All dog owners understand how important smell is for their furry friends to understand the world around them. Whether they’re stopping every ten seconds on a walk to sniff out another dog’s “#2” or running into the kitchen to casually “hang out” when you’re cooking a tasty meal, their nose is calling all the shots.
You may have also noticed that dogs are very attracted to sniffing mushrooms. A mushroom’s savory and sometimes fishy smell seems like the perfect signal for a delicious canine snack. But are mushrooms safe for dogs to eat?
A good rule of thumb for feeding mushrooms to your dog is this: mushrooms you find in a grocery store are OK, but you should stay away from giving them wild mushrooms.
While not all wild mushrooms are poisonous for dogs, it’s quite difficult for the average person to distinguish poisonous mushrooms from safe ones, as they can often look incredibly similar.
Therefore, it’s best not to take any risks by feeding your dog wild mushrooms unless you are 100% sure that you have correctly identified the mushroom species. Beginners to mushroom foraging can consult a guide or more experienced mushroom hunter to avoid feeding poisonous mushrooms to their pets.
If you happen to be on a walk, and your dog does end up snacking on a mushroom they find, look out for the following symptoms of mushroom poisoning:
If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately, as mushroom poisoning can be life-threatening for your pet. If you’re able to collect a sample of the mushroom they ate, that can help your vet identify whether the mushroom was a poisonous variety.
These small, white-capped mushroom are eerily similar to non-toxic lookalikes.
These varieties have yellow caps with white warts.
Because of the psilocybin present in their caps, dogs will experience extreme neurological symptoms like agitation, fear, and sensitivity to light and sounds. They also may experience physical symptoms like vomiting and a lowered heart rate.
These wrinkled, brown-capped mushroom look similar to morels.
If you do want to feed your dogs mushrooms, we recommend using only organic, store-bought mushrooms. This will ensure that the type of mushroom you feed your dog is safe for them to eat and are free from pesticides and other harmful toxins.
With any new food, it’s important to introduce them into your dog’s diet slowly and prepare it as simply as possible. You can add raw mushrooms alongside regular dog food, roast them, or steam them. Just make sure to avoid using oils, salts, and other seasonings, as they can negatively affect your pet’s health.
When prepared correctly, however, mushrooms can provide some amazing health benefits. Like humans, combining a variety of medicinal mushrooms in their diet can lead to an improved immune system, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and lower cholesterol.
It’s sweet to know that mycophile pet parents can enjoy exploring their fungi obsession alongside their furry friend. Whether you’re growing your own mushrooms, diving into foraging, or simply perusing your local store for the best mushroom finds, your dog will likely enjoy exploring the new tastes and health benefits of mushrooms with you!