Certain mushrooms, like shiitakes, offer robust health benefits to dogs. If your dog eats a mushroom in the wild, however, call your veterinarian ASAP.
It’s fair to say that mushrooms are having a moment. In the dog world, you can find everything from powered mushroom supplements to mushroom infused treats. If you’re thinking about adding mushrooms to your dog’s diet, we want to ensure you have the knowledge you need to make an educated choice for your pup.
A warning about wild mushrooms and dogs
Before discussing the benefits of some mushroom varieties, it’s important to note that not all mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat. Case in point: if you live in an area where mushrooms grow in the wild, it's best to be on high alert during walks and trail hikes. Wild mushroom poisoning is extremely serious and believed to be an underreported cause of dog poisoning. If you are out and about and suspect your dog has ingested a wild mushroom, contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control immediately.
What mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat?
Store bought mushrooms are generally safe for dogs to eat - they contain a powerful array of vitamins and minerals that can contribute to your dog’s overall health and well-being. To maximize nutrient absorption for your pup, mushrooms should always be cooked to some degree. This helps break down the chitinous wall, a structure that offers cellular structure to the mushroom but can inhibit nutrient access when consumed raw.
One big caveat here: if preparing mushrooms for your dog at home, resist the urge to season them or cook them in oils. This might seem unappetizing to humans but additives can upset a dog’s stomach and are best avoided.
The benefits of functional mushrooms for dogs
Some mushroom varieties, like button and portobello, are broadly nutritious for dogs. There are others, however, with robust nutritional profiles that can offer a helpful boost in key vitamins and minerals, sometimes referred to as medicinal or functional mushrooms. Chief among these is the widely available shiitake mushroom.
Shiitakes are a great source of fiber, copper, and minerals like zinc. They are particularly high in B vitamins (especially Vitamin B5), which dogs need for maintaining healthy liver function. Enzyme levels in shiitake mushrooms also help with digestion, especially the breakdown of starches. Sundays includes shiitake mushrooms in each of our recipe formulations for exactly these reasons.
If you’re thinking about adding (cooked, unseasoned) store-bought mushrooms into your dog’s diet, rest easy with the knowledge that they’re a good source of vitamins and minerals. If your dog manages to eat a mushroom in the wild, however, call your veterinarian ASAP.