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Though we may wish we could understand what runs through the minds of “man’s best friend”, we can only ever assume. One thing is sure: the vast majority of dogs will attempt to eat their discoveries, making it our responsibility to ensure that what they naively pick up with their mouths can not harm them.
In the autumn and winter months, we must be extra vigilant to mushrooms growing in our gardens and anywhere we will take our dogs. Mushrooms have a distinct habit of springing up where you least expect them: this is not their fault, of course. However, being highly-curious creatures, dogs will undoubtedly sniff, lick and eat many things that are new and exciting to them - including randomly placed mushrooms and clusters.
Dogs and Mushrooms: The Facts
Dogs can eat many different food items; however, several foodstuffs are highly toxic to them, meaning that a measured, fact-based approach to what they can eat safely can shield them from harm?
Generally speaking, mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat - in moderation. Though each dog will take to mushrooms differently, they can provide dogs with vitamins, minerals and amino acids whilst giving the dog a flavour sensation and unique texture: it is nice to give your dog varied, exciting food.
Much like humans, some mushroom types are toxic to dogs: even fatal.
So, the question remains: can dogs eat mushrooms? Most, but not all.
Can Your Dog Eat Shop-Bought Mushrooms?
A general rule of thumb is only to feed dogs mushrooms that are safe for you to consume.
A simple notion to remember is that store-bought mushrooms will be safe for human and doggie consumption alike, just be sure that they are cleaned and cooked thoroughly before feeding.
Safe Mushrooms For Dogs
As mentioned, most shop-bought mushrooms are perfectly safe for your dog to eat, including:
- Closed cup
- White button
Benefits of Mushrooms for Dogs
Though mushrooms are still somewhat mysterious, we know that many come packed with a host of beneficial nutrients.
The main nutritional benefits are the vitamins and essential minerals they contain; however, some mushroom varieties are high in protein, amino acids and generally extremely high in fibre.
As you can see, including a small number of mushrooms in your dog’s menu goes a long way to ensuring they consume a balanced, tasty, exciting diet.
Though incorporating mushrooms into Milo’s diet is not essential to achieving a doggie diet that is perfectly balanced as all things should be, it may be fun to do so anyway!
Alternatively, Bug Bakes create unique, bespoke nutrition plans for your best buddy to guarantee that all dietary requirements are met whilst they remain lean, fit, healthy and satiated. We make nutritionally complete insect-based dog food and healthy treats. We have amazing-value, eco-friendly 10-day trials packs if you wish to try them out!
Wild and Garden Mushrooms
Though it is unlikely that highly toxic mushrooms will grow in common UK gardens, they are still to be judged as wild mushrooms and potentially hazardous: quite literally.
It is best practice to locate and immediately remove all sightings of mushrooms in and around your garden to prevent your dog from getting excited and being tempted to have an unaccounted for snack.
Which Wild Mushrooms are Toxic to Dogs?
Much like the mushrooms safe for human consumption, the same applies to the wild variety: what is toxic to humans is dangerous to your dog.
Common poisonous mushrooms in the UK (and their typical habitat) include:
- Amanita Phalloides (Death Cap) - mixed woodland, oak and deciduous in particular
- Amanita Virosa (Destroying Angel) - mixed woodlands, deciduous in particular
- Amanita Pantherina (Panther Cap) - most types of woods and forests, beech in particular
- Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric) - birch woods and other mixed woodlands
- Cortinarius Rubellus (Deadly Webcap) - coniferous woods and forests, particularly Pine and Spruce
- Galerina Marginata (Funeral Bell) - mainly conifer and deciduous tree stumps, grassland
- Gyromitra Esculenta (False Morel) - under pine trees, sandy soil
- Russula Emetica (The Sickener) - pine woodland
- Pleurocybella Porrigens (Angel’s Wings) - decaying conifer wood
- Stropharia Caerulea (Blue Roundhead) - mixed wood and grassland
- Tricholoma Terreum (The Grey Knight) - scotch pines and other coniferous trees
Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Your Dog
Though all wild mushrooms differ and contain varying types and quantities of toxins, there are several general symptoms to look for if you suspect your dog has consumed a wild mushroom:
- Abdominal pain
- Ataxia (staggered walking/gait)
In more severe cases, some outcomes include:
- Organ Failure
Treating Mushroom Poisoning
It is always best to consult with your veterinary expert when you suspect your dog may have ingested a wild mushroom.
Though unlikely, it is advisable to safely get a sample of the suspected mushroom to bring along with you to the vets to assist in helping them determine the most appropriate action plan for the specific toxin afflicting your dog.
Though heartbreaking, many of the most deadly mushrooms in the UK have no proven antidote to counteract the mushroom toxins. Instead, the vets will attempt to draw the toxins out from your dog’s body by inducing vomiting or using activated charcoal: these methods are not always effective in saving their life or quality of life if they survive.
How to Prevent Your Dog Eating Mushrooms
As with anything dog-related, preventative measures are usually a combination of diligent ownership and rewarding cognitive behavioural training for the dog.
Methods to prevent your dog naively eating wild mushrooms include (but are not limited to):
- Effectively teaching your dog to drop or leave items on commands
- Carrying its favourite treat as a distraction method
- Total avoidance of warm and damp woodland areas
- Avoid tall grass - also advisable in the prevention of ticks and mites
- Keeping your dog on the lead in dangerous areas
- Using a comfortable muzzle
- Removing all wild mushrooms from your garden and surrounding areas easily accessible to your dog
How to Safely Feed Mushrooms to Your Dog
Considering that edible mushrooms can provide your dog with valuable nutrients, fibre and a unique texture, you may still want to incorporate them into their dinner time menu.
Remember to only feed your dog mushrooms you would eat yourself, and ensure they are thoroughly cleaned, cooked (without other ingredients that are toxic to dogs) and cooled before feeding them to your dog.
So, to answer once and for all: Can dogs eat mushrooms? “Yes”, as long as the mushroom isn’t poisonous, your pooch can have it as a treat.
We hope you enjoyed this guide! Did you find it helpful? If so, check out our other guides on whether our four-legged friends can eat people-food below:Can Dogs Eat Strawberries? | Can Dogs Eat Banana? | Can Dogs Eat Apple? | Can Dogs Eat Cheese?