We all want the best for our fur babies, including keeping them healthy.
You may consider adding different foods to their diets for improved nutrition or addressing a health need.
Or maybe you returned from the grocery store and unknowingly dropped some ingredients for your steak stir-fry dish on the ground that disappeared!
So, you may wonder, “Can dogs eat shiitake mushrooms?”
The Basics: Can Dogs Eat Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are the second most widely-cultivated mushroom in the world.
People have eaten them for hundreds of years for their medicinal effects, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.
Can dogs eat shiitake mushrooms raw?
The answer is yes!
Shiitake is a medium-sized mushroom with a tan or brown cap and has a delicate flavor and mild taste that your dog may enjoy.
The answer is that experts agree shiitake mushrooms are generally safe for dogs to eat in moderation.
This safety applies to most store-bought mushrooms you wash, cook, and serve to your pups plain.
You should not season the mushrooms or dress them in other potentially canine-harmful substances like fatty oils, garlic, onion, or spices for your pup’s safety.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Shiitake Mushrooms?
All store-bought mushrooms, including shiitake, are generally safe for raw consumption.
However, their tough cell walls make them difficult to digest and limit their nutrient value.
Additionally, raw mushrooms may contain small amounts of agaritine, a potential carcinogen broken down during the cooking process.
If dogs eat a raw mushroom or two from the grocery store they’ll probably be fine, but for practical and safety concerns, it’s best to cook them first.
Are Shiitake Mushrooms Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is yes, store-bought shiitake mushrooms are safe for dogs in moderate amounts, especially when cleaned and cooked first.
Shiitake mushrooms are not poisonous to dogs like many mushrooms found in the wild.
Beyond being safe, shiitake mushrooms offer many health and nutritional benefits that might make them an excellent choice to add to your dog’s food.
How Many Shiitake Mushrooms Should a Dog Eat?
Like most foods, shiitake mushrooms are best for dogs as part of a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats, and fiber.
It is not wise to let your dog eat massive quantities of shiitake or a meal that only consists of mushrooms.
Instead, try cutting up cooked and cleaned mushrooms and adding them to your dog’s food or giving them as a treat if your dog seems to enjoy them.
What Are the Health Benefits of Mushrooms for Dogs?
Mushrooms are bursting with nutrients and antioxidants that promote nutrition.
Mushrooms provide the following:
- Liver and kidney function support: Mushrooms have hepatoprotective properties that protect your liver from toxins stemming from their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also contain potassium, which helps lower blood pressure – a risk for kidney disease.
- Improved nutrition: Mushrooms are a rich, low-calorie, high-fiber source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low-sodium.
- Stabilized blood sugar and metabolism: Mushrooms contain fiber and protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar and maintain a healthy metabolism.
- Nutrients: Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin D, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and potassium.
Immune System Boost:
- As one of the few non-animal foods that contain Vitamin D, mushrooms are a fantastic immune system boost. Vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections, and reduce inflammation. Unlike humans, dogs do not synthesize much Vitamin D through sun exposure. Their diet is the primary source of Vitamin D, and mushrooms can help contribute.
- Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of interferon, a protein that induces an immune response against viruses and cancer. Mushrooms’ anti-inflammatory properties also contribute to immune health.
- Polysaccharopeptides (PSP) may help in fighting cancer and tumors.
- Beta-glucan is a natural sugar that has immune-boosting and anticancer properties.
How to Feed Your Dog Shiitake Mushrooms
If you decide to feed your dog shiitake mushrooms, consider taking some steps to make it a safe, healthy, and enjoyable experience for your pup.
- Clean them: Shiitake mushrooms grow on wood and other coarse cellulose material and are generally pretty clean. But it’s good to give them a quick rinse or wipe to clear any dirt and debris.
- Cook or rehydrate and heat them: Mushrooms are easier to digest when cooked. They have tough cell walls that break down when cooked, making their vitamins and nutrients readily available for digestion. If they are dehydrated mushrooms, rehydrate them by adding boiling water.
- Cut them up: You’ll want to ensure your pup doesn’t choke on the mushrooms. Cut them into bite-size pieces and remove the very tough stems.
- Put them in dog food: You can mix the shiitake mushroom pieces into their regular food or offer them as a side treat, depending on how much your dog likes them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about dogs consuming mushrooms.
How common is mushroom poisoning in dogs?
Dogs are susceptible to mushroom poisoning just like humans.
The poisoning can range from an upset stomach to liver failure, kidney failure, and death.
For this reason, never let your dog eat wild mushrooms.
If you notice your dog eating a wild mushroom, immediately contact your veterinarian, poison control, or an emergency animal hospital.
How quickly do dogs get mushroom poisoning?
It depends on the type of poisonous mushroom your dog ate.
Raw or undercooked shiitake can cause a reaction called toxic flagellate dermatitis.
But other mushrooms, such as Amanita phalloides (death cap mushrooms) cause early GI symptoms and vomiting within the first six to 24 hours, followed by a false recovery period where the dog seems better.
However, liver failure and death result in 36 to 48 hours post-exposure.
Some milder poisonous mushrooms may cause GI symptoms in the first one to six hours that last for one to two days and then subside.
What Are Some Other Signs and Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning?
- Neurological signs like walking drunk
Other conditions can cause these symptoms, so be sure to contact your veterinarian if your dog displays them, whether or not they ate a mushroom.
How Is Mushroom Poisoning Treated?
The sooner you get your pup to the veterinarian the better the chances of recovery.
The veterinarian may use the following techniques and procedures for decontamination:
- Induced vomiting
- Activated charcoal
- IV fluids
- Bloodwork monitoring
- Liver-protectant drugs
- Anti-nausea medication
- Supportive care
So, can dogs eat shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms from the grocery store present little to no risk to your dog if eaten in moderation, cleaned, and cooked.
And avoid any toxic ingredients for your pup’s sake.
Because of their nutritional profile, they can be beneficial for your dog.
Shiitake are some of the healthiest mushrooms and contain several vitamins, minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting components.
As part of a balanced diet, shiitake mushrooms might be a healthy addition to your dog’s regular food depending on nutritional needs.
Always consult with your veterinarian before making any new changes to your dog’s diet, and start slowly when introducing new foods.
While shiitake mushrooms are safe for your dog to eat, wild mushrooms are not.
Wild mushrooms are difficult to identify and can contain potentially fatal toxins for which there is no cure.
Always monitor your dog when outside or walking in the woods.
And be sure to contact a veterinarian or poison control if you suspect they ate a wild mushroom.