This post may contain affiliate links.
A couple of years ago the topic of bone broth came up in a raw feeding group and within that discussion, someone mentioned that they make mushroom broth for their dogs. What? Mushroom broth? That's a thing?
Yep, it's a thing.
The idea of feeding mushrooms to dogs is as hard to accept as adding garlic to their diet. We've been told for years that these things are toxic, but as raw feeders, we're learning that those lists of toxic foods shared on social media aren't quite accurate. So now I'm learning to ask more questions.
Benefits of Mushrooms for Dogs
In my research, I learned that there are several medicinal mushrooms that help boost the immune system and protect dogs from cancer (and shrinks the size of tumors). So, to me, it's a no brainer that mushrooms should be a part of my dogs' diet:
- Reishi – cancer, allergies, heart disease, and arthritis
- Shiitake – allergies, Cushing's disease, cardiovascular health, incontinence, and digestive health
- Turkey Tail – cancer, digestive issues, arthritis
- Chaga – anti-inflammatory, cancer, immune system
I've added mushrooms to their diet here and there, but I haven't been consistent until now. Prior to digging into the health benefits of mushrooms, I would add Shiitake mushrooms (and a few others) to their bone broth from time to time. And I always add it to their vegetable mix (not fermented).
In this post, I'm going to explore how to add mushrooms without adding a ton of extra work to feeding my dogs. It's not that I'm lazy; it's that I don't like the idea of making raw feeding complicated or overwhelming for people following my blog.
Nutrients in Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are loaded with nutrients and the ones that stand out are fiber, copper, and Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
- Fiber supports gut health. #HealthGutHealthyDog
- Copper helps dogs form connective tissues and collagen.
- Vitamin B5 helps the system digest macronutrients while improving stamina.
With Rodrigo's history of gut issues and Sydney's issues of joint issues, Shiitake mushrooms already sound like something that would benefit them if added regularly to their diet.
How to Add Shiitake Mushrooms to a Dog's Diet
I sometimes buy dried shiitake mushrooms (they come in a blend) or fresh mushrooms when I find them on sale. I add them to my dogs' vegetable mix or bone broth, but that's about it. I have tried supplements in the past and Shiitake mushrooms are an ingredient in a base mix I often use and I find it easier to add the mushrooms to my dogs' raw diet this way because I know that they're getting enough to make a positive difference to their health. #FingersCrossed
Shiitake Supplements for Dogs
I prefer adding fresh food to supplement my dogs' diet. For example, I add sardines or carp for Omega 3 fatty acids and oysters for zinc. But sometimes, a supplement is better, more
If you prefer to add a supplement to your dog's diet, my advice is to do your homework before picking a supplement. Whenever a whole food becomes popular, everyone and their mom is putting out a supplement and I question the quality. I've seen this with turmeric and digestive supplements. Mushrooms are no different.
I trust the following brands because they are producing organic products that are safe for our pets and I've used their products in the past with my dogs:
Raw Vibrance by Dr. Harvey's
One of the many ingredients in the base mix Raw Vibrance is shiitake mushrooms. This is the easiest way to introduce this mushroom to a raw food diet; especially if you're new to raw feeding. I love to add Raw Vibrance to my dogs' diet and alternate this base mix with DIY and some premade raw brands. A base mix is perfect for when I'm low on ingredients or low on time because it makes it easier for me to feed a nutritionally balanced diet.
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe with Dr. Harvey’s Raw Vibrance
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe Rabbit, Carp and Dr. Harvey’s
How Often I Add Medicinal Mushrooms to My Dogs' Diet
As I stated above, when I can get dried shiitake mushrooms (or fresh ones) on sale, I add them to my dogs' bone broth and vegetable mix. The problem with this plan is that I'm adding one or two small packages to 8 quarts of bone broth to be fed to four big dogs over several months. I doubt that they're enjoying many of the benefits I listed above.
I order for my dogs to get the benefits, I need to do the following:
- Continue alternating Dr. Harvey's Raw Vibrance in their diet.
- Add a trusted supplement, like Mercola Organic Mushroom Complex for Pets.
- Cook mushroom broth or another “dish” for my dogs (link to more recipes below) and alternate this food into their diet as well.
With my dogs getting older and the rising rate of canine cancer, I want to make sure I support their immune system and I believe that consciously adding Shiitake mushrooms to their diet will give them more protection against cancer and other health issues.
Possible Side Effects of Shiitake Mushrooms
It's tempting to run off and start adding mushrooms to your dog's diet, especially when you learn about the cancer fighting benefits. But it's important to know the possible side effects. For example, Chaga mushrooms are natural blood thinners and shouldn't be fed to dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma.
In my reading, I couldn't find any devastating side effects to shiitake mushrooms. In fact, I couldn't find any warnings for pet parents. Instead, I learned that the following side effects of consuming shiitake mushrooms exist for humans:
- some people get contact dermatitis from handling shiitake mushrooms; this hasn't been my experience, but it's a possibility
- long term use of a power supplement can result in digestive upset and other gastrointestinal issues
- some people quickly learn that they have a mushroom sensitivity (allergy)
- long term consumption of shiitake mushrooms increases the production of one type of white blood cells in response to gastrointestinal issues mentioned above
Because of the risks, I feel more comfortable giving my dogs veterinarian approved supplements rather than mixing up a supplement on my own. If I had more education and experience in this area, I'd go for it – but I don't.
Resources About Feeding Mushrooms to Dogs
I'm not a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of mushrooms for dogs, you can check out the following articles:
- The Many Health Benefits of Mushrooms (And How to Add Them To Your Pet’s Diet) [contains recipes]
- Are Medicinal Mushrooms Good for Dogs, Cats, Horses
- Medicinal Mushrooms For Dogs: Multi-Dimensional Healing
- How Shiitake Mushroom Strengthens Pet Immune Systems
This is a sponsored post. I was compensated for producing content that educates dog parents about feeding a fresh food diet and sharing my experience as a raw feeder who purchases and feeds Raw Vibrance base mix by Dr. Harvey's. All of the thoughts in this post are honest and real. I've sadly nearly finished my second 6 lb bag of Raw Vibrance – it's just that good.