Dogs On Shrooms
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years. Various cultures have used mushrooms, from the Greek physician Hippocrates to the alchemist Tao Hongjing. Only recently has modern science caught up to what powerful properties fungi hold. Some mushrooms feed you, some kill you, and some send you on a spiritual journey. But this article will focus on medicinal and culinary mushrooms.
⚠️Toxic mushrooms can be hard to identify if wildcrafting. Mushrooms should always be purchased from a reliable source.
Previously mushrooms were disregarded as a low-calorie food with little nutrition. But with the recent influx of mushroom-centric research, the nutrition aspect of this fungi has been brought to life. Dogs should not rely on plants as a primary nutrient source; however, mushrooms are a source of nutrients such as B vitamins, selenium, copper, potassium, dietary fiber, chitin, and β-glucans.
Wild or cultivated mushrooms are rich in antioxidants due to their polyphenols, polysaccharides, vitamins, carotenoids, and minerals. Antioxidants are compounds that help the body fight against free radicals, leading to various health disorders. Mushrooms happen to be very rich in the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione.
Ergothioneine is a unique sulfur-containing antioxidant that can only be found in specific dietary sources. It is a stable antioxidant and is very heat-stable. Glutathione is considered a "major intracellular antioxidant in nearly all organisms." The amount of ergothioneine and glutathione varies by species, but it was found that porcini and yellow oyster mushrooms had the highest concentration.
Mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds, specifically beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber (a polysaccharide). It’s found in the cell walls of certain substances, especially mushrooms. Beta-glucan is also found in seaweed, algae, some cereals (grains), and yeast. However, only beta-glucan from certain mushrooms has immune-modulating and anti-tumor properties.
Advances in mushroom science are finding more links between mushroom consumption and decreased cancer risk. A study by Penn State studied the effects on hemangiosarcoma, a type of cancer, and found that dogs treated with turkey tail mushroom had the longest survival time than any dog reported with the disease.
Looking For Shrooms
There is a common practice where companies will only grow and add the mycelium and a small part of the mushroom in the supplement with the actual medicinal properties. To have the most potent effect, the fruiting body must be fed. The fruiting body is the most concentrated source of functional & nutritive value.
A 2017 study tested 19 mushroom products on the market. Not surprisingly, only five tested following their labels. That means only 5 of the 19 could be identified as mushrooms. The study concluded that “the quality consistency of G. lucidum dietary supplements in the U.S. market was poor.” Companies such as Real Mushrooms add the fruiting body into their mushroom supplement to ensure the mushrooms deliver the most potent punch of nutrients and benefits. But the easiest way to ensure a quality mushroom supplement is by making your own mushroom broth.
Acceptable mushrooms to feed include
∙ Shiitake Mushrooms
∙ Oyster Mushrooms
∙ Turkey Tail
Most of these can easily be purchased dehydrated or fresh at your local grocery store. Multiple types of mushrooms can be used in the same recipe.
There is no exact dosage for how much to give. But as a general guideline, feed one teaspoon per 25 pounds (11kg).
Mushrooms are great whole-food additions to any dog’s meal, whether kibble-fed or raw-fed. I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!