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Are Mushrooms Safe for Dogs?

Are Mushrooms Safe for Dogs?

Mushrooms are one of the many foodstuffs that are considered harmful for dogs, but are they really that bad? This DogAppy article answers the question that's on the minds of many dog owners - are mushrooms really safe for dogs?
Priyanka Athavale
Keep An Eye
Mushrooms tend to sprout outdoors without any warning. Hence, when letting your dog into the yard, keep a watch to see if he/she is favoring a particular area, as it may be a mushroom infestation. Preferably, check the yard in advance and remove any growths. If you have been mushroom picking, make it a point to keep your dog away from the stash, as wild shrooms can be very dangerous for him/her.
As all owners know, the diet of pet dogs needs to be monitored carefully to protect them from any health problems and illnesses. There is a long list of foodstuffs that are harmful for dogs, and some items on this list are slightly controversial. This means that some variants of certain foods are harmful for dogs while some others are not. One such example is mushrooms. There must have been times when you are cooking or eating something that contains mushrooms, and your pooch just won't let up, sitting in front of you, asking for a bite, taking you on a complete guilt trip with its eyes.

This must have made you wonder whether dogs can eat mushrooms, and what happens if they do. The answer is, mostly no. Although there are a few varieties of mushroom that may not cause any unease to your dog, most types, especially the poisonous wild ones, can be fatal. Read on to know the answer to questions like what happens if dogs eat mushrooms, if it is safe, and what kind of mushrooms are harmless/harmful to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?
The answer here is two ways. One, dogs can eat a bit of store-bought mushrooms that are meant for human consumption. A little bit means one or two small pieces at most, and without any seasoning or spices. Hence, mushrooms from pizzas, pastas etc. are not such a good idea since they may have cheese, herbs, or ketchup stuck to them, neither of which is dog-friendly.

Two, wild mushrooms are absolutely and completely harmful for dogs. They DO cause health issues, albeit in different variations and intensities, depending on the species. Some varieties of mushroom are more poisonous for dogs than others, and the effects of consumption can range from gastrointestinal problems to death. These symptoms are explained in detail further down.

Dogs can eat cooked and raw mushrooms. However, remember that a dog's digestive system takes time to adjust to a new food item, and if you are feeding mushrooms to him/her for the first time, then it is advisable to take it cautiously. Feeding too much at once can cause discomfort. If your dog is the sneaky type, quickly scarfing down anything he/she can reach, then it is best to keep the mushrooms on a higher level, out of access. If your dog eats too many, then it's best to call a vet.
Mushrooms That Are Safe
Mushrooms that are store-bought and edible are okay for dogs to eat in small quantities. However, if your dog manages to snag more than a few when you're not looking, then keep an eye out for any reaction, as some dogs are allergic to mushrooms. Symptoms include a body rash, diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence. If any of these signs occur, then visit the vet. Some edible mushrooms that can be fed to dogs are as follows.
Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms
Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi Mushrooms
Button Mushrooms
Button Mushrooms
Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake Mushrooms
Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello Mushrooms
As mentioned before, avoid feeding these if they have seasoning or other ingredients on them that are not meant for canine consumption.
Mushrooms That Can Harm
There are many varieties of wild mushrooms that look deceptively similar to many edible, non-poisonous varieties. These can also be found growing quite close to each other in many places. Hence, if you do not know how to identify mushrooms, it is best to steer your dog away from any wild growing bunches. Although only about 2% of the total wild shroom population is poisonous, it is never worth the risk. It can be said that wild mushrooms are not bad for dogs, but rather very risky. Here is a list of some of the harmful ones that are commonly found.
Jeweled Deathcap
Jeweled Deathcap (Amanita gemmata)
Geotropa Toadstool
Geotropa Toadstool (Clitocybe)
Fly Agaric Mushrooms
Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita muscaria)
Death Cap
Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)
Galerina Genus Mushrooms
Galerina Genus Mushrooms
False Morel
False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta)
Mushroom Poisoning - Symptoms and Treatment
Mushroom poisoning is a very unpleasant after-effect of mushroom consumption. It can be deadly to your dog. The following are some of the common symptoms of mushroom poisoning.

I. Gastrointestinal Issues
This is not a major symptom, and is usually easily treatable. You may notice signs of diarrhea and vomiting in your dog. Take him/her to the vet for a check up. It will not require very intensive treatment. Your dog will mostly begin displaying the signs within six hours of consumption.

II. Gastrointestinal and Muscarinic signs
Muscarinic symptoms include excessive eye tears and saliva production. Here, the symptoms will include tear production, diarrhea, salivation, constricted pupils, vomiting, and a decreased heart rate. These signs also take the same time window as above to begin displaying, but in this case, veterinary intervention is required.

III. Lethargic or Depressive Behavior
If your dog is acting lethargic, disinterested in activities, unenthusiastic, or appearing to have an off demeanor accompanying the symptoms mentioned in the paragraph above, then you must rush him/her to the vet immediately. Check if his/her eyes appear yellow; this is a sign of jaundice, meaning the poison has affected the liver. It can also lead to seizures. You must get your pet to the doc's as soon as you start witnessing any symptoms.

IV. Magic Shrooms
If your dog consumes magic mushrooms or street mushrooms by accident, then he/she will begin hallucinating. If you witness your dog doing unusual things like flinching at nothing or trying to catch an imaginary fly, then call your vet immediately. Other symptoms include an unsteady gait, lethargy, depression, oversleeping, or seizures. Your vet will advise you about the treatment or ask to bring your dog over.
Immediate Remedy
The most common form of treatment is to first induce vomiting in the dog so that the consumed contents are evicted from the body. This is done using many methods, one of which may be administering peroxide. Either call your vet and confirm what to give your dog, or let the vet do it. The next step is administering activated charcoal to get rid of the toxins in the body. The vet may also conduct other tests to check for presence of toxins. He/she may administer IV and other medications.

If you have some leftover samples of the shrooms your dog ate, then put them in a paper bag to keep from degrading, refrigerate them, and get them identified by an expert so that you know how poisonous they are to your dog.
Although mushrooms are not entirely harmful for dogs if given in the right quantity and the right variety, there is always that small risk of something going wrong. Just keep a watch on what your dog eats outside and at home, call the vet if you find any mushrooms missing and suspect your pooch, and enjoy all your tasty food with your dog. Bon apetit!