Every year more and more dog parents are turning to mushrooms to enhance their dog’s health, and so today, we bring you an easy-to-follow mushroom dog treats recipe.
Mushrooms have been on the planet for approximately 1.3 billion years and are quite possibly one of the first living life forms on earth. Many eastern cultures use mushrooms as medicine and this trend has found its way to the west not only for humans but for our dogs as well.
And so today as we share the bountiful benefits of mushrooms, we can help alleviate any questions you have if mushrooms are good for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Mushrooms?
Have you ever wondered, are mushrooms good for dogs? Can my dog enjoy mushrooms? It appears to be an easy question at first glance, but the answer isn’t quite as simple.
Yes, even though mushrooms are not a common dog food ingredient, dogs can eat many different types of mushrooms. But, just like with humans, some mushrooms are toxic.
It can be difficult to identify safe mushrooms from toxic mushrooms in the wild. Even experienced foragers can easily mistake one variety of mushrooms for another. The safe choice for both you and your dog is to avoid eating wild mushrooms.
Mushrooms that are sold in stores for humans to eat are also safe for your dog. Not only do many dogs find mushrooms incredibly tasty, but they also offer some great nutritional benefits.
And here’s what else you need to know when feeding mushrooms to your dogs.
The Benefits of Mushrooms For Dogs
Let’s start off with some lingo. As you start to explore the wonderful world of mushrooms you’ll see words to describe the chemical compounds in them.
Adaptogens boost immunity, protect from disease, and promotes overall health and wellness. Certain mushrooms are adaptogens, and to qualify, they must assist the body in a nonspecific way (rather than a targeted purpose).
Another way to think about adaptogens is to imagine you have some fantastic news you want to celebrate. And you see your mother so that you can share the information. Unbeknownst to you, she didn’t have a great day herself, but she adjusts her energy so that she can celebrate with you.
That’s what adaptogens do; they sense what the body needs and behaves in a way to help the body be more healthy.
These work similar to adaptogens but focused on the immune system. They regulate immune system activity.
An analogy of what this looks like is thinking about your cruise control car. When you’re going uphill, the car’s cruise control kicks in to keep your car at the speed you have it set, and then when you’re going downhill it will slow it down so that the car doesn’t go faster than your speed setting.
In other words, it helps your dog’s immune system not over or under-react and keeps the activity where it needs to be.
These chemical compounds act as immunomodulators and act differently depending on the mushroom.
For example, the polysaccharides found in maitake mushrooms help to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar.
Mostly known for being instrumental in their ability to reduce cancerous cells that have invaded the body. And since beta-glucans are not produced in the body they have to be consumed in the food we feed our dogs.
Also known as terpenes, terpenoids are chemical compounds in mushrooms with antiviral and antibacterial properties.
How Do I Prepare Mushrooms for My Dog?
A fun and easy way to feed mushrooms to your dog is through mushroom dog treats. But, it’s not the only way to add mushrooms into your dog’s diet. Here are some different ways that you can leverage the benefits of mushrooms for dogs.
Mushrooms That Can Be Cooked And Added to Your Dog’s Food
These mushrooms are easily found at your local grocery store or farmer’s markets:
Button mushrooms: These are the white mushrooms you see at every grocery store. It’s a fantastic source of vitamin D and supports cardiovascular health.
Shiitake mushrooms: Best known for their immunomodulating abilities. Great for immunity, cardiovascular, and liver health.
Lion’s mane: Named “The mushroom for the mind”, lion’s mane is great for older dogs through its ability to improve cognitive function. It also helps with digestion and boosts energy.
Oyster mushrooms: Improves immune system function against respiratory infections.
Clamshell mushrooms: Fantastic antioxidant
Mushroom Powdered Supplements That Can Be Added To Your Dog’s Food
Some mushrooms aren’t easily found at your farmer’s markets and are more commonly found as supplements.
Reishi: Called “The King of Medicinal Mushrooms”, reishi improves immune function, helps with seasonal allergies, supports lunch and respiratory health, and supports balanced blood sugar levels. It’s used for its medicinal purposes because of the high amount of polysaccharides it appears to contain.
Turkey Tail: Helps fight against cancer, supports digestion, lung health, body fluid regulation, and supporting vitality. Turkey tail contains one of the highest amounts of beta-glucans of all mushrooms, which can help keep immune systems healthy. And like its other medicinal mushroom counterparts, turkey tail is full of polysaccharides and triterpenes that give it its immunomodulating properties.
Maitake: Known as the “dancing mushroom,” these mushrooms help prevent cancer and support dogs with liver problems. It has powerful immunomodulating properties due to its beta-glucan polysaccharides.
Cordyceps: Great for dogs with leaky gut syndrome, kidney failure, and liver disorders.
Functional Mushroom Dog Treats
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 banana
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 cups raw mushrooms
- 1/3 tsp cinnamon
- Add in 2 teaspoons of mushroom powder (Reishi, lion's mane, or any mushroom powder supplement).
- You can skip the oats and just use wheat flour. The resulting treat will be a harder "cookie" and less chewy.
Prepare the Cookie Dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together including oats, flour, cinnamon, and mushroom supplement powder (if you are adding that).
- Rinse out your raw mushrooms and chop them into small pieces.
- Cook the mushroom pieces in a non-stick pan until the released moisture cooks dry. You'll end up with almost a quarter cup of cooked mushrooms.
- Mash 1/2 banana in a bowl with the back of a fork.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the banana including the cooked mushrooms, the large egg, and honey.
- Mix with a spatula and your hands until the oats are all coated and well mixed together. You know it's done when it looks like a hearty cookie dough.
Assembling the Cookies onto the Tray
- Use a non-stick cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or prep the cookie sheet with oil.
- Take a teaspoon of teh dough, form little balls, and fill up the cookie sheet. Give them enough space so that when you flattentthem, they do't touch.
- Use the back of a fork to flatten the cookie balls. Wet the fork with water so that the dough doesn't stick to the fork.
Bake the Mushroom Dog Treats
- Bake the treats for 20 minutes.
- Once they are ready, take them out of the oven and remove them from the cookie sheet to cool on a plate or large bowl.
- Transfer them into your treat jars.
- Treats will last a week in a jar, two weeks in the fridge, or the freezer for up to two months.
Can Humans Enjoy Mushroom Dog Treats Too?
If you have been reading our blog, you will know we are a fan of helping our dogs live healthier lives. We love to share our food which they can eat as toppers.
Since we made these treats using the same ingredients we would use for our food; we tasted them too.
Compared to the honey and carrot treats we made a few months ago, these are dryer and harder. Also, since we didn’t use almond flour, it’s a little blander to our human tastebuds.
That said, the reason we made the treats this way was for our dogs and so that the mushroom flavor isn’t overpowering or strong. And so overall, the treat is better suited for our dogs. Which is who we are making these for in the first place.
The main benefits of feeding mushrooms to dogs are a preventative against disease, a way to boost their immune system and protect them from cancer.
And today, with the popularity of mushrooms, you can easily find them fresh at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.
Using them as a key ingredient for mushroom dog treats allows you an easy way to make them and feed them every day.
Enjoy making these mushroom dog treats, and share your photos with us when you do by tagging @allpetvoices on Instagram or Facebook.
About the Author: Dog nutrition is Hannah Zulueta’s life calling. She’s on a mission to bring nutrition to as many dog parents as possible by demystifying and simplifying how you can feed your dog fresh food. You can find more from Hannah at Daily Dog Food Recipes.