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Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Are Mushrooms Safe For Dogs?

Mushrooms of all types aren't created equal. Some are safe for dogs, and some are not. Veterinarian Joanna Woodnutt examines what types of mushrooms mean a trip to your local vet, and which are typically safe for canine consumption in moderation.

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Last Updated: April 7, 2021 | 4 min read

Dachshund Sniffing at Large Mushroom

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate mushrooms and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

A food item commonly on the menu in many of our households is mushrooms. They can be the main focus of a dish, but they can also be a more subtle or even hidden ingredient in many meals. So, what if our canine companion were to eat our food leftovers containing mushrooms? Can dogs eat mushrooms? And would they cause harm, or could they provide some extra nutritional benefits?

It’s important to note, that this article is about edible mushrooms that we would eat as humans. There are other, potentially poisonous mushrooms, that we will not discuss. Those are mushrooms that will likely be cause for concern, and need veterinarian intervention.

If you are curious about our favorite mushrooms that we humans eat, you’ll find everything you need to know below. Let’s jump in and find out if feeding these tasty fungi to your pup is a good idea or not.

Are Mushrooms Safe for Dogs?

Wild Mushrooms on a Tray
Plain, cooked, edible varieties of mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat, but there are some things to be aware of.

Firstly, it’s really important to remember that not all mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat, just like in people. Unless you were an expert, you wouldn’t eat mushrooms you had found in the wild. Especially if you didn’t know what they were. The same applies to dogs because some mushrooms and toadstools are toxic, causing illness or sometimes even death.

As a rule, dogs can safely eat the same store-bought mushrooms that humans can. Feeding varieties like portobello, button, shitake, and chestnut mushrooms are very likely to be safe unless they are raw or dirty. Here’s a list of ‘safe’ mushrooms for dogs:

  • Button mushrooms
  • Chestnut mushrooms
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Oyster mushrooms

What’s wrong with raw mushrooms? Well, if uncooked, even edible mushrooms can cause your pup to feel unwell with sickness and diarrhea. Rinsing and wiping the mushrooms well before cooking, or even buying organic to reduce chemical contamination, will ensure they don’t cause any harm.

The Benefits of Mushrooms for Dogs

Dog Sniffing at a Wild Mushroom
Mushrooms can be a good source of multiple vitamins and minerals and some even have healing properties.

Mushrooms are considered nutritious food for most humans. And although the cooking process does alter the levels of these nutrients, they can still be a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins A, B, and E, and various minerals. They also contain antioxidants. This can make them a very healthy choice for most canines. Sadly, they must be cooked before consumption. Cooking can affect how much nutritional benefit dogs gain from eating them.

That being said, the nutrient content of mushrooms is thought to have a positive influence on many aspects of your dog’s health. This includes the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system. The fact that many mushrooms, especially Japanese and Chinese varieties like shiitake, maitake, and reishi, are used in traditional medicine and healing is again an example for the potential benefits of mushrooms.

Why Are Mushrooms Bad for Dogs?

There are a few dangers posed by dogs eating mushrooms. Feeding or allowing your dog to eat mushrooms that are not identified as edible for humans risks causing vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, kidney damage, or even seizures and death. If your dog has eaten an unidentified wild mushroom or garden mushroom, contact your veterinarian right away. Treatment is likely to be required, and time is of the essence.

Raw Mushrooms

Human Hands Holding Edible Mushrooms
Mushrooms should always be cooked before allowing your canine to consume them.

If your dog eats raw mushrooms, they are hard for their digestive system to break down. Vomiting and diarrhea are possible symptoms of this. Half a dropped button mushroom is unlikely to cause a problem. But for a small dog, they may still get a stomach upset. If your dog eats raw, store-bought mushrooms, don’t panic. It’s usually safe to monitor them for symptoms and call your vet for advice if they develop.

Traces of Pesticides and Herbicides

Dirty Mushrooms on a Table
Washing mushrooms is always a good idea to remove any dirt or chemicals.

The outer surface of a mushroom can be dirty, and may even be contaminated with traces of herbicidal or pesticide chemicals. Rinsing and wiping mushrooms before cooking them is essential both for human and dog consumption. You can also peel the mushrooms, but this is generally not thought to be necessary and it can remove some of the beneficial nutrients in the skin.

Other Things Cooked With the Mushrooms

Stuffed Portobellos
Ingredients that are often cooked along with mushrooms may pose some health risks.

Another risk associated with feeding your dog leftover food containing cooked mushrooms does not come from the mushroom itself but the additional ingredients used in the recipe.

Garlic and onions regularly feature in recipes containing mushrooms. Both of these ingredients are poisonous to dogs, causing damage to red blood cells and making your pup anemic.

Oils and other fats can be used to cook the mushrooms themselves. This high-fat content could cause an upset tummy, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis. So, it’s always sensible to feed mushroom to your dog plain, or if part of a recipe, make sure you are aware of the ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can my dog eat raw mushrooms? 

    No. You shouldn't feed your pup raw mushrooms. Raw mushrooms are not very easy for them to digest and are therefore likely to cause a tummy upset. If Fido has eaten raw mushrooms you should prevent them from eating more and monitor them carefully for symptoms. You may need to ask your vet for some symptomatic relief if they develop vomiting and diarrhea as a result of eating mushrooms.

  • How much mushroom is toxic to dogs? 

    The toxic level of mushrooms depends very much on what type of mushroom your dog eats. Store-bought mushrooms, which are edible for humans, are not toxic to dogs and will cause no harm as long as they are washed, cooked, and fed in small amounts. Unidentified mushrooms, or mushrooms that are known to be poisonous carry a large risk if eaten, so veterinary attention should be sought if any are consumed

  • Can mushrooms make dogs sick? 

    Mushrooms can make your dog sick if they are unwashed, uncooked, or poisonous. Unwashed mushrooms may contain traces of chemicals like pesticides or herbicides, and uncooked mushrooms are very hard for digestion. There is also a variety of poisonous mushrooms that will lead to sickness and diarrhea. If you are concerned that your pup may have sickness or other symptoms caused by mushrooms, contact your veterinary clinic urgently.

  • What are the symptoms of mushroom poisoning in dogs?

    Mushroom poisoning in dogs can cause a variety of signs depending on the type of mushroom eaten. Some mushrooms will affect the brain or nervous system, others will affect the guts, liver, or kidneys. Even edible mushrooms can cause vomiting and diarrhea if they are unwashed, uncooked, or fed in large amounts.

  • Can dogs eat plain mushrooms? 

    Your dog should eat plain mushrooms, rather than as part of a recipe because mushrooms are often combined with onions, garlic, oils, spices, and other seasonings which can be harmful. However, don’t forget to cook them first to make sure they’re safe.

  • What if my dog eats too many?

    Even cooked mushrooms can cause gut upset if too many area consumed. The protein and fiber content can upset your dog’s digestive system and cause vomiting and diarrhea. If you choose to feed cooked mushrooms to your pup, don’t feed more than one to a small dog and a couple to a larger dog.

Final Thoughts

It’s understandable to want to involve your dog in mealtimes; they are part of the family, after all. It can be very tempting to share food when we are eating something ourselves, and our canine companion gives us ‘the look’. The important thing to remember is to do your research about what is and isn’t safe.

Mushrooms that are store-bought, and can be eaten by humans, are unlikely to cause any harm, though they might not like them too much! But too many mushrooms or feeding raw mushrooms will affect their digestion and may even lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

As always, when you’re feeding your dog a new item, you should feed a very small amount (a teaspoon or so) and monitor them for any side effects. Individual dogs may respond to new foods differently. If there are no symptoms within 48 hours, then it’s unlikely they are allergic to mushrooms.

You can then feed Fido a little more next time. Just remember that too many mushrooms can also cause stomach upset. Since mushrooms have little to no nutritional benefit once cooked, you might want to try something different. There are plenty of other fruits or vegetables you can feed your pup that may be a better option.

Never feed your dog mushrooms that are unidentified or that you wouldn’t feel safe to consume yourself. Always watch them closely when out on a walk to make sure they don’t help themselves to any wild mushrooms, which can cause far more serious problems.

If you are unsure whether to feed a particular mushroom, or you don’t know how much would be appropriate, speak to your local veterinarian for advice.

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