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Can dogs eat mushrooms?

Bernese puppy sitting next to a mushroom advice
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Can dogs eat mushrooms? And if they can, which ones?  Read the ultimate guide to whether dogs and mushrooms mix

By Nick Whittle

Some of us love mushrooms; some of us hate them. Most dogs eat mushrooms not because they enjoy the taste but because they are edible.

At least, they assume it is edible. To guide our dogs on what is and isn’t edible is our responsibility, and if we get it wrong when it comes to mushrooms, our mistake could cost the dog its life.

Hidden poisons

The problem with mushrooms is that there are quite a few that are poisonous. Mushroom poisoning refers to the harm caused by the ingestion of mushroom toxins. Symptoms of the toxin range from a mild gastrointestinal upset to death.

The toxins made by the fungus have no function other than to protect it from being eaten. After the toxic chemicals are ingested they begin to break down individual cells, and ultimately cause the liver and kidneys to stop working.

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When you are out for a walk in woodland you must be extra vigilant of your dog around wild mushrooms. If you want to feed your dog a mushroom the safest thing to do is to buy one from a supermarket. At least you will know that these are not toxic.

In what way are mushrooms ‘good’ for dogs?

Edible mushrooms are very nutritious. Although your dog does not need any additional nutrients or vitamins, mushrooms are a fine supplement for her to eat and can be used as a healthy treat when you are training her.

We have compiled a list of some of the principle ingredients of the common edible mushroom:

  • Fibre: Helps with the health of your dog’s gut
  • Iron: Maintains a healthy red blood count
  • Manganese: Concerned with production of energy
  • Phosphorus: Concerned with bone health
  • Potassium: A necessary component of the function of muscles and nerves
  • Protein: Has various functions including the maintenance of a dog’s healthy immunity
  • Vitamin A: Concerned with immunity, reproduction and eye sight.
  • Vitamin B: Aids the health of the dog’s heart, skin, fur and digestion
  • Vitamin C: Used to fight infections
  • Vitamin D: Concerned with the health of bones, nerves and muscles

Can puppies eat mushrooms?

You can feed your puppy an edible mushroom if you need to. You should make sure that it is cut up into small pieces though because otherwise she may choke. If you introduce your puppy to any new foodstuff you should monitor her physical behaviour for a few hours afterwards to ensure that she is not allergic to what she has just eaten.

Are Mushrooms Bad for Dogs?

Aside from the very real issue of their potential toxicity, eating mushrooms can have other drawbacks. The vitamins and minerals contained in a mushroom can be toxic if eaten in too high quantity. A diet of mushrooms will put your dog at risk of vitamin toxicosis. Avoid feeding your dog mushrooms on a regular basis and use them only as a treat on special occasions.

Eating too many mushrooms can also lead to your dog’s suffering with a poorly tummy. Mushrooms have a great deal of fibre in them and if she eats too much fibre she will suffer with diarrhoea. Temper the mushroom diet and you should avoid any nasty ailments of her digestion.

Your puppy or dog may be allergic to mushrooms, and you will only know this after she has eaten one. If she shows signs of an ear infection, itchy paws or itchy skin she may be allergic to something in the mushroom. If this is the case you should not feed her any more mushrooms.

Mushroom toxicity in dogs

Dogs should not eat wild mushrooms. This is the simplest advice for those who are not 100% certain about which wild mushrooms are poisonous and which are not. Most mushrooms that grow outdoors will cause your dog to be ill. This may present itself with a bad stomach or it may kill her.

It is best and easiest to avoid her eating any mushrooms while you are out for a walk. Five of the most poisonous mushrooms in the UK (according to BT.com) are listed below:

Death Cap

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mark Williams (@markwildfood) on

  • Destroying Angel
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Michael W. Vernile (@mikeyvee75) on

 

  • Fly Agaric
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dee (@birch_the_trees_and_me) on

  • Panther Cap
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Allar Antson (@mushroomphotos) on

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning in dogs

The symptoms listed below are determined by the type of mushroom a dog has eaten. She may exhibit one or more of these symptoms. If you think your dog has been poisoned after eating a wild mushroom you should waste no time in contacting a vet. 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Coma
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Yellowing of the skin

Treatment

Treatment of poisoning of a person involves the administration of penicillin and an antidote called Silibinin. Of dogs, a similar course of treatment is supposed to help to ‘detach’ the toxin from cells. However, neither the treatment nor the antidote are thought to greatly improve the patient's chances of survival.

An early decontamination of the dog’s system is called for, which includes a stomach pump and doses of activated charcoal. However, some vets have noted that such treatment is not beneficial more than four hours after ingestion of the toxin.

By this point, the toxin has left the digestive tract and travelled into the blood stream. In cases such as this the outlook is bleak.

It is vitally important to keep an eye on your dog when you are outdoors especially in heavy and shaded woodland. If she eats a wild mushroom you must act fast to save her life. Safe types of mushroom are available to buy at supermarkets and shops. These include Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and Button mushrooms. Serve them only as a special treat and don’t overdo the mushroom diet.

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