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
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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.
Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog ate a bad mushroom, expect to see any of these symptoms anywhere between 15 minutes to 6 hours after he ate it:
- Stomach upset: Vomiting & diarrhea
- Lack of coordination
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.
Help, My Dog Ate A Mushroom In The Grass!
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.
Induce Vomiting with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
If your pup is conscious and you have 3% Hydrogen Peroxide handy, you can induce vomiting to help your pup get rid of as much of the mushroom as possible. This can be done up to an hour after he ingested the mushroom.
See about feeding your pup a small amount of food, that will help bring up the stomach contents with the 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. Give 1-2 teaspoons for every 10lbs of body weight. It’s easiest to administer it with a syringe.
Try to Bring 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).
You can also bring some of your dog’s vomit if he threw up.
Tip: If your pup is experiencing mild gastrointestinal symptoms, you can also give them slippery elm syrup.
You can make it at home from slippery elm bark powder.
It soothes your pup’s digestive system by coating the digestive tract.
Veterinary Treatment for Mushroom Poisoning
Your vet 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 to remove as much of the mushroom(s) from your dog’s system.
Your vet may also do bloodwork to monitor your pup’s liver and kidney values.
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. Consider keeping your pup on a long leash instead.
- Teach your dog a solid leave it command as a backup plan should he sniff one out before you can remove it.
- Have 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in your pet first aid kit.
Mushrooms In My NC Yard
When I do yard work here in the Piedmont part of North Carolina, 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 Fall Reading:
- Bone Broth for Dogs: Recipe & How to Feed
- Turmeric Paste for Dogs: 5 Key Benefits & How to DIY
- How to Make Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats
- Add This to Your Homemade Pumpkin Purée for Dogs
- What’s in Your Pet First Aid Kit for Dogs?
- Slippery Elm for Dogs
I’ve seen the Clitocybes and death caps in our yard before. I didn’t know they were poisonous, but didn’t take any chances and got rid of them as soon as possible. Maya would so eat them, if given half a chance.
Oh wow! I haven’t seen any poisonous ones in our backyard so far…at least not knowingly…I’ve been patrolling our yard like a crazy person lately and pulling out each and every mushroom I’ve noticed! Our pups have never shown any interest in mushrooms as of yet, but I’m not taking any chances!!
The timing of this is perfect. I actually snapped an Instagram photo of a front yard that I walk by on our daily walks every day that was filled with mushrooms. Without seeing a lot more pictures, I can’t know if they are the same as the toxic brown ones, but I like your philosophy of keeping the dogs away from all mushrooms just to be safe.
Question – are edible vs toxic mushrooms the same for dogs and people?
It seems to be really hard to differentiate between different species of mushrooms, especially those “Little Brown Mushrooms”, as the different kinds really do look very similar! That’s a really good question, and I’m still trying to answer that one myself. The 7 toxic mushrooms I listed in the article are toxic for both humans AND dogs. I couldn’t find a trustworthy source stating that those mushrooms which are edible for us are also ok to eat for dogs. I have never heard of or read anywhere that dogs could/should actually eat mushrooms, so I’m erring on the side of caution. We should be able to get a decent answer from a vet and a mycologist…I will stay on this!
Oh yes. These damn things pop up in the yard after a rain. BabyBelle has accidentally ate them and gotten sick. I normally get them all up but of course I have pugs who eat faster than I can move!! I hate mushrooms!
Oh no, poor Baby Belle…yes, with the amount of rain we’ve been having lately they are all over our yard.
This is good information to know. Especially if you have a dog that likes to put everything in their mouth like Cocoa!! With all the rain I’ll bet the issue is really bad in some places.
Exactly – I have a few client dogs who are just like Cocoa. Thankfully my pups are no longer in that phase, but I still pick up every single mushroom I see in our yard…avoiding extra vet expenses whenever I can 😉
Mushrooms can be pretty bad!
Yes – pretty scary that such a little plant can wreak such havoc.
Haley’s never bothered mushrooms before either but I’m definitely going to pick and remove them from the yard now. They only show up a few times a year but I would hate for her to eat one and get sick (or worse). Thanks for putting this together!
I just realized a little while ago that my Feedly hasn’t been updating your RSS feed for some reason. I even refreshed it, but the last one that shows up is from the end of September. All the other blogs I follow are updating, but it still could be something on my end maybe.
Haley sounds like Missy & Buzz, but it’s always a good idea to be safe rather than sorry 🙂
Thank you so much for letting me know about the RSS feed – I was using a mediocre RSS widget that may have stopped being compatible with the new theme I started using a few weeks ago! I switched over to FeedBurner now.
I lost my little pup Donato, a 6 month old Bernese Mt. Dog to a Deathcap. Since then I’ve been trying to spread the word about mushroom toxicity and have been passing out posters and mushroom alert cards…and have started a blog. http://www.mushrooms911.blogspot.com
Thanks for writing this article and getting the word out.
Oh my gosh, Diana, I am so, so sorry to hear about Donato’s passing. Thank you very much for sharing your blog about mushroom toxicity – I will spread the word about it as well. I keep removing mushrooms from my dog walking clients’ yards (and our own, of course) whenever I see one – I bag them in poop bags since I always have those on me, and then throw them out. Not taking any chances!!
I remember another blog, I think they have pugs, who lost one of their young dogs to a poisonous mushroom. Most of the ones I see in our yard aren’t as colorful or obvious as the ones you showed here, but I pull up any I see anyway, just to be on the safe side!
That’s just terrible. I see the Jeweled Death Caps every year when out on hikes in forests, but also in people’s yards!! There are a lot of pine trees here in the Piedmont part of NC and apparently those mushrooms really like to grow near them. Whenever I see some, I pull them out too.