Medicinal Mushrooms For Dogs – Are We Onto Something Or Barking Mad?
Many of us would go to the ends of the earth for our furry companions. Anything to keep their tails wagging with a little more vigour, right? But have you ever considered giving medicinal mushrooms to your dog to keep them happy and healthy?
Not only are mushrooms good for dogs, but emerging research shows they have enormous potential to increase their overall health and wellbeing. From immune support to gut health to improved cognition, it’s little wonder why medicinal mushrooms are making their way to dog bowls around the world.
But first, we know what you’re thinking…
Are Mushrooms Safe For Dogs?
Medicinal mushrooms have incredible nutritional and medicinal profile that can help your dog thrive. Or as we like to call it, reach Peak Pupper Performance* (not a real unit of measurement*).
But this comes with a warning. While most mushrooms are powerfully medicinal and nutrient dense, it’s no secret that a select few don’t work in our favour. So, just like you wouldn’t eat a foraged mushroom without knowing its species and properties – neither should your dog.
You must know your mushies before serving them up. Or better yet, source them from a reputable supplier. After all, the only trip your dog is interested in is a trip to the park.
Our Favourite Medicinal Mushrooms For Dogs
Humans and dogs are both mammals, which means we share many similarities. In fact, many of the medicinal mushroom benefits humans receive apply to our four-legged friends, too.
Here are a few of our favourites.
Reishi For Dogs
The mushroom of immortality. There’s a reason Reishi is one of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms in the world. It has an impressive quantity of germanium, polysaccharides, triterpenes, fibre, protein, vitamins and amino acids – all things that contribute to longevity and Peak Pupper Performance.
On top of that, Reishi is “anti” many things: anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-microbial, and antioxidant rich.
In dogs, Reishi mushroom can be used to:
Boost immunity – Reishi can strengthen white blood cells, and in turn, this can fight infection, prevent cancer and help the immune system function better. Studies show that it can increase NK (Natural Killer) cells, which are proven to control several types of tumours and infections. Many pet owners also use Reishi to reduce the side-effects of pet chemotherapy.
Calms anxious pups – Whether it’s fireworks, thunderstorms or being left alone, some puppers are more prone to stress and anxiety than others. Thankfully, Reishi is an adaptogen that can have calming, anti-depressive and anti-fatigue effects.
Boost heart health – We want to keep our dog’s hearts ticking as long as possible, right? Reishi is believed to boost heart health through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The polysaccharides and triterpenes are also believed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Turkey Tail For Dogs
An incredible immune bolstering mushroom that can prevent cancer and digestive issues in your doggo. Sure, it sounds a little far-fetched, but research to date is impressive. Turkey Tail is packed with antioxidants, beta-glucan polysaccharides and prebiotics so your best mate can live their best life.
In dogs, Turkey Tail can help to:
Boost immunity – Similar to Reishi, Turkey Tail is best known for its immune defence. The impressive quantity of antioxidants helps to fight off free radicals (which can cause oxidative stress and various health problems). Their polysaccharides content also helps to promote a healthy immune response and reduce inflammation.
Aid cancer treatment – This is related to its immune-enhancing properties, but we thought cancer treatment deserved a mention on its own. You see, Turkey Tail is one of the most well-studied mushrooms when it comes to cancer. A study done by the University of Penn State looked at dogs with hemangiosarcoma (a common type of dog cancer). Astonishingly, dogs that were treated with a compound from Turkey Tail had significantly increased survival times.
Gut health – If only our dogs could talk about their tummy upsets. Nonetheless, if you suspect diarrhoea, constipation or digestive issues in your pupper, Turkey Tail could save the day. It can help balance out the good and bad bacteria in their tummy, so they’ll still go crazy for dinner time.
Lion’s Mane For Dogs
Think of Lion’s Mane as the ultimate brain food. It’s a stunning nootropic mushroom that can boost brain and nerve function, making it ideal for older dogs that are showing signs of cognitive decline (and still want to learn new tricks).
So, here’s how it can benefit your good boy or girl:
Brain health – Lion’s Mane mushroom is a natural nootropic (a smart drug that can enhance the cognitive powers of the brain). It works by boosting Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which can help neurons in the brain grow, survive and thrive.
Enhance mood – Our puppers have feelings, too. And they can also suffer from depression and anxiety. But thanks to Lion’s Mane and its ability to grow and support new neurons, you can help to boost their mood. If you suspect your pupper is a bit down in the dumps, try Lion’s Mane to stimulate activity in the hippocampus.
Prevent Degenerative Myelopathy – A disease that affects the spinal cords in older dogs, Degenerative Myelopathy can be devastating for dogs and their owners in equal measure. When your dog has Degenerative Myelopathy, they begin to lose mobility and control, eventually resulting in paralysis. To put it simply, it’s because your dog’s immune system is attacking the Myelin Sheath (a protective layer around the nerves).
Although there have been limited studies in this area, the medicinal properties in Lion’s Mane show extraordinary potential to improve myelination (a process where the Myelin Sheath regenerates). This could reverse or slow down the effects of Degenerative Myelopathy. And given this disease has no known cure, it’s worth a shot, right?
Giving Your Dog Medicinal Mushrooms
Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lion’s Mane are among the many medicinal mushrooms that can help our dogs thrive. Adding mushrooms to their food may sound a little crazy at first – but as always, we’re guided by the latest scientific research. And it’s promising to say the very least.
We recommend adding a small amount of mushroom powder to their food, as they’ll hardly notice it when it blends in with the meaty goodness. For recommended dosages based on your dog’s size, chat to your local vet.
Shop our Mushroom Powders today.