Forget what you know about fungus. Mushrooms offer countless benefits for your dog. Promising new mushroom research is everywhere! Many mushrooms are safe for our Best Friends and formulated to share with them. Additionally, science is showing just how powerful they are at treating and preventing serious diseases. Mushrooms are nutrient powerhouses and give some serious health boosts for our dogs (and us too)!
Of course, mushrooms can just as easily kill your Best Friend. Therefore, make sure that you understand what kinds are OK to share with your dog, and what kinds to avoid. Following are some ways to incorporate these nutrient powerhouses into your Best Friend’s diet and mushrooms to watch out for.
Mushrooms Show Countless Benefits in Canine Cancer Research
In a study by University of Pennsylvania Faculty, dogs with hemangiosarcoma were treated with Coriolus Versicolor (Turkey Tail) mushrooms. On a side note, hemangiosarcoma was the cancer I lost Frankin to. It is an extremely aggressive cancer of the blood vessels. Once diagnosed, it has often spread throughout the body and is too late to treat.
Turkey Tail mushrooms are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They’re packed with an immune boosting compound. A company called Im’Munity makes Turkey Tail mushroom supplements for dogs. Consequently, this was the treatment used in the study.
Prior to the study, the longest survival time a dog with hemangiosarcoma had was 86 days with no treatment. Even chemotherapy and aggressive treatments doesn’t add much additional time. Surprisingly, the group given the highest dose of Im’Munity had a median survival time of 199 days. Astonishingly, this was with no other treatment.
The study was deemed a success! Im’Munity is now furthering their research studies on humans. Who knows what future cancer research will hold?
Mushrooms Offer Countless Benefits as Dietary Additions
Adding small amounts of store bought, organic, or farm grown mushrooms to your dog’s diet offer countless nutrient benefits. Mushrooms are wonderful sources of the following:
- Fiber (keeps your dog feeling full, supports healthy digestion)
- Selenium (trace element and anti-oxidant; supports healthy metabolism)
- Copper (another trace element; supports bone and connective tissue health)
- Thiamin (supports brain health and proper carbohydrate metabolism)
- Magnesium (calming effects, supports digestion)
- Phosphorus ( and essential part of any canine diet; supports bones and muscles)
Dog-Safe Edible Mushrooms
- Button: These are the most common mushroom. Buttons are full of nutrients, carbohydrates, lipids, fibers, B vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. Interestingly enough, they’re shown to inhibit odor causing bacteria in the gut microbiome. They may help prevent stinky dog-breath from the inside out!
- Portobello: These mushrooms are full of riboflavin and niacin, which support healthy skin and coat as well as providing energy.
- Shiitake: Rich in protein, and a solid source of minerals and important amino acids.
- Oyster: Full of protein, potassium, magnesium, and folate.
Most importantly, always make sure to cook mushrooms. This breaks down the tough cell wall, which dogs cannot digest. (Have you ever noticed veggies exit your dog’s other end still looking pretty identifiable?) Our dogs cannot efficiently digest plant matter and fungus. Cooking or pureeing (preferably both), breaks down that cell wall and releases the nutrients.
Additionally, only feed your dog mushrooms you would eat. Organic, fresh mushrooms provide more benefits than canned mushrooms. Also, the blander the better. A simple saute in olive oil (or even just a cast iron pan) is just fine. Your dog has no need for butter, spices, or heavy cream sauces.
Mushrooms to Avoid
Just as mushrooms offer huge benefits, they can also make your pet quite ill, or worse. Here are some common signs of poisonus mushrooms to avoid.
- White gills on the underside of the mushroom cap
- Red color
- A ring around the stem
- Bulging at the base of the stem
If your dog ingests one of these from your yard or on a walk, take a sample and visit your vet promptly. NEVER feed your dog mushrooms from your yard or mushrooms you’ve foraged, unless you’re a professional forager.
Using Mushrooms as (Preventative) Medicine for Your Dog
There are many other pet-safe mushrooms that offer countless health benefits to your dog. Following are the most popular and accessable. These mushrooms aren’t fed as food, but in supplement form. There are many pet-specific supplements for each. High-quality supplements are the best way to incorporate mushrooms into your dog’s diet.
Works as a cancer preventative. Heck, I even take 2 Host Defense Turkey Tail caplets each day myself! Additionally, Turkey Tail calms negative effects from cancer treatments, improves liver function, and fights chronic disease. Finally, this little miracle fungus reduces inflammation and supports gut health.
Adored Beast Turkey Tail for Dogs: I am in no way affilliated with Adored Beast or making money from this recommendation. This company exists for the health of our planet, and the health of our Best Friends.
Host Defense Turkey Tail: These are for humans. I take them myself! You can calculate the dosage for your dog and share with them. Finally, these are also responsibly harvested.
Four Leaf Rover Mushroom Complex: 100% organic and grown on wood, not rice or grains.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are full of antioxidants that fight free radicals (things that damage cells and age our pets.) Also, they boost the immune system and possess anti-cancer properties. Even better, Lion’s Mane mushrooms protect and improve nerve and brain function in dogs. These offer amazing cognitive support to senior pets.
Again, these mushrooms hold anti-cancer properties. Maitake mushrooms stimulate the immune system, protect the liver, and help regulate blood sugar. Finally, they naturally support kennel cough and kennel flu.
Reishi mushrooms offer fantastic allergy support for your dog. In Asian medicine, they’re known as the “Mushroom of Immortality.” First, they help manage anti-histamine, which lessens allergy symptoms. Second, reishi helps regulate immune response to allergies, support liver health, and also fight and prevent cancer. There are many medical studies to back up claims of awesomeness in Reishi mushrooms.
Essentially every medicinal mushroom has anti-cancer benefits! The planet and our home environments as toxic as ever. Plus, our dogs are so susceptible to disease. This research is worth paying attention to. Sadly, canines have the highest cancer rates of any mammal on the planet. Half of all dogs over age 10 will develop some sort of cancer. Don’t want your dog to be a statistic? Try incorporating some mushroom support into your Best Friend’s life!
Related: Chemicals are Everywhere; How to Detox Your Dog
Give Mushrooms a Try Today!
Mushrooms offer so many health benefits to our dogs. However, your dog should enjoy them in moderation. Obviously, you don’t rely on one particular food to get all of your vitamins and minerals. Of course, don’t rely on mushrooms to give your dog their vitamins and minerals. They’re simply another healthy, nutrient-dense food that can ultimately benefit your dog!
Does your dog eat some of the same foods you do? How about mushrooms? My fellas sampled some as part of my R&D for this post, and Franklin got a hearty dose of Im’Munity when he was sick. We’d love to know how your dog responded to this new food! Feel free to comment below!