Our furry friends love sniffing around and exploring the great outdoors, but it is important for us to carefully supervise them when their noses are on the ground. The smell and taste of some mushrooms can be quite appealing to dogs and cats, and certain ones may even have a fishy flavor. Although some mushrooms may be edible, it is better to assume that they are all poisonous to our pets. In case they accidentally mistake a mushroom for a tasty snack, it is imperative to know what steps you can take to best care for them.
Since mushrooms can grow in a wide range of temperatures and in all four seasons, you could easily find them throughout the United States. Generally, they love growing in moist, humid, and well shaded areas. This is why you may notice them appear in your backyard after a rainy day. To reduce the chances of your pet finding mushrooms, you should routinely perform a thorough sweep of your yard and keep your pet on a leash when taking them outdoors after rainfall.
Clinical signs of mushroom poisoning include:
- Abdominal Pain
Depending on the mushroom type, most of these signs will occur within 1-2 hours. However, certain mushrooms that cause liver and kidney failure and can take 6 or more hours to show signs. The type of mushroom can determine how aggressive the treatment will need to be. Some animals can quickly bounce back from a mushroom toxicity while others can have fatal consequences.
If your pet ingests a mushroom, we do not recommend trying to identify it yourself. Identifying mushrooms is challenging for anyone who does not regularly work with them, and it should only be performed by a mycologist. You should collect any chewed or vomited mushrooms in a paper bag and place them in the refrigerator. Please be sure that the bag clearly states, “Do Not Eat!”, so they do not get mistaken for human consumption. Do not wait until signs develop! Immediately contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® for further guidance.
Darren Yang, PPH DVM student extern, University of California Davis Class of 2023
Kathy Wolsieffer, CVT, Veterinary Information Specialist II