Have you ever been walking through the woods with your dog and suddenly realized she’s enthusiastically eating a mushroom? Dogs love wild mushrooms, so this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. But if your first thought is panic, you’re not far off. Wild mushrooms can be highly toxic and even fatal to dogs and humans. Here’s the fungus 411 you need to keep your dog safe.
Are There Safe Mushrooms?
You’re probably aware that there are safe wild mushrooms that both dogs and humans can ingest—that’s why people take to the wood every year to forage these delicacies. However, the mushrooms that are toxic tend to be highly dangerous. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there aren’t old, bold mushroom hunters.” That saying illustrates how risky it can be to eat mushrooms you aren’t entirely sure are safe.
Unfortunately, many mushrooms have a tantalizing smell that tricks your dog into thinking they’ll be a delicious snack. If you think your dog will be smart enough to identify a toxic mushroom by scent, think again: some of the most dangerous even give off an enticing fishy smell your dog won’t be able to resist.
Keeping Your Dog Safe From Mushrooms
With all of this in mind, how can you keep your dog safe? First, it’s important to stop your dog from eating wild mushrooms by keeping them close by when you’re walking or hiking in the woods.
Second, take any mushroom ingestion seriously. Even if you think you can identify the mushroom you believe your dog ate as safe, an immediate rush to the vet is in order. There are mushrooms, such as “false morels,” that routinely trick even experienced mushroom foragers. Call your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog has swallowed any part of a wild mushroom. Take a sample of the mushroom, wrapped carefully in plastic or paper to avoid any injury, to show your vet.
Symptoms and Treatment
If your dog has swallowed a toxic mushroom, his or her symptoms will be dependent on what kind of mushroom they ingested. In general, you should watch for signs of toxic shock such as staggering, respiratory issues, vomiting, diarrhea, and signs of discomfort. Call your vet if your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms.
- Staggering gait
- Weakness and lethargy
- Abdominal pain
Left untreated, toxic mushroom ingestion could lead to a painful death for your dog.
If you’re able to get your dog to the veterinarian in time, your vet will take appropriate measures to save your pet. They may pump your dog’s stomach or induce vomiting if the mushroom was recently ingested. They may administer medication or fluids to counteract the effects of the toxins. They’ll likely monitor your dog for a period.
What About at Home?
Now that we’ve firmly established that wild mushrooms are a no-go, you may still be wondering, what about plain mushrooms from the grocery store? Although these shouldn’t be harmful to your dog, they’re not a necessary part of a canine diet, and since we often cook them smothered in oils and garlic, it’s better to avoid even store-bought mushrooms for your dog. Instead, offer them a dog treat or an apple while you’re cooking dinner. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Still, have questions about your dog’s nutrition? Contact us for more assistance.