Mushrooms are fungi that grow in several different environments, from gardens to forest floors. They grow in almost every weather and substrate, from soil to decaying plant & animal matter. While some mushrooms are edible and used for food or snacks, some have psychedelic properties capable of causing hallucinations and altered consciousness. Some other mushrooms are extremely toxic and should be avoided at all costs. So, are these mushrooms just as deadly to dogs as they are to us? To be safe, you should keep your dog away from any mushrooms, and if they do ingest one, it’s important to act quickly.
Identifying Poisonous Mushrooms
Due to their similar biology, identifying mushrooms can be very tricky, and this can lead major to problems if your dog has snacked on them. There are thousands of mushroom species and up to 100 toxic mushrooms in North America. So, what should you do if your dog has ingested an unidentified mushroom? It’s best to treat all mushrooms as toxic and not to wait for identification. In situations when you can’t always monitor your dog and know where they’ve put their mouth, everything should be assumed as toxic. When your dog is outside, make sure to monitor all interactions.
How Deadly are Mushrooms to Dogs?
Toxic reactions to mushrooms are as diverse as mushrooms themselves. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and are dependent on the type of mushroom and quantity consumed. Ingesting a poisonous mushroom can also result in fatality.
Some mushrooms can cause mild symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset. Mushrooms that contain cyclopeptides are very poisonous. Signs of toxicity include vomiting and diarrhea that can later develop into liver and renal failure. Most animals and humans will not survive if they consumed this type of mushroom. Mushrooms that contain hydrazine toxins are extremely dangerous. Within hours of consuming, vomiting and diarrhea occur which quickly leads to seizures and liver necrosis. Survival chances depend on the timeliness of medical care.
Treatment of Mushroom Poisoning
You should immediately get your dog to the vet clinic after they ingested any type of mushroom. Do not wait for clinical signs of poisoning to develop, because it will be too late. If possible, bring a sample of the mushroom that your dog ate to the clinic, because identification of the mushroom will need to be done by a professional. It is not safe to induce vomiting if your dog is showing signs of poisoning or weighs under 10 pounds. In the case of ingestion of psychedelic mushrooms, your veterinarian might have to sedate your dog till the effects of the hallucinogens wear off. Your veterinarian will treat your dog to prevent further absorption and give supportive care if signs start to occur.
If your dog has eaten an unknown mushroom, immediately call your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline®, at (855) 764-7661, to get the help your dog needs.