Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms?

Read this before letting your dog take a bite 🍄

If you landed on this article because your dog just ate a wild mushroom on your walk, GET HER TO THE EMERGENCY VETERINARIAN RIGHT AWAY.

Now, if you have some leftover portobello mushrooms in the fridge and you’re wondering if you can let your dog have a taste, you’ll probably have no issues slipping her a bite (as long as they aren't covered in garlic and spices).

While knowing which mushrooms are safe for your dog to eat and which aren’t can be a little bit confusing, it’s basically the same as it is for humans: The mushrooms in the stores are safe to have, and the ones out in nature should be avoided.

The Dodo reached out to Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and a veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, and Dr. TB Thompson, a veterinarian based in Phoenix, Arizona, to find out more about mushrooms and dogs.

Are mushrooms bad for dogs?

While mushrooms may seem like a risky food, certain mushrooms can actually be really beneficial for your dog. “Confusingly, many mushrooms can be safely eaten and even offer health benefits,” Dr. Simon told The Dodo.

“Cooked culinary mushrooms and certain medicinal mushrooms are not bad for dogs,” Dr. Thompson told The Dodo. “In fact, they contain some special nutrients that may help fight cancer!”

According to Dr. Thompson, mushrooms need to be cooked in order for these nutrients to become available to your dog. “The other reason to cook culinary mushrooms is that raw mushrooms may cause mild to moderate digestive upset in sensitive dogs,” Dr. Thompson said.

Can dogs eat store-bought mushrooms?

Store-bought mushrooms that you’d eat at home are completely safe for your dog to enjoy. These mushrooms include common varieties such as:

  • Baby bella
  • Portobello
  • Shiitake
  • White button

You can boil, bake or grill them and give your dog a small amount every now and then.

“Beware, though, if they have been cooked with garlic, onion or any other toxic ingredients, they should not be offered to the family pet,” Dr. Simon said. “Similarly, if they’ve been cooked in a creamy sauce or butter, they could cause an upset stomach or pancreatitis.”

So, in general, if serving up mushrooms to your pup, keep them plain and simple.

Benefits of mushrooms for your dog

According to Dr. Simon, mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for many years and may help boost your dog’s immune system.

“They are rich in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation in the body,” Dr. Simon said. “Rich in B vitamins, they also support brain function and even aid digestion.”

Can dogs eat wild mushrooms?

Wild mushrooms, even to an experienced forager, can pose a risk. With so many species of mushroom out there, and with many species looking so similar, it's easy to confuse a toxic mushroom for a safe one.

“While your dog may be smart, they have no way of sniffing out a poisonous mushroom,” Dr. Simon said. “For safety’s sake, never let your dog eat a wild mushroom.”

Which wild mushrooms are toxic to dogs?

There are many, many varieties of toxic wild mushrooms, but some of the most common and most poisonous belong to the genus amanita.

Dangerous amanita mushrooms include:

  • Angel of death mushrooms
  • Death cap mushrooms

“These cause severe liver, kidney or neurologic toxicity and can be fatal when eaten by dogs,” Dr. Thompson said.

Amanita mushrooms are found throughout North America.

“There are also mushrooms which can cause hallucinations and mental disorientation, so-called ‘magic mushrooms,’” Dr. Simon said. These mushrooms also shouldn’t be ingested by your dog.

When it comes to toxic mushrooms in your area, it’s a good idea to make yourself familiar with the toxic mushrooms that grow close to your home — but to stop your dog from eating any mushrooms, just to be safe.

Signs of mushroom poisoning in dogs

Signs of mushroom toxicity in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Vocalization, like whining
  • Salivating
  • Liver failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Symptoms may happen within 15 minutes of mushroom ingestion, or they may not appear for several days.

“While your dog may not seem unwell right away, don’t be fooled into a false sense of security,” Dr. Simon said. “Mushroom ingestion outside the home must be taken extremely seriously.”

If you saw your dog eat a wild mushroom, or you suspect that she may have eaten one, get her to the veterinarian immediately.

How to treat mushroom poisoning in dogs

If your dog has ingested an unknown mushroom, the safest thing to do is to have them seen at the emergency vet right away. “They may induce vomiting so the mushroom is brought back up and your dog is at less risk of poisoning,” Dr. Simon said. “Depending on the species of mushroom, ingestion of even a very small amount can make your pet dangerously ill.”

If you can bring a sample of the ingested mushroom with you, this can be helpful for the veterinary professional when deciding how best to treat your dog. “Remember, handle it with gloves and place it in a wet rag, ensuring you keep yourself safe,” Dr. Simon said.While it’s important to never let your dog eat wild mushrooms, if you do have some extras from the store left over in the fridge, they can be perfectly safe (and even beneficial) to your pup — just remember to cook the mushrooms and serve them plain.