Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, but one of the major downsides is that dangerous mushrooms for dogs pop up everywhere. They can really take some of the fun out of all those wonderful fall activities like long walks, hikes, corn mazes and pumpkin patches.
Do you remember the media buzz around Dwayne Johnson and his pup Brutus after he had ingested a toxic mushroom? As a result, Brutus passed! It was a tragic reminder about the fact that many mushrooms can kill our dogs, which led me to put together a list of the 7 deadliest.
7 Dangerous Mushrooms for Dogs
The following 7 mushrooms are the most dangerous, i.e. toxic, ones for dogs!
Amanita Muscaria, more commonly known as “Fly Agaric“. It has a bright, red cap with white spots. Apparently is emits a fishy odor which attracts dogs.
Helvella Lacunosa, more commonly known as “Elf’s Saddle“. It has a grey saddle-like cap and an off-white/greyish stem.
Amanita Phalloides, more commonly known as “Death Cap“. It has a white/greenish cap and causes liver & kidney failure.
Amanita Gemmata, more commonly known as “Jeweled Death Cap“. It has a yellow/brownish cap with white spots.
Galerina Marginata, more commonly known as “Autumn Galerina”. It has a brown cap, and belongs to the category of “little brown mushrooms”. It pops up on lawns and in forests, especially after heavy rain.
Inocybe Mushrooms. They have small, conical caps, which flatten with age, and can be frayed. They emit a musty odor, and contain muscarine, a natural product which is toxic. Clitocybe Mushrooms. They have sloping heads with whitish gills running down the stems. They also contain the natural, toxic product muscarine.
False Morel. This mushroom resembles the edible morel, but is toxic! Unlike the morel, the stem & cap of the false morel aren’t connected and are hollow. The stems are covered with white mycelium.
How Canine Mushroom Poisoning is Classified
The degree of the toxicity determines how a case of canine mushroom poisoning is classified.
There are 4 groups of mushroom poisoning:
A covers the most toxic mushrooms, which destroy the cells of the liver & the kidney, and are ultimately deadly.
B & C disturb the nervous system, causing shaking, convulsions, weakness, drooling, and collapse.
D affects the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting, (bloody) diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
Dangerous Mushrooms for Dogs: Veterinary Treatment
If you suspect that your dog has ingested a potentially toxic mushroom, especially if displaying one or several of the above mentioned symptoms, take him to your vet ASAP.
Try to bring along a specimen of the mushroom for analysis. Wrap it in a moist paper towel or place it in a paper bag, but do not use a plastic bag. That’s because mushrooms break down quickly in plastic. Your vet might send it in to a mycologist (mushroom expert).
They may also give your dog activated charcoal in order to absorb the toxins in the stomach and the gastrointestinal area.
Another treatment approach are fluids in order to rehydrate and to increase the need to urinate. This helps flush out the toxins from the dog’s system.
Depending on the severity of the intoxication, the vet may induce vomiting.
Dangerous Mushrooms for Dogs: Prevention tips
- Check your yard and other exterior areas your dog frequents for mushrooms on a regular, daily basis, and remove them.
- You might want to increase that frequency when it’s pouring rain because that’s when many mushroom species pop up.
- Be on the lookout for wild mushrooms when out hiking and walking, especially if your dog is roaming around off-leash.
- Teach your dog a solid leave it command as a backup plan should he sniff one out before you can remove it.
Mushrooms in my yard
When I do yard work, I often remove a bunch of mushrooms that I come across when raking pine needles and leaves.
I tried to do some research about the mushrooms I’m typically dealing with, and I believe I may have been able to identify 2 species:
1) Phylloporus Leucomycelinus. Commonly known as a bolete with gill-like pores.
It’s an edible mushroom occurring in North America (as well as in the Philipines), which grows near beech and oak trees.
We have 2 oak trees in our yard, so that would make sense. Their distinctive feature is the white mycelium at the base of their stems (mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus).
2) Xerocomus Subtomentosus. Commonly known as the “Yellow-Cracked Bolete“, it has a tan cap and yellow pores underneath.
It’s also an edible mushroom in the family of the Boletaceae, and is found in North America, as well as in Eurasia & Australia.
It occurs around cone-bearing trees, such as pines, cedars, douglas-firs, firs, etc. We have 12 pine trees in our yard, so this would make sense as well.
I also often remove little brown mushrooms, as well as white ones, which I wasn’t able to identify. The brown mushrooms in our yard do not look like the toxic ones I mentioned above.
Either way, I won’t let potentially toxic mushrooms spoil our pack’s fall fun, but I will check our yard on a daily basis, and also be alert on our walks & hikes!
Happy fall everyone!
P.S. If you want to know for sure what you’re dealing with, be proactive and send in the mushroom(s) in question to a mycologist. Most universities have such a department.
Related Reading:Join the K9sOverCoffee Community today! Get your free raw dog food recipe, excerpted from “20 Raw Meals for Dogs”!