In recent years, mushrooms have made their way into different products and meals. Due to extensive research on their health benefits, they have become very popular among humans. They can now be found in everything from coffee to tea to chocolate, and it's anticipated that their popularity will only grow.
It only makes sense that you are considering including mushrooms for dog in your pet's diet. Moreover, you might notice mushrooms appearing more frequently in the treats or supplements your dog takes.
Even though it seems straightforward, the answer to the question," is mushrooms good for dogs?" can be pretty complex.
Some mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat, just like for people, while others can be toxic. Mushrooms are a diverse and large group, and while some are remarkably tasty and healthy, others are incredibly poisonous. Understanding which is the good one is essential. Therefore, the answer is entirely dependent on the type of mushroom.
Medicinal mushrooms are your best bet for natural healing for your pooches. Some of the best medicinal mushrooms for dogs' health are Reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, Turkey Tail, and Cordyceps.
Various studies have explored these mushrooms for their anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, adaptogenic, and immunomodulatory benefits. Additionally, they are known to protect the health of your pet's kidneys, liver, and brain.
So, let's look at the medicinal mushrooms good for dogs, how they can be given, and the research that backs our claims about dog mushrooms benefits!
Medicinal Mushrooms And Dogs: What Are The Best Mushrooms For Dogs?
When choosing the best medicinal mushroom product for your dog, there are so many options available that it can be overwhelming and confusing. So, we looked into the advantages of some of the best medicinal mushrooms to see if they are worth including in your dog's diet.
Reishi Helps Protect Against Cancer
Ganoderma lucidum, or Reishi, is a powerful functional fungus with numerous benefits for your dogs. The mushroom contains several beneficial bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and peptidoglycan, that support your pooch's health.
Reishi has been shown to have antitumor properties in numerous scientific studies. Cancer is the most common reason behind a dog's death, with 1 out of 4 pups developing cancers at some point.
Reishi mushrooms could help your dog’s tumors become smaller and lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. Additionally, the fungal extract decreases the blood flow to cancer cells, threatening their ability to survive. The mushroom's two major compounds, triterpenes and polysaccharides, are thought to be the reason behind Reishi's anti-cancer benefits.
Triterpenes have been thoroughly studied and have been found to be effective against various animal cancer types, most notably prostate cancer and skin cancer, one of the most common cancers in dogs. In addition, the polysaccharides, the second prominent Reishi compound, have also demonstrated efficacy in treating tumors.
Ganoderma also helps strengthen the immune system, increasing the body's ability to fight cancer cells.
Numerous studies have demonstrated how Reishi regulates the body's immune system(1). It either strengthens an immune system that has been compromised (as in cancers) or downplays s an overactive one.
Reishi mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans(2), the soluble immune-supporting fibers which are part of the fungal cell wall. They are a well-known biological response moderator that can amplify the activity of cancer-fighting immune cells like neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer (NK) cells.
Chaga Is A Powerhouse Of Antioxidants
Oxidative stress is one of the most significant dangers to a dog's health. This happens when too many free radicals are produced for the body's natural antioxidant system to handle.
Because it contains the enzyme superoxide dismutase, Chaga or Inonotus obliquus stands out as a potent antioxidant(3). Even more, Chaga has the highest antioxidant levels among all the foods and is also a reason behind its soaring popularity.
By battling free radicals, the harmful substances that contribute to oxidative stress, Chaga can slow down the aging process. No matter how careful we are, our pets come into contact with toxic substances daily. Chaga can aid in the fight against them, protecting dogs' cells and tissues from harm. In particular, after infections, the high antioxidant content of Chaga can help your dog regain its glossy coat.
Lion's Mane For Nerve And Brain Function
The aging process impacts your dog's brain just like it does the rest of its body. As a result, your dog's behavior and alertness may change due to age-related brain cell damage, and dementia and cognitive dysfunction may develop.
Given that this mushroom is also referred to as nature's nutrient for the neuron, Lion's mane or Hericium erinaceus is one of our top picks for the best medicinal mushrooms for dogs. Lion's mane is revered for enhancing nerve and brain health. Hericenones and erinacines, two significant neurotrophic substances that can promote the growth of nervous system tissues, including neurons, are present in Lion’s mane mushrooms. These substances can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, assisting in the stimulation of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)(4) production, which is crucial for the healthy development, growth, and maintenance of neurons.
Dogs are frequently affected by degenerative myelopathy, a disease similar to multiple sclerosis. It worsens over time, and dogs lose their ability to move and eventually become paralyzed.
Your dog's immune system attacks the protective outer myelin sheath and destroys it. This causes loss of motor control and progressive nerve tissue damage. Lion’s mane aids the process of myelin formation. Extracts from the mushroom fruiting body have demonstrated promise in treating degenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis. In a study(5), Lion's mane extract facilitated myelination in vitro.
Turkey Tail Helps Manage Weight
There is a global problem with being overweight, one that extends beyond people. Some studies estimate(6) that up to 60% of pet dogs are significantly obese or overweight, which carries several risks for your pup.
Numerous health issues, such as chronic kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, joint problems, and low thyroid hormone production, are associated with obesity. In addition, your dogs' lifespans can be cut by a startling two years if they are moderately overweight!
Trametes versicolor or Turkey tail mushrooms' high fiber content helps control your dog's weight. According to an animal study(7), the protein-bound beta-glucans are known to lessen metabolic inflammation and obesity.
Turkey tail mushrooms are also probiotics suitable for your dogs' digestive health. Probiotics support the gut microbiome by nourishing the beneficial bacteria there. Foods rich in probiotics have been shown to help people lose weight and belly fat.
Turkey tail mushroom soluble fiber ferments in the gastrointestinal tract. This removes toxins, which boosts your dog's vitality and energy. Turkey tail mushrooms can encourage healthy weight loss in dogs when given as a small snack.
Cordyceps Increases Energy
Dogs are a bundle of energy. Many enjoy staying busy, chasing people and animals around. So, if your dog is slowing down, refusing to play like before, or acting tired, chances are they require an energy boost.
According to research, medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps may aid in cellular energy resynthesis. The Cordyceps energy support is what first brought the fungus to public attention many years ago.
Even now, Cordyceps mushrooms remain a favorite among athletes because they help them overcome their weaknesses and improve their performance. In addition, the fungus is a tonic for physical endurance and stamina, making it a perfect medicinal mushroom for dogs!
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy-carrying molecule in the cells, is made more available in the body by Cordyceps. Additionally, it is critical in providing the muscles with oxygen, which they use to generate energy.
Studies on animals have demonstrated that Cordyceps extract increases liver energy metabolism. Using this mushroom has also been linked to the body's ability to use oxygen more effectively.
So, what does this mean for your pup? They can play all they want (and chase anyone they want) without tiring out quickly.
How To Give Mushrooms To Dogs?
Mushrooms from a grocery store or other store, preferably organic, unseasoned, and raw, are safe for dogs to eat. However, you should never let your dogs eat any wild mushrooms.
Some people think that dogs won't eat poisonous mushrooms because they can smell toxins. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth in this case. According to veterinarians and mushroom experts, wild mushroom poisoning is thought to be a lesser-known cause of fatal poisoning in pets.
The next question on most dog parents' minds is, "can I give cooked mushrooms to my pup"? Plain-cooked mushrooms are a preferred choice for your pets. This is because when we prepare mushrooms, we frequently fry them or add numerous other ingredients, such as butter and garlic.
Fried food contains extra fat and oil, which is unhealthy for humans and animals and linked to conditions like acute pancreatitis. We frequently add additional ingredients like garlic, salt, and pepper every time we cook mushrooms.
Many of these everyday ingredients, especially chives and garlic, should be avoided by your dog, as plants in the onion family, like garlic, chives, and others, are poisonous to dogs. In addition, high salt intake can dehydrate some dogs and upset their stomachs.
Do mushrooms cause diarrhea?
Some wild mushrooms can cause digestive irritation in dogs. Diarrhea is a sign of mild mushroom poisoning that can often go undiagnosed. Medicinal mushrooms, however, are generally safe, with infrequent side effects.
How do I prepare mushrooms for my dog?
Raw mushrooms are difficult for your dogs to digest. So instead, Cook mushrooms thoroughly, without onions or high levels of salt. The easier way to feed mushrooms to your dogs is by adding the medicinal mushroom powder to their food.
Which mushroom is best for dogs?
Some of the best medicinal mushrooms for dogs are Reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, Turkey Tail, and Cordyceps. Several studies have proven these mushrooms to benefit a dog's health.
Yes, mushrooms are low calories, cholesterol, and fat-free snack options for your dogs. But rather than stirring up a meal loaded with onions and salt (which are unhealthy for your pooches), the best mushroom for dogs are supplements containing medicinal mushrooms!
Reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, Turkey Tail, and Cordyceps are the best mushrooms for your dog's health. Scoop the powder in their food or give them as a light snack; these mushrooms' health benefits are endless.
- Randomized Clinical Trial for the Evaluation of Immune Modulation by Yogurt Enriched with β-Glucans from Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), in Children from Medellin, Colombia, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30317947/
- The Effect of Mushroom Beta-Glucans from Solid Culture of Ganoderma lucidum on Inhibition of the Primary Tumor Metastasis, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995106/
- Medicinal Plants of the Russian Pharmacopoeia; their history and applications, (3)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874114002827
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/
- The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12675022/
- Obesity in dogs - A review of underlying reasons, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34425607/
- Protein-Bound β-glucan from Coriolus Versicolor has Potential for Use Against Obesity, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30667154/