With many pet owners looking to feed their animals healthier options, we often get asked whether they can eat certain foods. One common question is ‘Can dogs eat shiitake mushrooms?’ The answer is yes.
Packed with nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, shiitake mushrooms provide a healthy option for dogs to eat. However, you must cook the mushrooms and you should feed them in moderation, but we wanted to tell you why they are such a great healthy option.
Can dogs eat shiitake mushrooms?
What are shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are an edible mushroom grown in East Asia. They form a major part of a Japanese diet. The Japanese eat shiitake mushrooms for the taste and health benefits. These mushrooms are nutritious, with high levels of zinc, iron and copper. An excellent source of protein, they also boast anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
So, let’s see why shiitake mushrooms are so good for your dog.
Health benefits of shiitake mushrooms for dogs
Low fat, low salt: Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories. They’re ideal for maintaining a healthy body weight. They also make your dog feel ‘fuller’, which stops overeating.
Packed with vitamins: Shiitake mushrooms are full of vitamins. They contain B vitamins (essential for energy, brain function and hormone regulation), and vitamin D, which maintains healthy bones and hormones. Dogs need a food source of vitamin D as they can’t make it from sunlight.
Excellent source of protein: They are a wonderful source of protein and contain a variety of amino acids, which are essential for many processes in the body.
High in fibre: Fibre is an important part of your dog’s diet, but many processed dog foods contain crude ash of unknown origin to make up the fibre content. Shiitake mushrooms contain beta glucan. This is a soluble dietary fibre that stabilises blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and aids digestion.
Lowers cholesterol: Shiitake mushrooms contain eritadenine. This compound lowers cholesterol. Dogs on high-fat diets are prone to high cholesterol levels.
Good for healthy digestion: Shiitake mushrooms high in fibre, but also contain around 30 different enzymes that aid digestion. The most important one of these is amylase. Amylase breaks down starch molecules (a high-starch diet is common amongst many dogs).
Promotes healthy skin and coat: Shiitake mushrooms have high levels of trace minerals such as selenium. Selenium helps with skin and coat health. It also contains zinc, which aids healing, and copper, which promotes the absorption of iron and increases red blood cell production. Healthy red blood cells encourage hair growth and strong tissues.
Dos and don’ts of dogs eating shiitake mushrooms
You must cook shiitake mushrooms before feeding them to your dog. Chop the mushrooms up into small, bite-sized pieces to prevent choking. You can steam or boil the mushrooms, but don’t fry them or add oil or any seasoning. Add water to dehydrated or dried mushrooms and heat through.
Always serve in small quantities. Start off feeding infrequently with small amounts. Some dogs are allergic to mushrooms. Add a few cooked ones to their diet, depending on the size of the dog. Dogs benefit from a daily dose of mushrooms (3-4 mushrooms for an average-sized dog, or one or two teaspoons of dried).
Don’t feed raw or uncooked mushrooms to your dog. Dogs struggle to digest the fibre in uncooked mushrooms.
Don’t replace your dog’s diet with mushrooms.
Don’t feed your dog too many mushrooms.
Watch out for allergic reactions:
Vomiting or diarrhea
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
Shiitake mushrooms contain a variety of health benefits for dogs. They are perfectly safe to eat so long as you cook them plainly with no extra seasoning or oil. Feed in small quantities and never replace a meal with all mushrooms. When giving for the first time, feed a tiny amount and watch carefully for any adverse symptoms.