Mushrooms for Dogs: The Health Benefits

Written by Hilary Wilkie

Hilary is a qualified canine nutritionist, who is passionate about educating dog parents on optimal ways to feed their dogs so they can thrive.

17 October 2022

Are Mushrooms Good for Dogs?

For years dog parents have shied away from feeding dogs mushrooms because they believed mushrooms were poisonous to their dogs.

While there are some mushrooms that are poisonous to both humans and dogs many are rich in health benefits to help your dog thrive.

Mushrooms are known to hold anti-allergic, anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

Recent research is uncovering more health benefits of mushrooms for you and your dog.

Papatunuku has provided us with these amazing species; and all we need to do is learn how to use them for the health and well-being of your dog.

What are Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are super cool. They belong to the fungi kingdom, separate from plants and animals. They obtain their nutrients in a unique way to that of plants and animals.

Their mycelium (microscopic rooting threads) grows into or around the food source, secretes enzymes that digest the food externally, and the mycelium then absorbs the digested nutrients.

Ministry of Forest and Range, Canada

They play a critical role in our eco system. Without them the world would not exist. The documentary Fantastic Fungi takes a deep dive into the world of fungi and mushrooms, which we highly recommend.

So how do these unique species benefit your dog and why should you add mushrooms to your dog’s diet? Let’s take a closer look into the different types of mushrooms, their benefits and how best to incorporate them into your dog’s feeding regime.

Types of Mushrooms

There are four categories of mushrooms:

  1. Culinary
  2. Medicinal
  3. Hallucinogenic
  4. Poisonous

For this article, we will not discuss the hallucinogenic ones.

Culinary Mushrooms

These are the mushrooms you use in cooking. There are variety of these mushrooms from your white button mushrooms, portobello to fancier more expensive and harder to find varieties. As these mushrooms are safe for you and me to consume, they are also safe for your dog.

Culinary Mushrooms include:

  • Button mushrooms
  • Portobello
  • Oyster
  • Crimini
  • Porcini
  • Shiitake
  • Chanterelle

Mushrooms contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and protein. The list is quite extensive:

  • Pre-biotics
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin C
  • Choline
  • Potassium
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Vitamin D
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous

These nutrients are also found in medicinal mushrooms with extra health benefits.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Eastern medicine has used medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years.

Medicinal mushrooms contain the same beneficial properties as the culinary mushrooms, but they also carry some super charged properties too:

  • Triterpene
  • Phytonutrients
  • Polysaccharides
  • Beta-glucan

These properties enable medicinal mushrooms to be extra powerful. Research shows that medicinal mushrooms can help with immune regulation, mood enhancement, cancer and gut health.

Medicinal mushrooms include:

  • Turkey tail
  • Shiitake
  • Reishi
  • Chaga
  • Maitake
  • Lion’s mane
  • Cordyceps

Posinous & Wild Mushrooms

Firstly, not all wild mushrooms are poisonous. Unless you have extensive knowledge in foraging and wild mushrooms do not let your dog eat them.

There are about 100 species of mushrooms that are poisonous and can be very toxic to you and your dog.

7 of the most poisonous mushrooms are:

  1. Death Cap
  2. Conocybe filaris
  3. Webcaps
  4. Autumn Skullcap
  5. Destroying Angels
  6. Podostroma
  7. Deadly Daperling

Signs that your dog may have consumed a toxic mushroom include:

  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Vocalisation
  • Disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Seizures

Take your dog immediately to your local veterinarian if you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic mushroom.

Benefits of Mushrooms for Dogs

Mushrooms have properties for both preventative and proactive care. They also support existing health conditions.

More specifically mushrooms help:

  • Balance the immune system
  • Nourish the gut and protect it as they are prebiotics
  • Promote longevity
  • Control inflammation and blood sugar
  • Cancer prevention
Individuals who eat 18grams of mushrooms – or about 1/8 to ¼ cup – daily have a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who do not eat mushrooms.
Rodney Habib

Author, Planet Paws

Not all mushrooms are the same. Each type has their own unique benefits. It also depends on where the mushrooms are grown, how they are grown and harvested.

How to Include Mushrooms in Your Dog’s Diet

Culinary Mushrooms

Add mushrooms to your dog’s diet over a few days to reduce the chances of stomach upset.

Lightly steaming or sautéing (in butter or olive oil) will help breakdown the fibre and make it easier for them to digest.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are slightly different because the mushrooms need to be in a super concentrated form for your dog to reap the benefits. A powder or tincture-based product made specifically for pets is the easiest option.

How Much to Feed

When feeding culinary mushrooms start with 1tbsp of lightly cooked mushrooms per 5kg. For powder or tincture products follow the directions on the package.

Ensure that your dog is fed a variety of mushrooms, so they enjoy the different benefits. Rotation is key to helping your dog thrive.

Mushrooms are great food to include in your dog’s diet either as a wholefood, powder, or tincture. The list of benefits of these fungi for your dog are long. Remember, do your research, and talk with your local integrative or holistic veterinarian for further guidance.

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