Dogs and Poisonous Mushrooms

Dogs and Poisonous Mushrooms

Spring is here and it looks like it’s going to be a wet one! This means mushrooms are likely to proliferate in our yards and grassy park areas.  This is dangerous for our furry loved ones.  We found this great article on Preventative Vet that discusses these dangers.


In Your Own Yard: Dogs and Poisonous Mushrooms

Don’t forget to check your yard for mushrooms each year, especially during a wet Spring or Autumn.

Mushrooms can kill dogs, and they can do so quickly!

Many dogs are sickened and killed each year after eating poisonous mushrooms. And depending on the type of mushroom and the size of your dog, it may not even take much to send you and your pooch rushing to the Animal ER.

Clear all mushrooms in your yard!

The problem with mushrooms is that they can grow very quickly and they can be hard to completely remove from (and keep out of) your yard. Add to this the stong curiosity and keen sense of smell of dogs, and the fact that too few people can easily tell which mushrooms are safe and which ones can cause great harm if ingested, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

The best preemptive step you can take is to clear out ALL mushrooms in your yard, regardless of what they look like—especially where your dog has easy, unsupervised access. Some of the most common and dangerous types of mushrooms for dogs are in the Amanita family, like the aptly-named “Death Cap” mushroom—which, because of their “fishy” odor and taste, are often very attractive to dogs. Ingestion of even a small amount of some Amanita mushrooms can severly sicken or kill a dog because of the devestating effect they can have on the liver. 

These photos are just a few examples of mushrooms from the Amanita family. But there are a few other very dangerous types of mushrooms, too. Click here for tips and resources on mushroom identification

Amanita_Phalloides-Mature-Tip    Amanita_Phalloides-Younger-Tip
Photos source: the Australian National Botanic Gardens

If you see mushrooms in your yard, carefully remove one or two and bring them for identification to a local garden store or a local mushroom (mycology) expert. Alternatively, you can take pictures of the mushrooms for identification (just make sure you photograph all of the identifying parts – the gills, the cap, the base of the stem, etc.).

Because mushroom growths can be difficult to fully get rid of, it’s best to consult with a local expert on ways to deal with them in your yard. And if the mushrooms in question are confirmed to be toxic to dogs, be sure to keep your dogs out of the yard (or at least that part) until the mushrooms are removed or sectioned off.

Signs of mushrooms toxicity in dogs

Depending on the type of mushroom, the quantity eaten, the time elapsed since eaten, and several other factors, the signs of toxicity will vary. But common signs might include any of the following:

  • Wobbling, loss of balance, or walking as if drunk (“ataxia”)
  • Vomiting
  • Salivating
  • Yellowing of skin and “whites of eyes”
  • Sleep-like coma
  • Seizures

If these, or other concerning signs are noted, or if you know your dog has eaten mushrooms, please contact your veterinarian, animal poison control, or your local Animal ER immediately. The liver is just too important an organ to lose. The sooner you bring your pup in, the sooner the decontamination and treatment processes can begin. Delaying results in more extensive organ damage, necessitating more advanced and expensive treatments, which, as Brutus’ case (see story below) highlights, still may not be enough.

Thank you!