As pet owners, we’re constantly searching the internet before giving our dogs a bit of human food to make sure it’s safe. We know chocolate, grapes, and cooked bones are off-limits for our canine friends, but there are lots of other foods – mushrooms included – that are rarely mentioned in relation to our dogs’ diets. Gourmet mushrooms might not be a go-to snack for most dogs, but can they have the occasional nibble without getting sick?
There are many safe mushroom species for dogs to eat. Some holistic vets even recommend supplementing dried mushrooms into your dog’s diet to decrease inflammation, boost immunity, and fight viral illnesses. However, there are certainly some species of mushrooms that are NOT safe for your dog to eat. Here’s how to keep your dog healthy while allowing him to indulge in the occasional mushroom snack.
Which Mushrooms Can Dogs Eat?
Any common varieties of mushrooms eaten by humans are also safe for dogs. Common button mushrooms and portobellos are fair game; so are gourmet mushrooms such as shiitakes, oysters, and maitake. While the nutritional benefits of mushrooms are widely known when it comes to humans, studies have not been done showing that mushrooms have a substantial nutritional significance to dogs. Still, why not spice up your pup’s snacks from time to time by offering him a tasty gourmet mushroom?
Holistic vets have been prescribing mushroom supplements to dogs for years to boost the immune system, decrease arthritis inflammation, and more. Reishi mushrooms, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail are all used by both humans and canines due to their purported health benefits. Your vet may recommend dried reishi mushrooms for allergies, shiitakes for incontinent, or maitake for managing diabetes.
Avoiding Unsafe Mushrooms
Some people assume their dogs have a sixth sense about which mushrooms are safe to eat. Our canine friends do have great noses, but unfortunately, they cannot sniff out safe and unsafe fungi. If you’re walking in the woods with your pup and he snatches up an unknown mushroom, there’s no guarantee it’s safe for him to eat. Please contact your vet any time your pet ingests an unknown mushroom species, and do not ever feed your dog an unidentified mushroom from the wild.
Even if you do plan to feed your dog mushrooms from the grocery store or farmer’s market, there are some guidelines you should follow to keep him safe and healthy. Humans often cook mushrooms in a fat or oil, but these substances can upset your dog’s stomach even in fairly small quantities. Instead of serving up a buttery bowl of mushrooms, try steaming them or sautéing them with a small amount of unsalted meat stock. And don’t forget to skip dangerous foods like onion and excess garlic – flavors we humans often love with mushrooms. They can cause health problems in dogs, too.
Enjoy R&R Cultivation’s organic, gourmet mushrooms with your dog without worrying about your furry friend getting sick. Our fresh and dried mushroom products are available at Lunds and Byerlys stores, co-ops, and farmer’s markets all over the Twin Cities. Just remember to always check with your vet before adding any food or supplement to your dog’s diet!