Mushrooms are thought of as a superfood for humans, packed full of nutrients and other health benefits. They are not typically thought of as a food source for cats and dogs but they too can reap the benefits that mushrooms have to offer. We explore what these little wonders have to offer our four-legged friends.
Can dogs and cats eat mushrooms?
Generally, any mushrooms that are edible for humans can be eaten safely by cats and dogs. Those that are found in the supermarket such as white cup, portobello, or button mushrooms are safe for pets, if given in small amounts. But not all mushrooms are safe. Wild mushrooms like the ones you find in the lawn after some rain or while out on a walk through the bush can be very toxic to pets if eaten, so these should be avoided. Although it should go without saying, psychedelic mushrooms (“magic mushrooms”) should not be fed to cats and dogs either, even though they generally aren’t fatal if ingested, many cause symptoms that will likely need a trip to the vet.
What are the benefits of mushrooms?
Mushrooms have been used medicinally for centuries due to being packed full of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and fibre. The different mushroom species provide a variety of health benefits not only for humans but for pets as well. Some of the mushrooms that are commonly used for their health benefits include:
- Shiitake – also known as the “elixir of life” they are a rich source of protein and contain high levels of glucomannan, a soluble fibre, that helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
- Reishi – used to help support the immune system and assist with normal circulation and respiratory function
- Lion's Mane – supports a healthy gut which in turn gives a boost to the immune system, also known to help with brain function and cognitive support
- Chaga –are high in antioxidants which provide much needed protection from cell damage, helping to maintain healthy cellular activity especially in the immune system.
- Turkey Tail – assists with urinary support and healthy digestion.
- Cordyceps – helps with normal kidney and liver function, while also improving endurance.
Should I feed my pets store bought mushrooms?
Mushrooms sold at the supermarket are generally safe for cats and dogs to eat. Some pets like the taste of raw mushroom and will happily consume small pieces that are dropped on the floor during meal prep time. However, we rarely serve up plain raw or cooked mushrooms, instead covering them in sauce or seasonings. Oils, butter, herbs and spices, garlic and onions, can be harmful to dogs and cats. If wanting to feed mushrooms to your pet it is best to feed them by themselves, raw or cooked, without any added seasoning or oils. Alternatively, you can feed a powdered mushroom supplement, with nothing else added.
How to feed your pet mushroom supplements
Feeding your cat or dog mushrooms can be an effective way to boost their general health but as with anything it should be done in moderation and in combination with a balanced diet. Powdered mushroom supplements usually combine several power packed mushrooms in one, which means you can safely get all the health benefits for your pet without the bulk. There are many different mushroom powders on the market. Make sure to choose a high-quality, all-natural supplement that is specifically made for pets and contains at least one or several of the mushrooms mentioned above.
Kinetic Immunity Shield for Dogs and Cats combines the power of Shiitake, Reishi, Lion's Mane and Chaga mushrooms for a mighty boost to your pet’s immune system. It can be easily mixed in with wet or dry food daily and having a flavour that pets love it can also be used to make your pet’s favourite treats. It is completely natural, contains only mushrooms and is manufactured in Australia so you can be assured that the ingredients are high-quality and contain no added chemicals.