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.
Photos source: the Australian National Botanic Gardens
These photos were taken by one of our Preventive Vet colleagues on a walk with their dog the other day. These appear to be Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, which are also highly toxic to dogs.
What to do if you suspect toxic mushrooms in your yard
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")
- Yellowing of skin and "whites of eyes"
- Sleep-like coma
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.
From the News:
Another reminder we have to live and love as greatly as we can today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed. At approximately 11:15pm last night myself and @laurenhashianofficial had to make the painful decision to end Brutus' suffering by taking him off of life support and sending his soul to pup heaven. I held his lil' paw as he was finally at peace. As all puppies and dogs do, he ate a mushroom while playing outside with his brother Hobbs. This mushroom happened to have a lethal toxicity and within hours it was rapidly destroying his liver and immune system to the point of no return. I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside your dogs play. What looks innocent, can be deadly to your lil' family members. Thank you Dr. Deckelbaum and Dr. West and the incredibly caring nurses and staff at The Animal Medical Center At Cooper City. We'll always love you Brutus.. and you'll always be my lil' main man and rough housing Brute. #RIPBrutus #WishICouldHaveSavedYouOneMoreTime #TheresPickUpTrucksInHeavenYouCanPeeIn
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on
You may also remember reading about actor and dog lover, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, losing his beloved French Bulldog, Brutus, due to mushroom poisoning—mushrooms that were growing in his own yard. So sad! The reason I'm sharing this story is to highlight the importance of this awareness and of taking preventive precautions. After all, if someone with the financial resources of "The Rock" couldn't save their dog suffering the liver failure effects of mushroom toxicity, what hope do we "mere mortals" have?
Read one Washington family’s mission to raise awareness of mushroom toxicity in dogs after they lost their two pugs to mushrooms in their own backyard.