In Your Own Yard: Dogs and Poisonous Mushrooms



Updated: March 30, 2021

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poisonous mushrooms and dogsDon’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.

Signs of mushrooms toxicity in dogs

Depending on the type of mushroom, how much, and the length of time since they ate it, 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 too important of an organ to lose. The sooner you bring your pup in, the sooner treatment can begin. Delaying treatment can result in more extensive organ damage, requiring more advanced and expensive treatments, which, as Brutus' case (see story below) highlights, still may not be enough.

From the News:

You may 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!

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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

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We are sharing his story 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?

Don't Wait! Just clear out 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 strong 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 preventive 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 severely sicken or kill a dog because of the devastating 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

Photos source: the Australian National Botanic Gardens

These photos (below) were taken by one of our Preventive Vet colleagues on a walk with their dog. 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.

If you've got mushrooms in your yard, take a look at the articles and resources below. They can better help you identify and react to those little fungi popping up all over the place. And hopefully they will help you and your pup better enjoy your walks together and romps in the yard.
If you're worried that your pet may have eaten a poisonous mushroom get samples and good pictures of the mushroom(s) and then contact your veterinarian, local Animal ER, or a Pet Poison Hotline immediately! You can also upload your photos and where the mushrooms were found to the Poisons Help: EMERGENCY Identification for Mushrooms & Plants Facebook Group - this open Facebook group can be a great resource in the event of an unknown mushroom or plant ingestion by your cat or dog. The admins are skilled at mushroom & plant ID and typically respond quite quickly. Be sure to have good pics of the offending plant or mushrooms, from all angles and in good light, as these will be crucial to help ensure the best chance of an ID. 

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Mushroom Toxicity is Tip #43 of 101 Tips

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