There’s no doubt that medicinal mushrooms are great for dogs and cats. These special mushrooms are packed with nutrients that can provide immune support, reduce oxidative stress and improve cognitive function. But the question is, will your furry friend actually eat them?
That all depends on how you administer the mushrooms. Raw mushrooms don’t taste the best, and they come with a slew of potential health risks. Medicinal mushroom supplements are generally safe, although some taste better than others. Learn all your options and decide which one is best for your pet.
Options for giving mushrooms to your pets
Pet parents have several options for feeding medicinal mushrooms to their dogs or cats. Some of the most common include powders, tinctures and homemade broths. While these options certainly have their merits, they might not be the right choice for every pet.
Here are some considerations for each one.
- Powders: Medicinal mushrooms can get processed into powder form. Many pet parents like giving powder supplements because they easily mix into food. However, some pets are sensitive to the slightest change in taste. Picky eaters might turn up their noses if they sense something different about their food.
- Tinctures: Some pet parents might try mixing a mushroom tincture into food. Similar to powder supplements, a tincture might not be the best option for pets that don’t take kindly to dietary changes. Plus, tinctures can overwhelmingly smell or taste like mushrooms. This can make it harder to administer the supplement.
- Homemade broths: Some might forego supplements altogether. Instead, these pet parents administer medicinal mushrooms by steeping them in hot water. Cooking with raw mushrooms can be risky for several reasons. Mushroom species are easy to mix up, and feeding the wrong kinds could accidentally poison your pet! Also, it’s much harder to achieve the correct dose with raw mushrooms.
Why supplements are the way to go
Supplements are generally the safest way to give medicinal mushrooms to your dog or cat. Pet parents are advised against picking their own mushrooms in the wild. You might think you’re picking chaga when it could be something entirely different. Even if you take the time to study different mushroom species, it’s not worth potentially compromising your pet’s safety!
It’s not just about picking the right mushrooms. They have to grow in the right conditions, too. If you pick your own mushrooms, there’s no way to detect the presence of soil contamination. Reputable supplement brands source their mushrooms from the proper growing conditions. They also know how to wash, prepare and formulate medicinal mushrooms the right way.
Some pet parents might cook raw mushrooms to kill off the bacteria. However, cooking mushrooms can kill off their nutrients, as well. When mushrooms reach a certain temperature, they lose significant amounts of B vitamins and potassium. Supplements preserve these vital nutrients so your pet can achieve the maximum health benefits.
Also, raw mushrooms don’t come with dosing instructions. A pet parent could accidentally give their furry friend too much, which could lead to side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or seizures. Mushroom supplements have dosing instructions on the label to ensure your dog receives the correct amount. Of course, you should always double-check these instructions with a vet to see if your pet needs a different dose.
Benefits of chewable mushroom supplements
Supplements are much safer than foraging for your own mushrooms. But as you might’ve noticed, there are a ton of different supplements on the market. Pet parents have their choice of capsules, powders, tinctures, tablets and chewables. While their nutritional content might be the same, these supplements differ in the way you administer them to your dog or cat.
If you’ve never administered a mushroom supplement, chewables are a great place to start. Chewable mushroom supplements tend to be the most effective option for picky eaters because they smell and taste like treats. Unlike the other options, chewable mushroom supplements don’t taste anything like mushrooms! Instead, they’re infused with delicious flavors like peanut butter, salmon and beef.
Since they taste amazing, chewable supplements are great for dogs who suffer from a loss of appetite. Other types of supplements can be off-putting to dogs with digestive upset, kidney disease or dental problems. It’s also often difficult to encourage a dog to eat when they’re going through cancer treatment. Due to the supplement’s high palatability, pets with chronic health problems are more likely to ingest chewables than any other type of supplement.
There’s no question as to whether medicinal mushrooms are good for your pets. Rather, the question is how you’re going to administer them. Supplements are your safest option, specifically the chewable kind. Your dog or cat can get their day’s worth of nutrients, and they get to enjoy a delicious treat!