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Dogs like to explore their environment and sometimes try to taste the mushrooms and other flora they find in their yard. If a pet parent notices their dog ate wild mushrooms, they need to act quickly. Some mushrooms are toxic to dogs.
Dog parents who know the signs of mushroom poisoning can immediately seek veterinary treatment if they think their dog ate mushrooms. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can usually be treated effectively when addressed quickly.
Just like humans, dogs can safely eat several species of mushrooms. Only 1% of mushrooms are highly toxic to pets. Non-toxic mushrooms can be deliberately added to a dog's diet for their medicinal benefits:
Providing essential nutrients dogs with weaker immune systems
Providing dietary fiber
Balancing cholesterol levels
Reducing blood pressure
Preventing fatty liver disease
Dogs can safely eat the following common mushrooms:
Cordyceps benefits dogs with kidney disease. Lion's mane helps with neurodegeneration, so it's good for older dogs, pets with degenerative myelopathy, and those with nerve-related disorders. Reishi mushrooms and others have antioxidant properties that enhance a dog's immune response, and portobello mushrooms provide dogs with minerals such as zinc, manganese, and phosphorus.
Wild or organic cooked mushrooms (that are safe for dogs) are often free of toxins and pesticides. However pesticides and other toxic metals and metalloids can contaminate mushrooms if used in agriculture, mining, or other activities in the areas where the mushrooms grow. Pet parents should carefully examine any mushrooms they plan to eat or give to their dogs.
Toxic mushrooms contain chemicals like amatoxins and muscarine that can be lethal to dogs. Mushroom toxins in some Clitocybe and Scleroderma species can be toxic.
For example, dogs should never be allowed to eat Clitocybe phylophilla (also known as Frosty Funnel) or Scleroderma albidum. Pet parents must be vigilant since these species grow in areas where edible mushrooms are abundant. If their dog ate mushrooms in the grass or from anywhere else outside, they could become ill.
Parents should remove mushrooms of the following genera from their yard:
Dogs sometimes eat toxic mushroom species because they have a scent or appearance that attracts them. For example, Amanita phalloides and Inocybe both have a fishy aroma and are toxic to dogs.
Mushrooms cause a wide variety of symptoms in dogs. Some mushrooms affect a pet's nervous system and are hallucinogenic. Since they distort a dog's perception of reality, they can cause an animal to injure themselves or others. Neurological signs of mushroom poisoning include:
If a dog barks at something that isn't there or aggressively attacks their parent, they might be hallucinating. The severity of a dog's symptoms depends on the quantity and type of mushroom ingested.
Dogs may have abdominal pain and fever after ingesting mushrooms. Their parents will notice that they shiver, pant, or have red, glassy eyes. Their ears and nose may also feel warm.
Pets sometimes try to hide when they're in pain, but their parents can learn to tell when their dog is experiencing discomfort.
Toxic mushroom ingestion can cause fatigue and muscle weakness in dogs. These mushrooms also affect the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat, abnormally rapid heartbeat, or death.
Some mushrooms cause other symptoms that make dogs dehydrated. This fluid loss will also make dogs weak and lethargic.
Mushrooms that contain gastrointestinal toxins often cause stomach upset, vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea. Dogs might start showing these symptoms within 15 minutes after ingesting mushrooms.
However, some pets don't start vomiting or show other symptoms until six hours or more after ingestion. By that time, a lot of damage would have already been done, so it's important to avoid delays and visit a veterinarian immediately.
If a dog eats a wild mushroom in their yard, their parents should immediately ask a veterinarian about treatment for mushroom poisoning. Pet parents should also get a sample of the fungus to help their veterinarian and a mushroom expert with mushroom identification. They should place the mushroom in waxed paper or a paper bag and avoid contact with bare skin. Pet parents can treat mushroom ingestion by providing their dog with basic first aid while on the way to the veterinarian.
Some mushrooms are nephrotoxic and can cause kidney failure. Pets with kidney failure must be treated quickly and aggressively. Unfortunately, a dog might not show symptoms of poisoning for up to a week after nibbling mushrooms that have this effect. Even if a dog seems to recover quickly from neurological signs such as seizures or has mild symptoms, a visit at a primary vet clinic can help pet parents assess their kidneys to ensure they are functioning properly.
Veterinarians must treat mushroom poisoning immediately to reduce toxicity in their patient's body. First, they'll induce vomiting. Pet parents should not induce vomiting at home. Veterinarians will also administer activated charcoal orally to neutralize stomach acids and bind toxins to treat mushroom poisoning. They'll treat some dogs as outpatients since they have mild symptoms, but others may need hospitalization for constant monitoring.
Veterinarians often give intravenous fluids to dogs when they're hospitalized. They'll sometimes give dogs glucose or stomach protectants. This type of rehydration therapy can be effective for mild cases, depending on the type of mushroom toxin ingested. It can help dogs regain their strength, with a recovery time of a few days, by flushing toxins out of their system.
In severe cases, veterinarians also utilize anti-seizure medicine, oxygen, and blood transfusions. If a dog enters a coma-like sleep after eating poisonous mushrooms a veterinarian will need to supervise their state actively. Due to the type of toxic, amount consumed, or timing in which they receive treatment if is unfortunate, but not all dogs will be able to survive toxic mushroom ingestion or emergency treatments. Preventing ingestion will be a pet parent's most assured way to keep their dogs safe.
If a dog eats a toxic mushroom, pet parents should contact a veterinarian immediately. Don't wait until the symptoms of mushroom poisoning become obvious. Parents with additional concerns about mushroom poisoning in dogs can speak to a Fuzzy veterinarian any time. Sign up to talk online with a veterinarian in seconds whenever needed.