Most white mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat. A good rule of thumb is that if a mushroom is safe for humans, it’s safe for dogs. White mushrooms are low in calories, have high water content, a high amount of Vitamin D2, and contain cancer fighting antioxidants.
Dogs are well known for eating things they’re not supposed to. They’re attracted to new and interesting smells and textures, and mushrooms are nothing short of interesting to the senses. Mushrooms are an enigma of sorts. There is so much, yet so little, we know about them.
We know mushrooms are a fungus. There aren’t many other circumstances in which we would willingly eat a fungus.
When we think of mushrooms, the first species that come to mind are the edible varieties: portobello, shitake, king oyster, etc. While there are so many delicious varieties of white mushrooms that we love to eat, unfortunately, not all mushrooms are edible.
Inedible and poisonous mushrooms are not restricted to a single region in the U.S. Mushrooms can grow fast and unexpectedly, even in your own backyard.
This poses an always present threat to your dogs. That’s why it’s important to identify the signs your dog has ingested a mushroom and what to do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned.
The Deal With the Fungus Among Us
Mushrooms are commonly considered vegetables, but are technically part of the fungi kingdom. Instead of reproducing by spreading seeds, mushrooms hold millions of spores in their gills which they release once mature, and spread through the wind.
Mushrooms grow sporadically when the right conditions are met. They typically grow in moist, composted soil with access to sunlight. This means mushrooms can unintentionally grow in your backyard or garden, where they are easily accessible to pets.
Mushrooms are consumed throughout the world. They can be added to countless recipes to enhance flavor profiles and can be bought fresh, frozen, dried, or canned.
While there are literally thousands of varieties of mushrooms, not all mushrooms are safe to eat.
What if your dog sneaks a mushroom you’re unfamiliar with on a walk or in your backyard? Is it safe for him to eat, or is this cause for concern? The first thing to do is try to identify what type of mushroom it is.
White Mushrooms That Are Safe For Your Dog to Eat
Did your dog eat a store-bought mushroom off the kitchen floor? That’s good news because if a mushroom is safe for a person to eat, it’s safe for a dog to eat. One of the most common types of white mushrooms you’ll find in the kitchen is white button mushrooms.
White button mushrooms’ scientific name is Agaricus bisporus. They make up about 90 percent of all mushrooms consumed in the U.S. They are small and white with smooth, round caps and short stems.
Here’s something that might blow your mind: white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms are all actually the same mushroom at different stages of growth!
The type of mushroom depends on the stage of maturity it was harvested at. White button mushrooms are harvested at a young, immature stage of development.
White button mushrooms are actually very nutritious. They have high water content and are low in calories. They’re relatively high in protein compared to other vegetables. They pack three grams of protein per cup.
White button mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D2, high in antioxidants, contain cancer-fighting properties, and promote heart health.
Besides white button mushrooms, other edible yet less common white mushrooms include champignon, king oyster, and enoki mushrooms.
Your dog won’t be harmed by eating an edible white mushroom, but often mushrooms aren’t eaten raw. They’re covered in an oil or cream sauce, which might actually be more harmful if eaten by a dog than the mushroom itself.
It’s best to keep edible mushrooms on the dinner plate and out of the dog food bowl.
White Mushrooms That Are Toxic to Dogs
While the edible mushroom varieties contain many nutrients and health benefits, not all mushrooms are edible.
About half of all mushrooms are considered inedible because of their poor quality, like woody stems or poor taste. Inedible mushrooms are not necessarily poisonous.
About three percent of known mushroom species are poisonous. But of the thousands of mushrooms we know about, scientists suspect there are probably thousands more that have yet to be identified.
If you’re taking your dog out on a walk or hike and he notices an unfamiliar mushroom, chances are he’s going to sniff around to check it out because dogs are attracted to new and interesting smells and odors.
But dogs cannot differentiate between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms, even with their keen sense of smell.
The mushrooms most commonly blamed for dog poisoning belong to the Amanita species. Mushrooms in the Amanita family are found throughout North America, particularly on the west coast and in the northeast.
There are many white varieties of these mushrooms, and they can cause liver failure, gastrointestinal pain, and death. This mushroom family includes the popular Amanita phalloides, better known as the death cap mushroom. It resembles other white non-toxic mushrooms and has no smell or taste.
It’s especially hard to tell if your dog ate a death cap mushroom because symptoms don’t occur until six to 24 hours after consumption.
Vomiting and diarrhea can start at this time and, over the course of a couple days, can lead to liver, kidney, and other organ failure. If gone untreated, your dog can die within one to two days.
If the mushroom your dog ate is identified as a death cap mushroom or any other poisonous mushroom, an emergency trip to your veterinarian is required.
Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning
There are many cases of mushroom poisonings that go unreported because an owner didn’t realize their dog ate a bad mushroom. But there are symptoms of poisoning to look out for that can be traced back to a toxic mushroom:
- Abdominal pain
Poisoned or not, if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms or a combination of symptoms, it’s important to get him to your vet immediately.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Questionable Mushroom
If you know your dog has eaten a mushroom and you are unable to identify what kind of mushroom it is, or any of the symptoms previously mentioned persist, it’s best to take your dog to the vet. In cases of possible poisoning, it’s better to play it safe and get your dog checked out by a professional.
If possible, take a sample of the mushroom with you for the vet staff to examine. The vet may establish a better course of action if they know what type of mushroom they’re dealing with.
If the mushroom was ingested recently, your vet might induce vomiting to extract the mushroom from your dog’s system.
Prescription drugs will most likely be given to counter any possible toxins. Bedrest and overnight observation may be needed to ensure the dog doesn’t have any adverse reactions.
Of course, prevention is the best way to avoid poisoning by a toxic mushroom. If possible, always have someone monitoring your dog on walks and any outdoor ventures at all times to make sure he’s not eating something dangerous.
Regularly check your yard or any outdoor space your dog frequents for mushrooms. If found, carefully remove them with gloves, safely dispose of them in a plastic sack, and throw them away in the dumpster.
Accidents happen, and nobody means for their dog to be poisoned. It’s important to be diligent and act fast if your dog’s health deteriorates. This may be the difference between life and death for your canine companion.
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