Mushrooms are the only plant-like foods that have the umami flavor. But they are not true plants. These edible fungi have been on the human diets for eons, and we love the taste and health benefits.
What about our furry buddies? Is it okay for dogs to eat mushrooms?
There is no single answer to that question. There are several varieties of mushrooms. Some are edible, but some are toxic.
Like many dog owners, that response could trigger more questions than answers. So we have prepared a series of questions and expertly drawn responses to help you understand the facts around dogs eating mushrooms.
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Which mushrooms are safe for your dog?
The only mushrooms that would be safe for your dog are the ones that you can eat. That means nothing from the woods, nothing that sprouts in your backyard, and nothing from a source you cannot verify. Mushrooms like Portobello, Cremini, Shiitake, and Morel are excellent additions to your dog’s diet. Anything you can purchase at the store and is certified as “safe for humans” should be safe for your dog.
Mushrooms don’t just taste great. They contain rich doses of vital minerals and powerful antioxidants. Including mushrooms in your dog’s diet will boost your dog’s health, and the oxidants counter chronic ailments such as cancer.
But there is another group; toxic mushrooms. Out of 50,000 different types of mushrooms, Pet Food Sherpa explains that approximately 2% of them are poisonous.
Which mushrooms are toxic for your dog?
If the mushrooms are not from the store, or if they randomly appeared in your yard or the woods, they could be toxic.
Many varieties of mushrooms could harm your dog. Mushrooms like the Death cap, Deadly Galerina, Jeweled death cap, Deadly Agaric, and False Morel are toxic to dogs and could be lethal.
Here’s the critical fact you should get; it is hard to differentiate between safe and unsafe mushrooms. You would have to be a mycologist to do that.
A wrong choice could be a fatal error for your dog. So, avoid feeding your dog mushrooms apart from the edible ones you get from the store.
Is it okay to allow the dog to forage? Can your dog tell which mushrooms are safe?
Dogs have an acute sense of smell. Scientists believe that a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times better than humans. Breeds like the Bloodhound or Basset hound could have a sense of smell that is 100,000 times better than humans.
But your dog cannot tell if a mushroom is safe or toxic. Some toxic mushrooms like the Death cap have a fish-like odor which to most dogs is irresistible. Dogs don’t have an inbuilt mechanism to differentiate the safe and unsafe mushrooms. Your dog could happily chow down a chunk of the Death cap mushroom without a clue of what it could do. That is until you find the dog lying on the ground writhing in pain or in a coma.
If you plan for outdoor excursions, take adequate measures to keep your dog safe.
What are the signs of toxic mushroom ingestion?
You may not be around to witness your dog eating that toxic wild mushroom. Perhaps he was just bored and decided to stroll for a few seconds, and you didn’t notice. After all, it only takes a couple of seconds. But whenever you find your dog chewing on something, yet it is not meal or snack time, it could mean trouble.
Immediate signs of mushroom ingestion are signs of chewing and fragments of the fungi around your dog’s lips or in the vicinity.
If you notice mushrooms around the dog, call the vet immediately. Don’t try to figure out the type of mushroom your dog could have ingested.
However, if you do not see any mushroom fragments around the vicinity, look out for the following later signs:
- Vomiting and diarrhea – inspect what comes from your dog’s bowels. Does it contain mushroom fragments? Collect a sample and give it to the vet.
- Excessive salivation
- Excessive urination
- Muscle tremors.
- Drunken gait.
- Seizures and coma.
How your dog will be affected depends on the type of mushroom and the quantity he ate.
As you may notice, the signs above are not unique to mushroom poisoning. Therefore, it is crucial to take your dog to the vet for further examination.
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What should you do if you suspect your dog ingested mushrooms?
The first action is to contact your vet and explain the situation. Then rush your dog to the nearest vet emergency room.
Toxic mushrooms can be fatal. Even if your dog seems okay, it could be a phase. Poisonous mushrooms like the Death cap will cause severe gastrointestinal discomfort. This phase is followed by a lull period when the dog will seem to have recovered from the poisoning. But it does not last long. The dog then experiences organ failure, and it could be fatal.
Vets also advise pet parents not to try and identify the mushroom. Instead, focus on getting your dog to the emergency room.
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Treatment for mushroom poisoning in dogs
Depending on the type and quantity of mushroom ingested, the vet will recommend specific treatment. In some cases, they may induce vomiting. If you can carry a sample, the vet will examine it and figure out appropriate treatment faster.
Dogs and mushrooms, final thoughts
Mushrooms are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. But ensure that you serve mushrooms that are safe for you and the dog. If it’s not from the store, it could be toxic. So, don’t allow your dog to forage in your yard or any other outdoor location. One bite of a poisonous mushroom could be fatal. To keep your canine family member safe from roaming and finding harmful items to ingest, consider providing them shelter in a Horizon Structures Dog Kennel.
But just in case you suspect your dog has swallowed some toxic mushroom, talk to a vet first – don’t bother identifying the mushroom. Then find the nearest vet ER. Your furry buddy depends on your swift action.