Wild mushrooms: which ones are dangerous for dogs?

As autumn creeps in, mushrooms are aplenty. At this time of year, they’re popping up all over our favourite woodland walking spots and even in our garden. Which means as dog parents we need to be extra watchful – and teaching your dog to avoid all mushrooms with a simple ‘leave it’ command is the best tactic.

Some wild mushrooms are poisonous to dogs and can make your dog sick. For owners with sneaky scavengers, you may be worried if all that snaffling could get your dog into trouble. In this post we’ll reveal the top wild mushrooms that are dangerous to our furry friends.

Can dogs eat mushrooms? 

The short answer is yes – most mushrooms are safe for dogs to eat. But that doesn’t mean they should. Although shop-bought mushrooms like chanterelle, porcini and morel aren’t poisonous, dogs don’t need mushrooms in their diet. 

Of the 15,000 species in the UK, 99% are edible mushrooms. But even the experts have a hard time figuring out which ones are poisonous. So it’s important to be aware, certain types of wild mushrooms can be devastating for your dog’s health if ingested. 

When it comes to your dog’s wellbeing, there’s really no such thing as an edible wild mushroom. It’s best to keep your dog away from all mushrooms. 

Related blog: Which plants are dangerous and poisonous to dogs?

What kinds of wild mushrooms are dangerous for dogs? 

Since you won’t always know which mushrooms are poisonous when out and about, it’s best to teach your dog to avoid all mushrooms. A simple ‘leave it’ command can be useful for showing your furry friend what’s off limits. 

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) – the iconic fairy tale mushroom with the red spotted cap. 

Jewelled Death Cap (Amanita gemmata) – commonly misidentified as safe to eat. This mushroom has a yellowy cap with white spots. 

Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) responsible for the most fatal mushroom poisonings in both people and pets. White and unassuming, just half a fresh mushroom can kill an adult human. 

Autumn Galerina (Galerina marginata) small brown mushrooms that are as dangerous as the deadly death cap. They have a flatter cap than others and can often be found growing from decayed wood.

Elf’s Saddle (Helvella lacunosa) – a dark ‘saddle’ shaped cap and a white stem. Toxicity levels vary in this mushroom family, but all are best avoided. 

Related blog: Can dogs eat nuts? 

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning in dogs 

Mushroom poisoning symptoms can vary greatly depending on the species consumed. In simple terms, there are four main categories of mushroom that can affect different areas of the body. 

Category A mushrooms are most toxic. They destroy cells in the body and can cause kidney and liver failure. 

Category B and C mushrooms affect the nervous system. These mushrooms can cause tremors, seizures and affect their ability to walk. 

Category D mushrooms can cause gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhoea. But this is rarely life threatening. 

The most common symptoms of mushroom poisoning are: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy 
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Seizures 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Coma  

If you suspect your dog has eaten a wild mushroom, don’t hesitate. Contact your vet for advice immediately. If you can, take a sample of the mushroom with you. This will help your vet determine how they can best help your dog. 

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