Mushrooms are rich in a variety of nutrients, but protein, in particular, so they are a staple on many people’s dinner tables. But can dogs eat mushrooms?
That is the topic of today’s article, where we are looking at whether mushrooms are safe for pets, which are poisonous, and why some species could be good or bad for dogs.
Are Mushrooms Good for Dogs?
Mushrooms contain three main types of vitamins – riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. But there’s also a rather considerate amount of vitamin C in this food type, although that might seem surprising to you.
All of these nutrients play different roles in a dog’s body. Vitamin C can be considered an anti-infectious agent, so it helps your pet’s immune system to work properly when coming in contact with a bacterium, for example.
Riboflavin is excellent for red blood cell health, while niacin ensures that your dog enjoys healthy-looking skin and a good digestive system.
As for pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, it’s involved in basic metabolism, which means that it assists dogs in changing food into energy.
While mushrooms aren’t packed in minerals, especially when compared to leafy greens or other such sources, they still contain two.
One hundred grams of white mushrooms contain 2% in magnesium and 2% in iron, and while that might not sound like a lot, this food type is just another source of minerals for your dog.
It goes without saying that mushrooms aren’t as rich in protein as chicken breast or beef, for example, but they still have 6% of every 100 grams. And while a vegan diet might not be appropriate for this species, the truth is that mushrooms have a low carb content (just 1% of 100g) and a virtually non-existent fat content (0% total fat and 0% cholesterol).
This means that while mushrooms can supply your pet with the protein that they need to thrive and be healthy, they are not going to make them put on any pounds — especially if you merely boil, grill, or steam the mushrooms.
Are Mushrooms Bad for Dogs?
Since there are over ten thousand different species of mushrooms that now exist in the world and that only several hundred of them are actually safe to eat, this is the first risk that has to be noted.
The best advice we have for you in this respect would be to always get your mushrooms from your local supermarket or Farmer’s Market. When it comes to mushrooms, unless you have a very, very good knowledge of which ones you can pick from the forest, it is simply not worth risking your and your dog’s health.
If you don’t recognize a species, just don’t pick it. Some features that should tell you that it’s toxic are that it has some red color on it (anywhere), that there’s a ring around its stem, or you can notice either white gills or a very thick portion at the base of the mushroom’s stem.
Some examples of toxic mushrooms are listed below:
- Amanita sp.
- Galerina sp.
- Gyromitra sp.
- Helvella sp.
You can’t know for a fact whether your dog is allergic to mushrooms until your pet actually eats one. For this reason, if you’ve never given this food type to your dog before, start with a very, very small amount.
Otherwise, you risk ending up at the hospital with a dog that’s nauseated, vomits, has difficulty breathing, or has developed hives in a matter of less than an hour.
Even mushrooms that you can get from the store or products in the form of mushroom pates might be unsafe in this respect. We’d say the best choice would be to get them and clean them thoroughly at home and then cook them properly.
The soil or substrate in which mushrooms are farmed can sometimes carry dangerous microorganisms, and you do not want to expose your dog to this risk.
How Many Mushrooms Can My Dog Eat?
It depends on the type of mushroom. Classic white mushrooms that you can buy at any supermarket are safe enough, which means that most dogs can eat up to one or even two tablespoons per day.
Naturally, it depends on the dog’s size, but even if you have a senior pet, this type of food is not going to put their health in danger — unless it’s a toxic mushroom species, of course.
If you’re still feeling wary about adding this food group to your dog’s diet, just ask your vet if they believe it would be safe.
How to Prepare and Serve Mushrooms to Your Dog
Frying the mushrooms would be the worst way to cook them, especially if you intend on giving them to your pet. Dogs aren’t supposed to have deep-fried foods, and not only can they give them indigestion, but they might even cause pancreatitis.
You can grill, steam, or simply boil the mushrooms, but did you know that they can actually be eaten raw? If you clean them properly, they are safe without you having to cook them.
Just to be on the safe side of things, don’t overdo it, especially when it comes to the number of mushrooms you give your dog.
Remember, they are already getting the right nutrients from what you are feeding them, whether a commercial pet food diet or a homemade diet whose recipe you’ve perfected with your vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Unless you have made it at home and used nothing like salt, condiments, or other spices, mushroom soup is not safe to give to dogs. Cream of Mushroom Soup is the worst since it has salt, sugar, and a lot of added fat, too.
Generally, no. Also, if you do not have enough knowledge on mushrooms and your dog eats some from the yard, it’s better to assume that they are poisonous and go to the vet clinic right away — even if it’s nothing, this is much safer.
Yes. However, this is perhaps the only ingredient that’s perfectly safe for them to have from pizza. Bacon or other deli meats are extremely rich in salt and maybe even fat, so they’re unsafe, and the dough isn’t species-appropriate, either.
Yes. This type is completely safe for dogs.
Yes. This is another species that can be eaten by dogs without them experiencing any health issues.
So, can dogs eat mushrooms? If they’re store-bought, yes! They’re safe, rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins, and they aren’t going to make your dog put on weight, either.
Never allow your dog to eat mushrooms from the forest or your garden, especially if you don’t know if it could be a toxic species. Some types can be very dangerous and can cause death in a matter of several hours, so only store-bought kinds are safe.
- Mushroom Poisoning Cases in Dogs and Cats: Diagnosis and Treatment of Hepatotoxic, Neurotoxic, Gastroenterotoxic, Nephrotoxic, and Muscarinic Mushrooms, Birgit Puschner et al, 2018
- Mushroom Toxicosis in Dogs in General Practice, J. Hall et al, 2013
- Clinical Recovery of 5 Dogs from Amatoxin Mushroom Poisoning Using an Adapted Santa Cruz Protocol for People, Ryan C. Goupil et al, 2021