Lion's mane is a medicinal mushroom known for its potential cognitive, immune-boosting, and digestive health benefits. When used for dogs, it may support brain health, improve memory and learning, prevent age-related cognitive decline, strengthen the immune system, and promote digestive health.
Lion's mane mushrooms can be incorporated into your dog's diet as powder, capsules, or treats. However, it's essential to consult a veterinarian before introducing lion's mane to ensure the appropriate dosage. Also, monitor for potential side effects, especially if your dog is new to Lions mane supplements.
In this article, we'll explore the top benefits of Lion's Mane for your pets, from improved cognitive function to reduced inflammation and more. So sit, stay, and read on to learn how this powerful mushroom can benefit your furry friend.
What is Lion's Mane Mushroom?
Description and Origin
Lion's mane mushrooms, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, are unique medicinal mushrooms used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. These mushrooms are characterized by their white, fuzzy appearance, resembling a lion's mane, and are sometimes called the monkey head mushroom. They grow on hardwood trees in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Interesting Read: Learn about Lion's mane look-alikes.
Traditional Uses in Human Medicine
In human medicine, lion's mane mushrooms have been valued for their potential to support the nervous system, stimulate nerve growth, and improve cognitive functions. As a result, they have been used to address a variety of cognitive disorders and age-related issues, particularly in senior populations. The whole fruiting bodies of these mushrooms contain bioactive compounds, such as hericenones and erinacines, which have been linked to these beneficial effects.
Increasing Popularity in Pet Health
As the benefits of medicinal mushrooms become more widely recognized, their use in pet health has grown in popularity. For example, lions mane mushrooms are now being utilized to support senior dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction, a condition similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans. By incorporating lion's mane powder or other mushroom supplements into a dog's diet, pet owners are looking to improve their pet's health and quality of life.
Research supports that these mushrooms may help alleviate symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction and other cognitive disorders in senior dogs. As a result, many pet owners are turning to mushroom supplement options, such as lions mane powder and capsules, to provide their senior dog with natural and effective support.
Nutritional Components of Lion's Mane
Lion's mane mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, known for their immune-boosting properties. These compounds can help maintain a healthy immune system in dogs like other immunity-boosting mushrooms—for example, turkey tail mushrooms.
These mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, a type of fiber that plays a role in fat metabolism and maintaining consistent weight in dogs. In addition, beta-glucans have been shown to support wound healing and overall immune system health.
Hericenones and Erinacines
Hericenones and erinacines are unique bioactive compounds in lion's mane mushrooms. These compounds have been associated with promoting nerve growth and improving cognitive function, making them particularly beneficial for dogs suffering from cognitive disorders.
Vitamins and Minerals
Lion's mane mushrooms contain an array of essential vitamins and minerals.Lion's mane mushrooms contain crucial vitamins such as B-complex (B1, B2, B5, and B6), which play vital roles in energy metabolism, brain function, and cellular health.
Additionally, the lion's mane is a good source of minerals like zinc, iron, selenium, and potassium, which support various bodily functions, including immune system regulation, oxygen transport, and electrolyte balance.
When given in raw form or as a mushroom powder, dog lion's mane can be a valuable addition to dog food for promoting overall health and wellness.
Interesting Read: See all the nutritional benefits of Lion's Mane.
7 Benefits Of Lions Mane Mushrooms For Dogs
1. Improves Brain Health
Lion's mane contains erinacines and hericenones, which cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the brain's nerve growth factors (NGF) production through neurogenesis.
NGF promotes the growth and repair of brain cells, which can improve dogs' cognitive function, ensuring healthy brain function. In particular, Lion's Mane enhances memory and overall brain function, making it a promising supplement for dogs with cognitive decline or those who need a mental boost.
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2. Neuroprotective Benefits
Some common neurodegenerative conditions affecting dogs include cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) or doggie Alzheimer's, similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans, and degenerative myelopathy (DM), which affects the spinal cord.
Lion's mane has neuroprotective effects on dogs, especially those with neurodegenerative conditions. As noted earlier, the fungus has bioactive ingredients that improve the brain and nervous system and enhance normal nerve function by stimulating the production of the nerve growth factor.
Studies have shown(1) that Lion's Mane can fight Alzheimer's disease and dementia in humans, suggesting it can improve cognitive function and alleviate symptoms of cognitive dysfunction syndrome in dogs. The erinacines and hericenones in Lion's Mane promote the growth and repair of brain cells, neurons, and nerves. This can help slow the progression of cognitive dysfunction syndrome and improve memory and overall brain function in affected dogs.
Similarly, Lion's Mane may have therapeutic effects on dogs with degenerative myelopathy. This condition is characterized by progressive spinal cord degeneration, leading to hind limb weakness and paralysis. Studies have shown that(2) Lion's Mane can improve the regrowth of nerve fibers, which could delay the progression of degenerative myelopathy in dogs.
3. Improves Gut Health
Inflammation, bacterial infections, and other underlying problems can cause dog gut health issues. Fortunately, the traditional Chinese medicine, Lion's Mane, may promote a healthy gut microbiome in dogs. In addition, this mushroom may also improve the dog's digestive health.
Recent clinical studies have shown that Lion's Mane has impressive benefits for gastrointestinal issues. For example, in a 2013 study(3), Lion's Mane extract promoted ulcer protection and prevented gastric mucosal injury by preventing the depletion of antioxidant enzymes in rats.
In addition, a study conducted in 2021(4) showed that the mushroom reduced oxidative damage in blood and tissue, positively affecting colitis in animals. Furthermore, Lion's Mane has demonstrated potent antioxidant activity in vitro, making it a promising supplement for preventing hepatic diseases in dogs.
Some of the bioactive ingredients in Lion's mane products, for example, beta-glucans and polysaccharides, feed the gut bacteria. This further boosts your dog's gut health.
Read More: See the best mushrooms for gut health.
4. Anti-Cancer Benefits
Studies have shown(5) Lion's mane mushroom has anti-cancer benefits, including reducing tumor size and weight and preventing cancer cell spread. Moreover, Lion's mane is known to enhance healthy immune system function. So when you include the organic mushroom extract in your dog's diet, it can boost immune health, which can help the dog fight cancer cells.
A new chemical called cerebroside(6), isolated from the fruiting bodies of Hericium Erinaceus, has exhibited significant inhibitory effects on the proliferation of blood vessels that supply tumor cells. Therefore, Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms could potentially starve cancer cells of the nutrients they need to survive and grow, making it a powerful natural weapon against cancer in dogs.
Read More: See how Lion's mane fights cancer.
5. Improves Heart Health
Most cardiovascular health issues in dogs result from high cholesterol levels. However, Lion's Mane can support heart health by lowering cholesterol levels(7) and improving your dog's metabolism. This results in a reduced risk of heart disease.
Likewise, it can prevent fat oxidation(8) and inhibit the formation of blood clots. Both these conditions are implicated in heart attacks that your pooches may get. As an added benefit, Lion's mane fights high blood pressure, a leading precursor for heart disease.
6. Fights Diabetes In Dogs
Lions mane mushroom helps dogs maintain healthy blood sugar levels. What's more, by improving the dog's gut health, lowering the number of calories the dog consumes daily, and speeding up the dog's metabolism, the mushroom controls the dog's weight, keeping it at an ideal level.
One research study(9) showed that obesity is a precursor for diabetes. Therefore, by helping your dog with body weight management, Lion's Mane further reduces the dog's risk of diabetes.
7. Fights Anxiety and Stress in Dogs
Research has proven that(10) Lion's mane mushrooms may help reduce anxiety and stress. With their unique combination of bioactive compounds and nutritional components, lion's mane can help alleviate stress-related symptoms and promote overall emotional well-being in pets.
The hericenones and erinacines found in lion's mane mushrooms are believed to promote nerve growth and enhance the function of neurotransmitters, which play a critical role in regulating mood and stress response.
In addition to its direct neurological effects, lion's mane can reduce stress by enhancing overall immune system function and gut health. A robust immune system and a well-balanced gut microbiome are crucial for optimal emotional health, as they help to regulate the production of neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for mood regulation.
How to Incorporate Lion's Mane into Your Dog's Diet
Use an Appropriate Dosage
The ideal Lion's Mane dosage for dogs depends on various factors such as their weight, overall health, and the reason for taking it. It's always best to consult a veterinarian before giving your furry friend any new supplement or medication. Your vet will be in a much better position to give advice based on the correct details and information about your dog.
As a general rule of thumb, the recommended dosage for dogs is about 1/4 to 1/2 of the human dosage based on the dog's weight. For instance, if the human dosage is 500mg, a 50lb dog should take about 125-250mg of Lion's Mane.
It's important to note that some Lion's Mane supplements are more concentrated than others, and their potency may vary. Always check the label and follow the manufacturer's instructions on dosage and administration.
Use an Ideal Form of Lion's Mane
An organic mushroom extract as a certified organic powder can be easily mixed into your dog's food. This option allows for flexible dosing and is often well-tolerated by dogs, even those with sensitive stomachs.
Capsules containing lion's mane are another convenient option for supplementing your dog's diet. These can be given directly or opened and mixed into dogs' food for easy consumption.
For a more enjoyable experience, consider incorporating lion's mane into your dog's diet through specially-formulated treats. These treats may contain other ingredients that promote cardiovascular health and overall well-being, further enhancing the benefits of lion's mane for your pet.
Tips for Introducing Lion's Mane to Your Dog's Meals
When introducing lion's mane to your dog's diet, it's essential to start slow and monitor for any adverse reactions.Begin with a smaller dose and gradually increase it over time, as your veterinarian advises.
If your dog shows signs of discomfort or sensitivity, try administering the dose separately from their regular meals or explore different forms of the organic mushroom extract.
FAQs About Lion's Mane For Dogs
What Are The Negative Effects Of Lion's Mane?
Lion's Mane mushroom is generally safe for dogs when administered correctly and in the recommended dosage. However, in rare cases, dogs may experience mild side effects such as digestive issues, including diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
Additionally, if your dog is allergic to mushrooms, it may experience an allergic reaction to Lion's Mane. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, redness, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
It's essential to note that Lion's Mane may interact with certain medications, such as blood-thinning drugs. Therefore, consult a veterinarian before giving your dog any new supplement or medication.
How Long Does It Take For Lion's Mane Mushrooms To Work?
The time it takes for Lion's Mane to work for dogs can vary depending on various factors such as the dog's age, overall health, and the reason for taking it. In some cases, you may see immediate results; in others, it may take several weeks or months to notice any changes. Generally, Lion's Mane works best when taken consistently over a more extended period.
For instance, if you're giving your dog Lion's Mane to improve cognitive function, you may start seeing positive effects within a few weeks to a few months of consistent use. On the other hand, if you're using it to improve gut health or as an immune booster, it may take several weeks before you notice any significant changes.
Which Form Of Lion's Mane Mushroom Is Best?
Several forms of Lion's Mane are available, including dried mushrooms, tinctures, powders, and capsules. The best form of Lion's Mane for your dog may depend on various factors such as their preference, the condition being treated, and ease of administration.
Dried Lion's Mane mushrooms are popular and can be added to your dog's food or brewed into tea. This form is ideal if you're looking for a natural, minimally processed supplement.
Tinctures are another easy option to administer and can be added to your dog's food or water. This form of Lion's Mane is made by extracting the active compounds from the mushroom using alcohol or glycerin.
Powders and capsules are also popular and convenient options, especially for pet owners who prefer a standardized dosage. These forms are easy to administer and can be mixed into your dog's food or given directly.
Lion's mane mushrooms are a gift of nature, delivering maximum benefits for dogs. The mushroom can improve your dog's brain health, provide neuroprotection benefits, boost your dog's gut health, and boost immunity. The mushroom can also make it easier for your dog to fight infection, enhance your dog's lungs and liver function by fighting inflammation, lower the risk of diabetes, and improve heart health.
However, getting a high-quality product is vital in ensuring these benefits for your dog. Always go for Lion's mane products that do not contain fillers, are made using the fruiting body instead of the mycelium, and can easily mix with your dog's food. Be sure to talk to one or two vets to determine the best Lion's mane dosage for your dog—this will help you keep your pets from suffering from side effects.
Have you given Lion's mane to your dog before? Or have you used the functional mushroom yourself? Please let us know your experience with the mushroom in the comments.
- Prevention of Early Alzheimer's Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7283924/
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/
- Gastroprotective Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats, (3)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/492976/
- The effect of Hericium erinaceum on the prevention of chemically induced experimental colitis in rats, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009150/
- Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23735479/
- A new cerebroside from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus and its applicability to cancer treatment (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26547693/
- Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20622452/
- Inhibitory effect on in vitro LDL oxidation and HMG Co-A reductase activity of the liquid-liquid partitioned fractions of Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Persoon (lion's mane mushroom), (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24959591/
- Obesity as a Precursor of Diabetes, (9)https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/1/4/339/4726058?redirectedFrom=fulltext
- Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (10)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20834180/