Many people share their own food with their beloved pets or feed their pets left overs from their own dinners. This can be problematic for dogs particularly with onions, cooked or raw but what about Mushrooms? Unlike onions mushrooms can be found in the wild when your out walking and I have seen dogs munching on mushrooms in the woods, this made me wonder if it was a safe thing to let them do.
Can dogs eat mushrooms? Not all mushrooms are alike, but when it comes to your pet’s safety, treat all mushrooms equally: consider them all potentially toxic. Although only 1 to 2% percent of the world’s wild mushroom population are toxic, it can be hard to tell a safe mushroom from one that is deadly. Keep mushrooms away from them entirely knowing this is perhaps the only way to protect. The accidental ingestion of poisonous or wild mushrooms may either cause extreme suffering or death.
Dogs can be very curious creatures, and sometimes that curiosity leads them to taking a big chomp out of something they may have seen during their morning walk. If that ‘something’ happens to be a wild mushroom, an urgent trip to the vet may be in order.
If you see your dog eating mushrooms, pick one so that you can identify it later or possibly you may be able to use one of the plant identifying Apps available on smart phones, otherwise only poison control experts or veterinarians can tell whether your dog has eaten a poisonous mushroom, what type of mushroom or fungi it is, and advise you on the treatment needed.
You may be pondering on the fact that if dogs have very sensitive and powerful noses, they should be able to tell if a mushroom is toxic, right?
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Dogs, with their adorable and awesome noses, can easily fall victim to deadly mushrooms that give off interesting scents, like the fishy odor emitted by the common Death Cap. Dogs tend to think with their stomachs, and what they don’t understand, they put in their mouths (yep, just like toddlers!)
Are All Mushrooms Poisonous to Dogs?
If only one or two percent of the world’s mushrooms are unsafe for dogs to eat, then does this mean the other 98% can be fed to dogs? Not exactly. Some mushrooms won’t require urgent veterinary attention when ingested, such as the mushrooms served in restaurants or varieties sold in markets and grocers.
However, the mushroom you might encounter on your morning walk can be deadly. Unless you are an expert on fungi, flora, and fauna that grow in your area, it is best to steer clear from wild mushrooms entirely.
Common wild mushrooms that are extremely toxic to dogs :
- The Death Cap (Amanita phalloides);
- Jeweled Deathcap (Amanita gemmata);
- Panther Cap (Amanita pantherina)
- Deadly Agaric or Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria);
- Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa);
- False morel (Gyromitra species);
- Clitocybe and Inocybe species;
- Angel’s Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens);
- Deadly Webcap (Cortinarius rubellus);
- Deadly Galerina (Galerina marginata);
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Mushrooms?
Mushrooms that are sold for human consumption are generally non-toxic (safe) (otherwise, they would not be available for humans to eat), but be warned: some mushroom varieties good for humans can affect dogs differently.
If you are preparing dinner and your salivating pooch decides to steal an unseasoned mushroom or two from your kitchen table, there is no cause for immediate alarm. If your dog does not show any symptoms consistent with poisoning, chances are that they will be fine.
However, you also need to make sure your pet won’t go for seconds. Always keep your mushrooms (and basically, your dinner) stored safely or away from your constantly hungry pooch.
Assuming your dog has eaten a cooked, seasoned mushroom, you may need to keep a close eye on them. If the mushroom itself won’t cause them to experience toxicity symptoms, the seasonings on the mushroom might. Some common seasonings that we use in cooking such as onion, olive oil, garlic, and certain powders or dried grass can be toxic to dogs.
What Happens If Your Dog Eats Mushrooms?
A combination of these symptoms hint that your dog may have ingested a few wild mushrooms on your morning walk:
- Sudden weakness
- Poor coordination when walking (a condition known as ataxia)
- Pained whining due to body aches or pains
- Jaundice (observed in the yellow discoloration of the eyes, skin in the belly or ear flaps, and gums)
- Liver failure
What Do I Do if My Dog Has Eaten Mushrooms?
Within the first 15 minutes of ingestion, your dog may display symptoms consistent with poisoning. However, other dogs may not exhibit signs of toxic poisoning until 6 hours after ingestion, if not, more. The moment you identify a symptom of toxicity, seek veterinary care.
If you would like to help your veterinarian figure out what has happened to your pet, you could also take a sample of the suspected wild mushroom with you. Take a piece or two of the wild mushroom and store it in a paper bag or soft paper towel. Make sure to wear gloves when plucking out a sample of the mushroom. Wash your hands.
If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic but he isn’t acting any differently, take a picture of the mushroom with your smart phone call a veterinarian and ask if he can identify the picture you took; some symptoms take awhile to manifest. Better yet, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for mushroom poisoning. The care your vet provides to your dog depends entirely on their assessment of the situation. Treatment for mushroom poisoning usually includes inducing vomiting, administering anti-toxins such as activated charcoal or other medicines, and managing lingering symptoms.
Expect your dog to undergo a series of tests once at the vet’s office. Your vet may attempt to pump your dog’s stomach so he spits out the unpleasant snack followed by conducting a full blood work analysis. Your pet may also require hospitalization and close monitoring for a certain period.
Act quickly! Do you know what kind of wild mushroom it was? Is your dog showing symptoms of poisoning? Does your dog seem like he is in pain? Did your dog regurgitate something that doesn’t look like his breakfast?
It is extremely important to keep a close eye on your pet when walking with him in an area where wild mushrooms tend to grow. In case your dog is chewing what seems to be a wild mushroom, make sure to pull it out of his mouth immediately.
Ultimately, the treatment will depend on your pet’s symptoms and the severity of his case.
How Can I Prevent my Dog from Eating Mushrooms?
If you’re at home and you’d like to keep your dog from eating mushrooms (or your dinner), the best way to do so is to simply keep them away from your kitchen table.
However, if you are out and about, you can protect yourself and your four-legged friend by doing the following:
- Weed out wild mushrooms in your yard, as well as other plants that may be harmful to dogs. Maintain your property regularly and make sure to remove wild mushrooms, as well as other plants that are known to be dangerous to pets.
- Know the trail. Unfamiliar trails may be tempting to explore with your pet, but this is where most pet owners have stumbled upon organisms that can be potentially dangerous to their pet. Err on the safe side of caution and avoid unfamiliar trails if you can.
- Train your dog to avoid, ignore, or not eat anything that isn’t in his dish. Challenging, but not impossible. Many dog owners have succeeded in training their dog to avoid anything that isn’t served to them in their doggy dish.
- Don’t go to parks or parts of the woods where wild mushrooms have been sighted. This is probably the easiest thing you can do to protect your pup. Avoid areas where many dog owners have lamented seeing a wild mushroom or two.
- Keep your dog leashed or always monitor your pet. Finally, it is always a good practice to keep your dog leashed when in public parks or in the forest. This keeps them at a safe distance, and keeping them leashed allows you to pull them away from anything you suspect to be unsafe.
Types of Food Dogs Should NOT Consume
Aside from mushrooms, there are other common foods that are, surprisingly, toxic to our canine friends.
- Candies with Xylitol, a sweetening ingredient which can be harmful to animals
- Alcohol of all types and varieties
- Medicines (for humans)
- Illegal drugs
- Salted treats, as they may cause sodium poisoning
- Small, raw bones such as Chicken bones, as these can break apart and puncture your dog’s mouth, oesophagus, intestines, or stomach
- Onions and onion powder
- Garlic and garlic powder
- Various kitchen seasonings and powders; sometimes it is best to keep culinary seasonings away from your pets altogether
- Chocolate and coffee, both of which contain methylxanthines
- Grapes (includes raisins, often found in cakes) as these can cause kidney failure when consumed in high amounts
Even with the threat of wild mushrooms, don’t be afraid to go exploring with your pet. By simply knowing what to keep an eye out for on untamed paths and parks, you should be able to protect your dog more effectively. Remember, keep an eye on your pet in unfamiliar trails, don’t let them take a bite out of anything on the ground, and have fun.
Take a good look at the various smart phone Apps they are great for identifying those plants that your dog takes a fancy to. Stay safe out there!