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Reishi Mushroom For Dogs: Top Benefits And Dosage For Your Dog
Oct 27, 22
Tags: Reishi
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Reishi Mushroom For Dogs: Top Benefits And Dosage For Your Dog

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    A rising star in the holistic health field, Dr. Sony Sherpa has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Although she started writing on Nature’s Rise one year ago, her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine.

  • |
  • 22 min read

A scoop of dry kibble is not enough for a healthy and nutritious diet for your dogs. Your pups would benefit from daily supplements to support their general health. But choosing the right supplement for your pet can be challenging with so many options on the market. 

If you are in a situation like this, you might want to consider functional mushrooms. Reishi mushroom is one functional fungus that stands out for its numerous health benefits. 

The fungus is considered the mushroom of immortality. Reishi for dogs may help extend their lives as the fungus is specifically beneficial in dogs with cancer.

Let's look at the benefits of Reishi mushrooms for dogs, the scientific evidence, and the suitable Reishi mushroom dogs' dosage.

Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Dogs

Reishi or Ganoderma Lucidum is a powerful medicinal mushroom popular for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. Triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans are just a few of the natural substances in Reishi that have been shown to support the immune system, promoting overall immune health in humans and animals.

The mushroom also promotes a healthy inflammatory response in addition to having potent antioxidant properties. Additionally, by improving energy levels, Reishi mushroom helps the body better fend off illness.

Read More: See how cordyceps mushroom boosts energy levels

Reishi mushrooms for dogs can help keep your canine companion healthy, and here's how:

1. Anti-Cancer Support

Anti-Cancer Support

Cancer is the leading cause of death in a dog. However, numerous scientific studies(1) have shown reishi mushrooms' antitumor effects(2). The antitumor effects result from the mushroom's two key ingredients, triterpenes and polysaccharides.

Read More: See how Reishi mushrooms fight cancer.

Triterpenes have undergone extensive research and are effective against various animal cancer types, most notably prostate cancer and skin cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers in dogs. The second notable Reishi compound, the polysaccharides, has also been effective in treating tumors. 

Also, do not forget that reishi mushrooms boost your dog's immune system—the medicinal mushrooms strengthen the body's disease-fighting mechanisms, increasing its ability to fight abnormal growing cells that often turn into cancer. 

Moreover, Reishi mushrooms may help shrink tumor size and reduce chemotherapy-related side effects in your dogs. The fungal extract also reduces the blood supply to cancer cells, compromising their survival. 

Using Reishi mushroom while your dog is undergoing chemotherapy treatment has facilitated faster healing. Moreover, this functional mushroom prevents secondary cancers in dogs and humans. 

Read More: See how cordyceps mushroom treats cancer

2. Strength The Immune System

Many research studies into Reishi have proven that it regulates the immune system(3). It either improves a compromised immune system or controls an overactive immune system (which occurs with autoimmune diseases). 

By feeding your dog reishi mushroom regularly, you will be helping it build a healthy immune system. This is because Reishi mushrooms are rich in immune-supportive beta-glucans(4)

These soluble fibers in the fungal cell wall are a known biological response modifier that can stimulate immune cells like macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer (NK) cells. Reishi also contains the Ling-Zhi-8 Protein, which suppresses the immune response in cells.

Another condition that is strongly linked to a weakened immune system is allergies. Dog reishi mushrooms contain ganoderic acid, a triterpene that inhibits the release of allergy-causing chemicals called histamines.

Reishi's ability to modulate the immune system can be beneficial because allergic reactions and allergy symptoms result from an improper immune response. Reishi mushroom extract has potent anti-inflammatory(5) and antioxidant properties. These can lessen allergy symptoms like scratchy skin and breathing problems in your dogs.

Read More: See how Reishi fights allergies

3. Protects The Kidney And Liver

A healthy liver is crucial for your dog's long life span. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to give foods or supplements, like Reishi, that support the liver's ability to function.

According to studies conducted on animals(6), Reishi mushroom extract has a potent protective effect on the liver. Likewise, it has also shown that the mushroom extract safeguarded the liver from damage by carbon tetrachloride.

Previous research studies have analyzed the hepatic markers for liver damage (aspartate and alanine transaminases). Even after hepatotoxic substance administration, the biochemical markers were normal.

The protective effect of Reishi mushrooms on chemically induced hepatic injuries has also been shown in numerous other studies(7). These studies suggest that when you combine reishi mushrooms with your dog's diet, you will allow your furry friend to enjoy healthy liver and kidneys for life. 

Read More: See how cordyceps improves kidney health

4. Helps Control Diabetes

Research shows Reishi mushrooms can help manage diabetes in dogs by lowering and regulating blood sugar levels.

A significant hypoglycemic effect was seen in animals with diabetes(8) who had been given the mushroom. Reishi lowered up to 50% of blood sugar levels, and the hypoglycemic effect persisted for 24 hours.

Increased plasma insulin levels were also noted, a crucial hormone in lowering blood sugar. Therefore, if your dog has diabetes, using dietary supplements containing reishi mushroom products could improve the dog's overall health by managing blood sugar levels. 

It is also worth noting that diabetes tends to lower the immune system's capabilities. For this reason, using Reishi mushroom to manage diabetes in your dogs can give your pet much-needed immune system support. 

Read More: Learn more about Reishi's diabetes benefits

5. Delay Aging

Reishi can reduce aging symptoms and delay the aging process. The fungi's anti-aging properties are why this mushroom got the name "mushroom of immortality name." Research has shown that this mushroom exerts its anti-aging effects mainly through anti-oxidation and immunomodulation.

The antioxidant benefits of Reishi are attributed to polysaccharides and triterpenoids. In addition, polysaccharides of Reishi mushrooms(9) have been shown to mimic the function of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that breaks down oxygen-derived free radicals that contribute to aging.

6. Heart Health Friendly

The health of your dog's heart can benefit significantly from Reishi mushrooms. As a vasodilator, the fungus widens blood vessels to promote circulation and lower blood pressure(10)

Additionally, Reishi can reduce platelet aggregation(11) in the blood vessels, which is a significant cause of heart attacks in many dogs. Leveraging the benefits of reishi mushrooms on the heart boosts your dog's cardiovascular health. 

7. Reishi Fights Cognitive Decline in Dogs

Reishi Fights Cognitive Decline in Dogs

Humans and dogs share many things. Interestingly, one thing we share with our furry friends is the tendency to suffer from dementia as we age. Luckily, adding supplements containing Ling Zhi (Reishi Mushroom) to your dog's diet can help lower the risk of dementia. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights dementia

Researchers conducted a study in 2017(12) to analyze the impact of the Reishi mushroom on cognitive health in a mouse model. In the research study, the scientists discovered that oral administration of reishi mushroom extracts aided mice's self-renewal of neuronal progenitor cells. 

In transgenic AD mice, neural progenitor cell (NPC) proliferation improved neurogenesis and alleviated cognitive deficits. The researchers noted that their findings suggested that Reishi mushroom extracts could be a regenerative therapeutic agent for treating cognitive decline resulting from neurodegenerative diseases.

Another research article published in 2013(13) confirmed reishi mushroom improves cognitive functionalities when incorporated into the diet of aging individuals. This suggests that incorporating Reishi in aging pets could promote their mental health. 

Read More: See the best mushrooms for boosting brain health

Another research study conducted in 2019 analyzed the effects of the Reishi mushroom on memory and learning. This study evaluated the nootropic activity after oral administration of two different reishi doses (150 and 300mg/kg) of ethanol extract. The researchers used Scopolamine (0.4mg/kg) and Physostigmine (0.1mg/kg) as negative and positive controls, respectively. The scientists also used distilled water as a control. 

The researchers used a Morris water maze and an Elevated plus maze to assess the learning process. In the elevated plus maze, researchers analyzed the initial transfer latency and retention transfer latency. On the other hand, researchers evaluated the TSTQ (time spent in target quadrant) and transferred latency in the Morris water maze. The researchers used an open-field test to assess locomotor activity. Furthermore, researchers used Ellman's method to asses the biochemical estimation of acetylcholinesterase (AchE). 

According to the study's findings, Ganoderma Lucidum extract significantly increased time spent in the target quadrant (TSTQ) and decreased escape latency (EL) in the Morris water maze model. In contrast, the elevated plus maze model showed a reduction in Initial Transfer Latency (ITL) and Retention Transfer Latency (RTL). The researchers concluded that Ganoderma Lucidum has a physostigmine-like effect on brain acetylcholinesterase (AchE) activity, indicating the mushroom's ability to boost cognitive health.

These research studies suggest that the beta-glucans—and other compounds in reishi mushroom—can improve your dog's cognitive health. Ganoderma Lucidum can help your dog avoid dementia and Alzheimer's disease. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights Alzheimer's disease

8. Reishi Mushroom Fights Arthritis

While it is easy to assume that arthritis is not common in dogs, research proves otherwise. According to a research article written in 2013(14) and looking into the risk factors for canine arthritis, arthritis affects 20% of dogs over 1-year-old in North America. The research article notes that canine osteoarthritis is a major global issue for veterinarians, owners, and breeders. This is easy to see, considering that every 1 in 5 dogs a veterinarian deals with has inflammation that causes arthritis infection. 

Luckily, in addition to the several different diseases we have mentioned above, Reishi mushroom also fights arthritis in dogs. A series of research studies have confirmed the Reishi arthritis benefits. Research information shows that the antioxidants in the reishi mushroom extract or product fight inflammation, lowering the risk of developing arthritis. 

One research study(15) analyzed the effectiveness of the Reishi mushroom in fighting arthritis in patients. In the research study, 32 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were assigned to a combination of reishi mushrooms and San Miao San (another traditional Chinese medicine) for 24 weeks. The second group of 33 was assigned to placebo and was used as a control group. 

The test group used a reishi mushroom dosage of 4 grams daily and 2.4 grams of San Miao San daily. Eighty-nine percent of the study participants completed the 24-week study. 

Pain score and patient's global score improved significantly only in the group using reishi mushroom and San Miao San. In an ex vivo experiment, the percentage change of IL-18 was significantly lower in the group combining Reishi and San Miao San. 

The patients reported 22 episodes (14 in the placebo group and 8 in the reishi mushroom group) of mild adverse effects. The researchers concluded that Reishi mushrooms and San Miao San might have analgesic effects for patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and are generally safe and well tolerated.

Another research study conducted in 2016(16) analyzed the effects of reishi mushrooms on inflammation in treating lupus erythematosus. It is essential to point out that when lupus erythematosus affects the joints, the symptoms resemble arthritis, causing adverse effects like pain, stiffness, and swelling. 

In the test group for the research study, the researchers combined reishi mushrooms with San Miao San. The results showed that the combination of reishi mushroom and San Miao San reduced the plasma concentrations of inflammatory cytokines significantly. Moreover, reishi mushroom and San Miao San improved the clinical characteristics of the test mice suffering from joint pain, stiffness, and swelling because of lupus erythematosus. 

These research studies suggest that when pet owners use reishi mushrooms for dogs, they can increase their dog's ability to fight symptoms of arthritis. Moreover, the mushroom can also help the dogs avoid developing arthritis in their lifetime. 

Read More: See the best mushrooms for fighting inflammation and reducing the risk of arthritis

9. Reishi Mushroom Fights Obesity

In the United States, obesity is becoming a massive issue for human beings. However, the obesity problem also seems to be affecting pets too. Obesity in dogs comes with a wide range of health issues. To begin with, it increases the risk of type two diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights high blood pressure. 

Luckily, in addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that reishi mushrooms can help your furry friend lose weight. Moreover, the mushroom can even help your dog avoid gaining weight in the first place. Various research studies have confirmed the anti-obesity effects of Reishi mushrooms. 

Researchers conducted a research study in 2015(17) to analyze how reishi mushroom facilitates weight loss. In the research study, researchers determined that the Reishi mushroom is a fungus capable of reducing inflammation, body weight, and insulin resistance in test mice consuming a high-fat diet (HFD). The researchers noted that the mushroom facilitates weight loss by altering gut bacteria, replacing the bacteria associated with obesity with those that help with weight loss.

From this research study, it is easy to see that your dog may benefit from the weight loss benefits associated with reishi mushrooms. If your dog is not obese or overweight, feeding it reishi mushroom could lower the risk of the dog becoming overweight. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane mushroom facilitates weight loss.

Are There Dogs That Should Not Consume Reishi Mushrooms?

Are There Dogs That Should Not Consume Reishi Mushrooms?

While reishi mushrooms carry numerous benefits for dogs, it is worth noting that you must exercise caution to avoid causing side effects in your dogs. In addition to ensuring you are using an ideal dosage, feeding the mushroom to suitable dogs is vital. Below, we will look at some reasons you may want to avoid giving your dog Reishi mushrooms: 

Your Dog is Taking Anti-Diabetic Drugs

If your dog is taking anti-diabetic drugs, you must be extra careful when using reishi mushrooms. In most cases of dog diabetes, insulin is the recommended treatment. Your dog will most likely require twice-daily injections. Insulin is a cornerstone of treatment because it is widely regarded as the most effective option for dog diabetes. 

Insulin lowers blood sugar levels. Reishi mushroom has a similar effect on your dog's blood sugar levels. Therefore, combining insulin and reishi mushrooms could increase your dog's risk of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia could increase the risk of a coma and death if not handled quickly. 

Therefore, if you feed a diabetic dog reishi mushroom, ensure the dosage is well-balanced with the insulin dosage for maximum safety. Talk to your veterinarian for more guidance on how to go about using Reishi for diabetic dogs. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights diabetes

Your Dog is Taking Anticoagulants

Warfarin (trade names Coumadin, Jantoven, and Panwarfin) is an anticoagulant used to prevent abnormal clotting caused by conditions such as heart disease. It is typically used only in dogs because the benefits for cats and other species have yet to be established. If your dog is taking a medication like this, you might want to be extra careful when using reishi mushrooms with the dog. 

As noted earlier, reishi mushroom reduces platelet aggregation. This process, in turn, slows down blood clotting. For this reason, a combination of anticoagulants and reishi mushrooms could increase your dog's risk of extreme bleeding. 

Read More: Wondering if other mushrooms interact with pharmaceutical drugs? Learn about Lion's mane drug interactions

Dogs with Low Blood Pressure

While most of us are familiar with hypertension (high blood pressure), there is another side of the spectrum (low blood pressure, also known as hypotension). Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can be a chronic or temporary condition resulting from shock, weakness, lethargy, and fainting. For example, Working Border Collies and Siberian Huskies can have low blood pressure. 

Both the fruiting body and the mycelium of reishi mushrooms have been found to contain biologically active peptides (short amino acid chains) linked to a reduction in blood pressure. For this reason, feeding your hypotensive dog reishi mushroom could lower its blood pressure to dangerous levels. This can increase the risk of death. However, with the help of your veterinarian, you can constantly adjust the dosage to keep your dog safe. 

Read More: See how Chaga fights high blood pressure.

Pregnant Dogs

While reishi mushroom may benefit your pregnant dog, it is often recommended that you wait until the dog gives birth before feeding it the functional fungus. Also, you may want to go one step further and wait for the dog to finish breastfeeding before introducing reishi mushrooms into its diet. 

Reishi mushrooms have been known to increase the chance of bleeding. This could harm your dog during birth. 

Also, it is essential to note that the effects of Reishi on the fetus are not yet fully known. Therefore, it is impossible to tell whether reishi mushrooms affect fetal development.

Read More: Can pregnant women take Reishi?


Is Reishi Mushroom Safe For Dogs?

Reishi mushrooms are generally safe and have few reported side effects like nausea and insomnia. However, start at a low dose if you are unsure how your puppy will react to the mushroom. This will help avoid any digestive issues. Consult your vet before starting the mushroom supplement and for the right Reishi mushroom for dogs' dosage.

Can Dogs Have Reishi Medicinal Mushrooms?

Yes, Reishi mushrooms are good for improving dogs' health, especially those with cancers and allergies. Before giving your dogs reishi mushrooms, ensure they are not taking other medications that could interact with the bioactive compounds in Ganoderma Lucidum. Moreover, use the proper dosage relative to your dog's body size.

Can Mushroom Supplements Cause Diarrhea In Dogs?

Some dogs can be sensitive to mushrooms and may have diarrhea. However, this is very rare. Look for additional symptoms like vomiting, loss of appetite, and lethargy to ensure your dog does not have mushroom poisoning.

Are Mushroom Supplements Safe For Dogs?

Cultivated edible medicinal mushrooms that are safe for people should usually be safe for dogs when ingested in moderation. However, ensure that your dog is not allergic to mushrooms in general.

Final Thoughts

There are several benefits of giving Reishi mushroom for dogs. Reishi is an overall tonic that can protect your dogs from the most prevalent health concerns, from cancer treatment to allergies.

Reishi is an herb that can offer full-body benefits for your dog. Speak with your vet to determine your pup's most appropriate Reishi dosage.

Have you given your dog Reishi mushrooms? Have you taken Reishi yourself? What was the experience? Let us know in the comments section. 

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  1. Antitumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms, (1)
  2. Anti-Tumor Effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in Inflammatory Breast Cancer in In Vivo and In Vitro Models, (2)
  3. 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, (3)
  4. The Effect of Mushroom Beta-Glucans from Solid Culture of Ganoderma lucidum on Inhibition of the Primary Tumor Metastasis, (4)
  5. Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum, (5)
  6. Radical scavenger and antihepatotoxic activity of Ganoderma formosanum, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma neo-japonicum, (6)
  7. Chapter 9, Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), (7)
  8. Isolation and hypoglycemic activity of ganoderans A and B, glycans of Ganoderma lucidum fruit bodies, (8)
  9. Immunomodulation and anti-cancer activity of polysaccharide-protein complexes, (9)
  10. Hypotensive and neurometabolic effects of intragastric Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) administration in hypertensive ISIAH rat strain, (10)
  11. Differential effects of ganodermic acid S on the thromboxane A2-signaling pathways in human platelets, (11)
  12. Polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum Promote Cognitive Function and Neural Progenitor Proliferation in Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease, (12) 
  13. Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?, (13) 
  14. Risk Factors for Canine Osteoarthritis and Its Predisposing Arthropathies: A Systematic Review, (14) 
  15. Safety and efficacy of Ganoderma lucidum (lingzhi) and San Miao San supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot trial, (15) 
  16. Anti-inflammatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi) and San-Miao-San supplements in MRL/lpr mice for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, (16) 
  17. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota, (17)

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