Are Mushrooms Poisonous to Dogs?

Growing in your backyard, parks and even city streets, this common plant could harm your pet.

By | Posted: March 21, 2014, 11 a.m. PST

With National Poison Prevention Week, there are a lot of articles out there about chocolate, onions, grapes, etc. All the "usual suspects” when it comes to foods that are toxic to your pets. But what about those we do not hear about all the time? Are there edibles in your backyard even, which could harm your pet?

mushroom and dog

Mushrooms are everywhere and can pose a threat to your dog. Toxic mushrooms can be found in any environmental setting (lawn, woods, garden, etc.). Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, has shared information on which mushrooms are poisonous, symptoms and what to do when you think you dog has ingested one.

Identification of mushrooms can be difficult as the types can range in size, color and shape. If your dog eats any mushroom in the wild, regardless of the variety, you should take your dog to the vet immediately.

Some Toxic Varieties and Their Symptoms

Muscarinic mushrooms (Inocybe and Clitocybe spp.) Stimulate salivation, urination, diarrhea, and vomiting. The onset of signs is quick, usually 5-30 minutes. Signs can persist for several hours if untreated, but resolve quickly with administration of the antidote from your veterinarian.

Ixoxazole mushrooms [Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), Amanita pantherina (panther mushroom)] have fluctuating signs of excitation and depression. The animals initially vomit, then develop the neurologic signs. Care must be taken when treating these animals as some patients will stop breathing.

Hallucinogenic (magic) mushrooms (Psilocybe spp.) can cause hallucinations, drunkenness, and fever in dogs. Signs occur quickly (30-180 minutes) and can last for up to 3 days. These animals respond well to veterinary care.

Gyromitra spp (false morels) contain compounds related to rocket fuel. These mushrooms when ingested can cause seizures and vomiting.

Amanitins and phalloidins are liver toxins found in most Amanita, Galerina and Lepiota mushrooms. Animals ingesting these mushrooms have a lag period of 6-12 hours before they start vomiting. They appear to recover, but in 3-7 days they develop liver failure along with seizures and bleeding. Most animals do not survive.

What if I find Mushrooms in my yard?

Mushrooms can pop up anywhere, even in your own yard. They can be killed with herbicides, but it is best to pull them out from the root as they can quickly grow back. 

Are There Any Safe Mushrooms?

Mushrooms that are available in the grocery store for consumption are not considered to pose a health hazard for pets. However, any food that’s not part of a normal diet for your pet can lead to stomach upset, which is why it's a good idea to only offer small portions as an occasional treat.

Because wild mushrooms can be very tricky to distinguish, and certain poisonous varieties mimic safe ones, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center would not recommend offering your pet wild mushrooms of any kind.

Always contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has ingested a wild mushroom.


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sara   Wash, Connecticut

3/22/2014 1:10:37 PM

that is good common sense advice as without pictures articles means nothing

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Becky   Cayuga, New York

3/22/2014 8:17:18 AM

It would have been very helpful to have a few sample photos of the most common mushrooms from each group mentioned. I doubt most people would have a working knowledge of mushrooms, or a mushroom guide handy - as I do. I realize that many dangerous ones resemble safe ones, and vice versa, but having at least SOMETHING to look at without googling each name, would have been more helpful to the average pet owner. BECAUSE of the similarities and ease of confusing one type for another, it's possible that more folks would simply not let their pets eat ANY
mushroom.

I have some extremely tiny mushrooms growing in my fenced backyard during the warm seasons (not now - it's still snowing!), and I simply pull them up and discard them when I clean up the feces each day. BTW, mushrooms have mycelium, not roots, which can extend for great distances through the ground. It's the mycelium which breaks down organic matter (humus) in the soil, creating and enriching topsoil. It is therefore a good thing to have - just don't eat all the mushrooms that sprout from it without knowing exactly what you're eating!

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