While sharing a little of your mushroom ravioli or other dish containing store-bought mushrooms with Fido may simply give him an upset tummy, allowing him to eat wild mushrooms outdoors could be deadly. All outdoor mushrooms are potentially dangerous for your curious pup because they might contain harmful toxins. Toxic wild mushroom species can cause a variety of symptoms, including seizures, coma and death if ingested.
No Mushroom Hunting for Fido
All mushrooms are different types of fungi, some of which are safe for your pup to eat and others that are highly toxic. A tasty snack of a store-bought mushroom or two is not only safe for human consumption, but for Fido's consumption as well. Like any new food, though, they could give him a bit of minor gastrointestinal distress after trying them. Unfortunately, the mushrooms that pop up outside in your yard or other outdoor areas may be highly toxic to your pup if he's curious and decides to taste them. Most toxic species are hard to tell apart from the nontoxic ones because they look similar and may grow right beside them.
What's the Worst That Can Happen?
After eating toxic mushrooms, your pup could experience vomiting, diarrhea, a lack of coordination, tremors, tummy pain, lethargy, irregular heartbeat, coma and seizures. Symptoms usually occur within 10 to 12 hours of your pup eating a toxic mushroom, according to the February 2007 edition of "Veterinary Medicine." Poisonous mushrooms, especially those of the Amanita, Lepiota and Galerina species, can cause liver damage and even liver failure. A failing liver is a possible cause of the seizures your pup experiences after eating the mushrooms; this is because the liver tries to filter out the mushroom's harmful toxins, which cause it to function abnormally and eventually fail.
A Race to the Vet
If Fido munches on some outdoor mushrooms, get him to the vet as quickly as possible to get those potential toxins out of his system. If possible, gather a few samples of the mushrooms that your pup was eating to bring along to the vet for proper identification. Wrap the pieces in a moist paper towel and place them in a paper bag so your vet can determine the species of mushroom. If they're toxic or can't be identified, your vet can induce vomiting to get the mushroom that he's eaten out of his tummy and give him medication to help alleviate any symptoms, like seizures, that they're causing.
An Ounce of Prevention
Don't wait for seizures or other symptoms to occur after seeing your pup eat mushrooms outdoors. This could mean that permanent liver damage has occurred. If your pup is having seizures, even if you didn't see him eat any mushrooms, get him to the vet as soon as you can. Quick diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between life and death for your pup. To prevent problems altogether, regularly remove wild mushrooms from your yard and avoid areas in which wild mushrooms grow. Keep your pup on a leash and don't let him get near wild mushrooms, even if he hasn't shown an interest in them in the past.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.