Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Fact Checked By Our Vet
It’s easy to wonder "can dogs eat mushrooms?", especially when you’re eating some and they’re asking with those huge eyes. We know it can be hard to resist. But not all our foods are healthy for your dog, and certain human dishes can actually be dangerous.
Before giving your pup mushrooms or other goodies, check out what our experts have to say. Here’s what you should know about whether or not mushrooms are good for dogs!
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
Generally speaking, yes. Dogs can eat store-bought mushrooms such as portobellos or button mushrooms as well as the not so common chaga mushrooms.
Related: What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
However, certain types can be very dangerous. Some wild mushroom species easily found in forests, parks and even your yard can be highly toxic. You should keep your dog away from those and remove them from your yard as soon as possible.
PRO TIP: If your dog ate a wild, unknown mushroom, try to get it out of their mouths as soon as possible. If you know the proper technique, make them vomit before they can digest it. Then, take a picture of the mushroom and ask your vet whether or not you should be concerned about intoxication. After the fact, keep an eye on your dog and take them to the vet if you see any signs of distress, illness or weird behaviour.
Things To Consider Before Giving Mushrooms To Your Dog
Mushrooms are low-calorie
If you want to give mushrooms to your dog to bulk up their diet, this might not be the best option. Mushrooms are low in calories and fibre and have zero fat and cholesterol. On the flip side, they are rich in more than a dozen minerals and vitamins, including folates. However, mushrooms aren’t as nutritionally dense as fruits and vegetables.
The best nutritional asset of mushrooms is their high antioxidant content, although you -and your dog- will only reap their benefits after eating a lot of them. Considering that to get a significant antioxidant intake you should eat 100 grams of button mushrooms; one or two pieces won’t have a sizeable impact on your dog’s nutrition.
The mushrooms in your pizza are not good for your dog
While most commercially grown mushrooms are okay for your dog to eat, they can be a risky treat. Processed mushrooms have little nutritional value for dogs so the risk clearly outweighs any perceived benefits. When they are in pizza, mushrooms are soaked in oils, butter, seasoning, and certain vegetables, such as garlic and onions, that can be harmful to dogs. Stick to raw mushrooms if you want to offer some.
Dogs don’t know how to identify toxic mushrooms
It’s a common assumption to think your dog won’t ever eat a toxic mushroom because they can smell the toxins. Well, if you’ve ever seen your dog want to eat from the trash, you know dogs don’t always know what’s best for them. Dogs cannot identify toxins in mushrooms and poisoning by eating wild mushrooms is very common. In fact, both vets and mushroom experts believe that wild mushroom poisoning is an under-reported cause of fatal poisoning in pets. Because of it, responding quickly to a suspected mushroom snack is the best thing you can do for your dog.
Dogs like the taste wild mushrooms
Dogs eat mushrooms for the same reasons they eat other odd things. They explore the world by scent and taste, and the texture of a mushroom might also be intriguing to a curious canine. To make things worse, some varieties of toxic mushroom, like Amanita phalloides (death cap) and Inocybe spp. have a fishy odour. As any dog owner knows, dogs find fishy odours particularly attractive, which may explain why dogs commonly ingest these toxic mushroom species.
PRO TIP: Keep your dog on a leash when walking through humid, forested areas. This way you’ll be able to spot mushrooms and steer your dog away from them.
It’s very difficult to diagnose mushroom poisoning
If you suspect your pup ate a wild mushroom, rush to the vet’s office. Mushroom poisoning is difficult to diagnose, and many vets have never seen a case in their practice. However, eating a poisonous mushroom can cause liver failure, neurotoxicity, and gastrointestinal irritation. Some toxins found in mushrooms can be lethal, so prevention is the key.
How To Know If My Dog Ate A Poisonous Mushroom?
Diagnosing mushroom poisoning can be very difficult, especially since it's common for dogs to eat things without their owners noticing. Plus, the effect toxins have on your dog depend on the type of mushroom, your dog’s health, their size, and the amount of mushrooms they ate.
Here are some common mushroom poisoning symptoms in dogs:
- Gastrointestinal signs: Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain. Many types of mushrooms simply cause stomach upset. While these are rarely life threatening, it can be very hard to determine the type of mushroom ingested based on these symptoms.
- Neurological: salivation, seizures, weakness, lethargy, eye watering.
- Hepatic: Liver failure with Jaundice.
- Increased urination.
- Coma and death
PRO TIP: If your dog is "drunk walking", take them to the vet as soon as possible. This is one of the most common symptoms of amanita mushroom poisoning, and it can be lethal.
What to do if my dog ate wild mushrooms?
Wild mushroom ingestion in dogs should be treated as a medical emergency. Even though only a small percentage of mushroom species in the world are toxic, the toxic ones are very, very dangerous. They are also often difficult to distinguish from the non-toxic varieties, so veterinarians recommend treating all wild mushrooms as potentially toxic and a veterinary emergency.
If your dog ate wild mushrooms, it’s very important to figure out what type they ate. Whenever possible, take a sample of the mushroom with you to the vet so it can be analysed. The more the vet knows, the better they will be able to treat your dog.
PRO TIP: To avoid a visit to the emergency room, teach your dog the release command. Making sure your dog will let go of anything they are chewing on as soon as you notice can be the difference between life and death.
Unless the mushroom is served raw, it is generally safer to avoid feeding dishes with mushrooms to dogs. Dogs do not need mushrooms in their diet, so play it safe and give them a different reward, like a carrot stick or an apple slice instead.
On the other hand, vets recommend treating all wild mushrooms ingestion as potentially toxic and a veterinary emergency. In general, it’s best to avoid exposing your dog to wild mushrooms to be on the safe side. Keep them on a leash and enjoy your nature walks!
Want to learn more about what types of food dogs can and can't eat? Check out our below guides:
- What Food Can't Dogs Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
- Can Dogs Eat Grapes?
- Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
- Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?
- Can Dogs Eat Cheese?
- Can Dogs Eat Avocado?
- Can Dogs Eat Prawns?
- Can Dogs Eat Cauliflower?
- Can Dogs Eat Eggs?
- Can Dogs Eat Bread?
- Can Dogs Eat Nuts?
- Can Dogs Eat Garlic?
- Roberts, B. Toxic Food Dogs Cannot Eat The Ultimate Guide! https://fuzzy-rescue.com/food-dogs-cannot-eat/#ftoc-heading-8
- Puschner, B., et al. (2012). Mushroom poisoning cases in dogs and cats. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 42(2), 375-387. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22381186/
- Puschner, Bet al. (2018). Mushroom poisoning cases in dogs and cats. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 48(6), 1053-1067. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30077439/
- Hall, J., et al. (2013). Mushroom toxicosis in dogs in general practice causing gastroenteritis, ptyalism and elevated serum lipase activity. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 54(5), 275-279. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsap.12036
- Hudler, G. (2019). Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms. In Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds (pp. 147-171). Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691207230-012