The answer to the question “Can dogs eat mushrooms?” is both yes, and no. Some types of mushrooms are ok for dogs to eat, that is the ones cultivated for human consumption. Others, such as those they may sniff out growing in the wild, parks, or your yard, can be toxic and result in poisoning.
Are Mushrooms Safe for Dogs?
Just as with human consumption, some types of mushrooms are safe, and others are toxic or poisonous and can make your dog very unwell.
For safety’s sake, the general rule of thumb is never to let your dog eat any mushrooms found while out exploring in the wild, including any that may pop up in your yard or local park from time to time.
To a dog, wild mushrooms may smell good, but as many dog owners know, a dog’s scent sensibility does not always match what is safe for them to eat!
Sadly, there are vet tales of someone bringing in a pet and saying “I think my dog ate something bad” and discovering mushroom poisoning from ingestion.
Cultivated mushrooms, such as those you buy yourself to eat in grocery stores are okay for dogs to eat. However, you still need to be cautious! If you’ve prepared these yummy mushrooms for yourself with garlic, onions, and other seasonings, then those are not safe for feeding to your pet.
So, what’s the moral of the story? It’s probably best to think safety first – avoid giving your dog any type of mushrooms.
Are Mushrooms Healthy or Toxic? Breaking down the Nutrients
There are thousands of types of mushrooms. Depending on the type of mushroom, they are both healthy and toxic.
Edible Mushrooms: The edible mushrooms you find in the supermarket do have various nutrients.
However, organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) indicate they do not necessarily need mushrooms in their diets.
Mushrooms are good sources of some of the B vitamins – Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Pantothenic acid (B3) and Vitamin B6 in particular. They are also sources of minerals such as selenium, phosphorous, copper and potassium.
Toxic Mushrooms: Toxic and poisonous varieties can vary from region to region, and have different side effects. Common species of wild mushrooms in the US that are toxic to dogs include:
- Amanita phalloides (death cap mushroom)
- Amanita muscaria (fly agaric or deadly agaric)
- Gyromitra esculenta
- Gyromitra caroliniana (Big reds)
- Gallerina marginata (Deadly galerina)
- Amanita gemmata
- Amanita ocreata (Death angel)
- Amanita pantherina
- Clitocybe dealbata
- Chlorophyllum molybdites, and
- False morels.
Feeding Your Dog Mushrooms: Possible Side Effects!
If a dog has eaten toxic or poisonous mushrooms, there here are some common symptoms of mushroom poisoning:
- Lethargy – they may lack energy and seem very weak
- Staggering – they may not be able to walk in a straight line and may stagger like they are drunk or dizzy
- Drooling – they may generate excess saliva
- Abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, liver disease, kidney failure or liver failure.
- Tremors or seizures
If you suspect your dog has eaten wild mushrooms get them to your vet as soon as possible.
Waiting for the symptoms can be too late with some types of mushrooms. Take along a sample of the mushroom your dog has eaten to the vet if you can.
Dogs Need Their Daily Minerals and Vitamins too!
Just like us, dogs need to have a balanced diet in order to live a healthy, happy life! Some dogs may have specific guidelines based on their age, breed, lifestyle, and health status. According to the ASPCA, the main nutrients and essentials a dog needs include:
- Water: Clean and fresh drinking water should be available to pets at all times. They do get some water from their diets, but more is needed.
- Proteins: These usually come from meats, but are also in veggies, soy, and cereals.
- Fats: Dogs need a level of essential fatty acids in their diet for their hormone product, to absorb other nutrients and to protect their internal organs.
- Carbohydrates: The fiber in carbohydrates help with your dog having a healthy gut and digestive system.
- Vitamins: The vitamins dogs need are found in a normal balanced diet. Supplements are not advisable without veterinary advice as you can upset the balance.
- Minerals: Minerals in a dog’s diet help with keeping their teeth and bones healthy and metabolic systems in balance.
Dog Not Eating or Dog Won’t Eat Your Meal? 5 Tips to Help Them Out
- Praise your pup for even the smallest taste or bite. Most dogs love to please their pet parents, if they see you are pleased that they have eaten something, it is an incentive to go on.
- Check the quality of the food. If it has gone bad in storage or your refrigerator, they will know. Make sure it is fresh. Most dogs also prefer their food at room temperature. If it is too hot or too cold, they may sniff and walk away.
- Mix it up. If you are trying to introduce a new food, mix it with something you know they like to get them used to the new flavors.
- Feed your other pets at the same time. There is a little bit of monkey-see-monkey-do thought behind this, and that dog’s do not like to be left out. If they see another family pet (or even you) chowing down, they may decide to do so as well.
- Check they are not sick. Look out for symptoms they might not be feeling well and get them to the vet if you are worried.
Comparing Apples and Oranges: What Can Cats Eat as Well as Dogs?
Some foods are great to feed cats, dogs, and humans. These include fish species such as salmon, sardines, and tuna. Chicken and turkey without bones, other meats, and eggs.
Just Food for Dogs: 3 Foods Your Dog Can Eat But Not Your Cat
- Dog food: Commercially prepared dog food has ingredients that cats cannot digest and a different fat content.
- Dairy products: Dogs can tolerate a little bit of dairy such as cheese, but cats are more lactose intolerant.
- Fruits and veggies: Cats are carnivorous; they need more proteins from meats although they can eat some fruits and veggies. Dogs are omnivores so they can digest both.
So, Are Mushrooms Good for Dogs? Can Dogs have Mushrooms?
So the bottom line is, store-bought cultivated mushrooms do have nutrients that are beneficial for dogs. However, those in the wild can be toxic, poisonous and make your dog seriously sick or cause death.
Rather than have your dog’s taste buds accustomed to the taste of mushrooms, which might tempt them if they find them outside, it is probably best to avoid mushrooms in their diet.