companion. In the United States, most people have a pet, and it is estimated that there are actually more pets than children in that country! Dogs are the most popular choice at a whopping 33%, closely followed by cats at 23%. These figures were published in a survey conducted by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung or the Society for Consumer Research. As the most preferred pet by people, there is a specific protocol for these types of animals when it comes to their diet. When you consider giving them a mushroom, for example, which is a part of the fungi family, you might wonder whether it’s safe for your canine companion. To answer this question, let’s first take a look at the benefits of mushrooms for dogs.

dog eating

(Photo Credit : Daniel Piil/Wikimedia Commons)

Benefits of Mushrooms

The benefits of mushrooms depend on the kind of mushroom that one feeds their pets. It can be firmly stated that the mushrooms one gets at the grocery store can safely be given to dogs for consumption. The thing with mushrooms is that they are fungi, which exhibit excellent levels of nutrients and will aid in the promotion of your pet’s well-being. One of the first things that mushrooms provide are the vitamins A, B, C and D. Vitamin A proves useful in helping vision and also maintaining the coat and fur quality of your furry friend. When we consider the contents of vitamin B, they are highly water soluble and help in the cofactors of cell metabolism. Vitamin C aids in boosting the immune system strength of canines, especially in terms of being an anti-carcinogenic agent (which helps prevent cancer). Vitamin C is also quite potent against viral strains, such as skin disease, distemper and polio, and it also proves effective against bacterial infections, such as kennel cough and respiratory infections. Finally, Vitamin D proves to be a great regulator for calcium levels in a dog’s body, which promotes active and healthy bone growth.

When it comes to minerals and proteins, mushrooms are equally packed in that aspect as well. Protein promotes the growth of new hair and is an excellent promoter in repairing skin cells. It also helps in repairing micro tears in the muscles and is an excellent source of energy for your pooch. The minerals that mushrooms contain include Selenium, Iron and Phosphorous. Selenium prevents skin problems, arthritis, heart disease and even cancer in canines. Iron prevents anemia, which is a serious problem that canines face when they age, as their bone marrow produces fewer blood cells. Phosphorous is generally excellent for overall bone health.

Safe Variety of Mushrooms

mushroom

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

There are some varieties of mushrooms that are safe for dogs. The first one we will discuss is Shiitake Mushrooms, which are a great source of protein, zinc, copper, thiamin, folate, selenium, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, pantothenic acid, niacin and dietary fiber. This variety of mushroom is considered one of the healthiest types of mushroom in the world. The next variation is Maitake Mushrooms, which are renowned for their anti-carcinogenic properties and their ability to regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, boost the dog’s immune system and suppress tumor formation. Maitake mushrooms are also referred to as the “King of Mushrooms” due to their medicinal properties.

The third variety of mushrooms is Reishi mushrooms, which help in the alleviation of allergic symptoms. This mushroom contains polysaccharides, organic acid, microelements, polypeptides, amino acids, organic acids, and coumarin. These components promote cardiovascular health, improve digestion and regulate the immune system. The fourth variety of mushrooms is known as button mushrooms, which contain B vitamins (sans Vitamin B12), selenium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus.

When mushrooms become dangerous

When it comes to feeding your dog a healthy variety of mushrooms, your pet must still only be given a certain quantity. It is always recommended that mushrooms should be an add-on to a meal, rather than a complete substitute for an entire meal. The worst thing a person can do for their dog is allow them to eat wild mushrooms. Under no circumstances should you allow your pets to consume wild mushrooms, as they can have many adverse side effects, such as gastrointestinal distress, liver toxicity and hallucinogenic effects. Some signs that your dog may need urgent medical intervention is when they start displaying symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, abdominal pain, yellow skin, uncoordinated movements, seizures or coma. A few mushrooms that are harmful and fall under this category are Entolomo, ChlorophyllumGyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak), Gyromitra caroliniana, Galerina,  Amanita phalloides (Death Cap Mushroom), Amanita ocreata (Angel of Death),  Psilocybe, Clitocybe and Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric) to name just a few dangerous ones.

mushrooms

(Image Credit: Flickr)

In conclusion, are mushrooms safe for dogs? Yes, they are, but the mushrooms must be carefully chosen and should be cooked and prepared well. Like any other food article, it can either be good or bad, depending on consumption patterns. In moderate amounts, mushrooms can prove to be very beneficial to your canine’s health, but as with all things, anything in vast quantities can be dangerous—or even lethal! Therefore, anyone who feeds their canine pal should do so with discretion and care.

References:

  1. American Kennel Club
  2. North American Mycological Assosciation
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About the Author:

Venkatesh is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer from SRM Institute of Science and Technology, India. He is deeply fascinated by Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. He is also a chess aficionado, He likes studying chess classics from the 1800 and 1900’s. He enjoys writing about science and technology as he finds the intricacies which come with each topic fascinating.

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