Wild Mushrooms Can Poison Your Dog

Wild Mushrooms Can Poison Your Dog

Many people believe that if a dog eats a mushroom it must be safe; in other words, a dog would never eat a toxic mushroom. Nothing is further from the truth!

Mushroom toxicity undoubtedly happens more often in dogs than is reported, since so many of these poisonings go unrecognized for what they actually are.

The trick is being able to identify the particular toxic species of mushroom. The good news is that for the 10,000 species of mushrooms known worldwide, only 50 to 100 are known to be toxic.

In North America, far and away the mushrooms most often implicated in serious poisonings in dogs are the Amanita species -- Amanita phalloides (death cap), Amanita pantherina (panther cap), and Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) – and the Galerina species.

The symptoms most frequently seen in dogs are lethargy, staggering, panting, whining, dizziness, salivation, vomiting, tachycardia, and collapse. Few deaths are reported, but in most cases the culprit mushroom is never identified as the source of the clinical signs. In addition, for most mushrooms, the exact quantity necessary to cause signs of poisoning is unknown.

There has been an increasing trend in this country in foraging for edible mushrooms by connoisseurs and health-food enthusiasts. Nevertheless, great care must be taken in foraging for edible mushrooms and in the ingestion of any wild mushroom.

The distribution of toxic mushrooms varies widely in the continental United States; local experts, such as your state's cooperative extension service, regional poison centers, and veterinary teaching facilities, may be helpful in identifying the poisonous mushrooms found in your area.

Has your dog had trouble with mushrooms? Tell us what happened and how you dealt with the problem in the comments below.

The original version of this article was published in AKC Family Dog.