Mushrooms are one of those foods that people tend to either love or hate, but what about dogs? Can dogs eat mushrooms? Are all mushrooms toxic to dogs? If so, how can we tell which mushrooms are toxic to dogs? Here’s what you need to know about dogs and mushrooms:
The first step in answering the question, “Can dogs eat mushrooms?” is understanding the difference between wild mushrooms and the ones we humans buy to eat from grocery stores. “The ones we buy in the grocery store are not toxic,” Dr. Heather Loenser, Senior Veterinary Officer with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), explains. “However, there are several wild mushrooms that are and can cause serious consequences, including liver and kidney failure, vomiting, tremors, disorientation and seizures.” Death may sometimes result from ingesting toxic mushrooms, too.
If you or your dog find a mushroom growing in the wild, assume that the mushroom is toxic and keep your dog away from it. One of the challenges with identifying toxic mushrooms is that some species may “vary considerably in their toxicity from year to year and location to location” an ASPCA report on mushroom toxicity notes. This makes it especially challenging to determine what mushrooms are safe and which aren’t.
There are several mushroom species that are toxic to dogs that are found in North America. The most toxic mushroom to dogs is the Amanita species of mushroom. “Amanita species are the most commonly documented cause of fatal mushroom poisonings in dogs, and they account for 95% of mushroom-related fatalities in people,” the ASPCA reports. These mushrooms are commonly referred to as the “Death Cap” or “Death Angel” mushrooms and are unfortunately very attractive to dogs, because they have a very fishy odor.
Recently, two North Carolina dogs — Drago, a 3-year-old Saint Bernard, and Adoni, an 8-year-old Lab-Retriever mix died after eating wild Amanita or Death Angel mushrooms growing in a yard. Four other dogs in the same yard became very ill and required hospitalization. A GoFundMe was set up to help the foster mom of the affected dogs pay for medical treatment.
If your dog eats any type of wild mushroom, or if you think your dog has eaten a wild mushroom, act quickly.
Mushroom poisoning in dogs is scary, but you can take steps to keep your dog safe:
Now that we’ve covered what to do if your dog eats a wild mushroom, can dogs eat mushrooms from the grocery store?
“Mushrooms that are purchased at the grocery store are safe to share with your dog if you choose to,” Dr. Loenser explains.
If you’re snacking on button mushrooms as you prep dinner, feel free to toss your pup a mushroom. Where even store-bought mushrooms get a bit tricky is how they are prepared. Often, we don’t eat mushrooms on their own and the onions, garlic, tomatoes, butter and sauces we often use with mushrooms aren’t good for dogs. Store-bought mushrooms on their own, though, aren’t toxic and won’t result in a trip to the animal hospital for your pup.
So, as with most human foods, feed edible, store-bought mushrooms to your dog sparingly and free from any seasonings and sauces.
Thumbnail: Photography ©bksrus | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author. Her novels have been honored by organizations ranging from the Lambda Literary Foundation to the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Trainer, and assists with dog agility classes. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix and a Newfoundland puppy, along with two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at sassafraslowrey.com.
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