You love mushrooms. Whether you're cooking up Portobello mushrooms to put on your burger or stirring up some shiitakes on the stove, you just can't get enough of them. Since they're delicious and good for you, you're wondering: Are they also good for your pup?
Before you feed your dog mushrooms, it's critical to find out whether or not he can tolerate them or if they're going to be detrimental to his health.
Where do mushrooms come from?
It is believed that people have been eating mushrooms since prehistory, in the hunting and gathering period, which lasted until around 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. Mushrooms have been used throughout history in different ways. The Egyptians believed they were supernatural and could lead to immortality if you consumed them. Romans believed that mushrooms were the food of the gods, and Japanese and Chinese cultures have used mushrooms for medicinal purposes for centuries.
Western cultures began cultivating mushrooms around 1650 in France, and after that, England followed. English gardeners started focusing on growing Agaricus bisporus, since it was easy to cultivate and did not require much of an investment. The widely known genetic variants of Agaricus bisporus are the Crimini and Portobello mushroom. By 1865, people in the United States began growing mushrooms.
Can dogs eat mushrooms?
Technically, dogs can eat store-bought mushrooms, but there are no benefits to feeding them mushrooms. Dogs should never eat wild mushrooms because they could end up being toxic, and could end up seriously harming or even being fatal to your pup. There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, and about 100 of them are poisonous. The most dangerous one is the Amanita, which has amanitin toxins. If your dog eats one of these, he may experience severe gastrointestinal issues, go through a false recovery period where he seems to get better, and then experience severe liver failure just 36-48 hours after he ate the mushroom. It's best to avoid mushrooms altogether and feed your dog safe and healthy snacks that will actually be good for him instead.
What are the concerns with feeding mushrooms to dogs?
There are various health concerns with feeding mushrooms to dogs, including the following:
Sauces and seasonings
Typically, when you eat store-bought mushrooms, you're cooking them with spices, oils, seasonings, and sauces that might not be good for your dog. For instance, garlic is toxic to dogs, so if your pup ingests some mushrooms with garlic on them, it could end up being an issue.
Wild mushroom poisoning
If your dog eats wild mushrooms while outside – perhaps when hiking on a trail with you – he could suffer from a number of different signs of poisoning. They include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, salivation, ataxia (staggering gait), liver failure, jaundice, and abdominal pain. In the worst case scenario, your pup could go into a coma or die after eating wild mushrooms.
Hallucinogenic mushroom poisoning
If your dog gets ahold of hallucinogenic mushrooms, he could also suffer from health issues. These include ataxia, howling, irregular eye movement, hyperthermia, and acting abnormal.
Since wild mushrooms can be toxic to dogs, and the mushrooms you eat may contain harmful seasonings and spices, it's best not to feed them to your pup. If you see your dog eat a wild mushroom, then you'll need to take him to the veterinarian right away just in case it's toxic. Your vet may administer activated charcoal or induce vomiting in order to treat your dog, but he could also need IV fluids, anti-vomiting medication, liver protectant drugs, blood work monitoring, and supportive care. If you do not take your dog to the vet immediately, then you may not make it in time, so it's critical to always stay on top of his care.
For more information on things your dog is allowed to eat, check out our entire list of Everything Your Dog Can and Cannot Eat.