Regardless of the season, mushrooms for cooking are always available at the grocery store or farmer's market. The type of mushrooms might change, but it’s easy to get fungi year-round. You can find the finest gourmet mushrooms at the high-end markets, but the humble button mushroom is also high in nutritional value and can be found in almost every grocery store.
When you’re cooking up that savory mushroom dish, consider setting some of the cooked mushrooms aside for your dog. They can be a great addition to your pup's diet and are highly nutritious.
Mushrooms contain protein, fiber, minerals (selenium), B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and are low in digestible carbohydrates and total fat. The indigestible carbohydrates and soluble fibers in mushrooms support the health of the microbiota. Additionally, Mushrooms can be an abundant source of vitamin D2 when exposed to UVB light. Mushrooms are also home to unique antioxidants like ergothioneine and glutathione.
The short answer to “Can dogs eat cooked mushrooms?” is YES! Our article explains all the health benefits plus offers 3 nutrient-dense mushroom recipes for your furry friend.
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The general rule of thumb is that if a mushroom is safe for humans it will be safe for a dog. Therefore, any mushroom you buy at the grocery store or trusted farmer's market should be appropriate for your dog.
Never give your dog a mushroom unless you know exactly what type of mushroom is and that it’s safe for human & dog consumption. Never feed your dog a mushroom that you found foraging in the woods.
If your dog finds and eats mushrooms while out on a walk or in your backyard, call your veterinarian immediately. Mushrooms can pop up overnight in your backyard, and many of these backyard mushrooms could be poisonous to your pet.
Your veterinarian may suggest you call the Pet Poison Control Hotline: 800-213-6680. If possible, try to find some pieces of the mushroom that your pet ate, and have them ready in a baggie should your vet or poison control want to see them. Photographing the area where the mushrooms were found can also be helpful. If your pet vomits, collect it in a plastic bag. This can be helpful in identifying the mushroom that was eaten and determining if it was poisonous.
Why give dogs mushrooms? Mushrooms have vast and far-reaching benefits, and each variety of fungi has its own unique properties and organs they can support. There are, however, beneficial features of mushrooms that are common to all of them:
When mushrooms are consumed (as food or supplement), it activates a form of cellular communication in the body. The compounds in edible fungi inform the immune system of where attention is needed to maintain balance and vigor. How does this beneficial immune response occur? Mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds called polysaccharides, which include beta-glucans.
Beta-glucans are anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-viral, anti-neoplastic, microbiome-supporting and so much more. Some of the immune cells that beta-glucans interact with are monocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells.
In simple terms, mushrooms activate a “wake up and be alert system” in the body, and a message to send resources where needed. The message is “this isn't an emergency, but it could be, so be vigilant”.
More information on the specific way beta glucans & polysaccharides facilitate this “call to vigilance” can be found here: https://www.realmushrooms.com/beta-d-glucan/
If you decide to give your pet mushrooms as part of their diet, it is recommended that they be cooked. Cooking mushrooms allows more of the medicinal benefits of the mushrooms to be utilized!
Cooking mushrooms will also make it easier for your dog to digest. This is due to the fact that all mushrooms contain a component called chitin, which resides in the cell wall of mushrooms. Chitin is the same material that makes up the hard outer shell of insects and crustaceans. Very few mammals produce chitinase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down chitin. Dogs are no exception here. The chitin that makes mushrooms difficult to digest is easily broken down by cooking mushrooms at a minimum of 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes.
It’s actually almost impossible to overcook mushrooms, so feel free to cook them well.
Hot water extraction is the best practice for increasing the bioavailability of the active, health-supporting compounds in mushrooms. Therefore, we recommend adding mushrooms to bone broth and slow cook for a long time. You can add this mushroom-infused bone broth to your dog’s food.
Utilizing this hot water extraction method or cooking mushrooms breaks down the indigestible polysaccharides that make up the cell wall, which provides mushrooms’ substantial amount of immunomodulatory benefit (1).
Learn more about the benefits of mushrooms for dog health in our article Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Facts About Fungi for Your Furry Friend.
Bone broth is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The collagen from the bones can support joint health. Adding mushrooms can enhance the benefits!
**Do not feed the cooked bones to your dog**
This bone broth can be used as a “gravy” on top of your pup’s food. Dry kibble can be very hard on digestion, so adding water or this bone broth can be very beneficial.
This delightful recipe for dogs was created by Dr. Suzi Beber (2).
This recipe was adapted from a Real Mushrooms stuffed mushroom recipe for humans by Renee Michael for her dog, Roscoe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
*Depending on the size of your mushroom caps, you might have leftover turkey mixture that you can make into turkey meatballs for your pup!
Have a doggie-friendly mushroom recipe? Please share it with our pet-loving Facebook group.
1) János Vetter. December 2007. Chitin content of cultivated mushrooms Agaricus bisporus, Pleurotus ostreatus and Lentinula edodes. Food Chemistry 102 (2007) 6-9.
2 ) More about Dr. Suzi Beber: Dr. Beber started the Smiling Blue Skies University of Guelph Cancer HFund and the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Pet Trust. She has been supporting pet parents with pets suffering from cancer for 20 years, including integrative oncology supportive supplements provided by the trust to pet parents who are in financial need. Dr. Beber has been a huge advocate of the use of mushrooms to create healthy pets and support them through the cancer journey. She has published a number of recipe books for pets, and many of those recipes include fresh and/or dried mushrooms.
Disclaimer: The information or products mentioned in this article are provided as information resources only, and are not to be used or relied on to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. The information is intended for health care professionals only. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is intended for educational purposes. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by licensed medical physicians. Please consult your doctor or health practitioner for any medical advice.