Humans worldwide have used mushrooms as a food source, in cultural ceremonies, and to treat different diseases for over a millennium.
An example is the Egyptians, who believed consuming mushrooms promoted a healthy, long life. Similarly, Asians have used mushrooms to make cures for numerous diseases.
Recently scientists found that mushrooms can also help treat dog diseases and boost their immunity.
In this post, we define medicinal mushrooms, look at their nutritional composition, and list some of their benefits.
What are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are fungi that improve a dog's overall well-being or prevent various diseases by enhancing their immunity.
These mushrooms contain complex sugars (polysaccharides) and protein-sugar complexes (glycoproteins and proteins), which have immune boosting, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Medicinal mushrooms will be helpful if you seek a natural way to enhance your furry friend's immunity with minimal side effects.
Is it safe for canines to eat medicinal mushrooms?
Veterinary officers agree that medicinal mushrooms can provide a dog with numerous benefits, provided they are properly administered.
It's important to note that there are over 1000 mushroom species, and only a few have medicinal properties.
Others are highly toxic and can easily lead to death. Hence it would help if you were extra careful about which mushrooms you use to avoid harming your mutt.
Healing functions of medicinal mushrooms
Mushrooms are versatile plants; hence they can help with:
- Cell regeneration
- Disease treatment (intervention)
- Radiation or cancer prevention
- Disease prevention
Nutritional composition of medicinal mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms can facilitate disease healing and prevention due to their nutritional content. They contain:
- Lipids- Free fatty acids, phospholipids, sterol esters, sterols, mono and di-triglycerides
- Proteins- requisite amino acids
- Essential oils- triterpenes
- Vitamins- Folic acid, B complex, and proto-vitamin D
- Polysaccharides – chitin, glycogen, and beta D glucans
- Minerals- phosphorous, potassium, zinc, sulfur, selenium, geranium, and sodium
- Sugars- mannose, xylose, mannitol, galactose, and glucose
- Enzymes- proteolytic, antibacterial
Best medicinal mushrooms for dogs
After extensive research, scientists have found the ideal mushrooms for dogs are:
- Turkey tail
- Lion's mane
Each of the above mushrooms has its advantages. Therefore you can't use one to solve all your canines' issues.
However, combining one or two will boost your canine's immunity immensely.
Let's look at each
In Japanese, the word maitake stands for "dancing mushroom." These mushrooms are famous for their ability to lower cholesterol, stimulate tissue cells and impede tumor growth.
Maitake mushrooms can:
- Prevent cancer
- Aid in diabetes management
- Support canines with chronic liver issues
- Helps a dog's body recover while undergoing chemotherapy
In the wild, cordyceps mushrooms grow on caterpillars, a factor that makes them costly to harvest.
Luckily some farmers grow them. Even so, cultivated mushrooms aren't as effective as wild ones but are affordable.
Cordyceps possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. Additionally, they have several amino acids and four protein-bound polysaccharides.
Studies indicate that cordyceps mushrooms contain spectacular antitumor properties and protect dogs against heart and liver diseases.
If you have an overactive puppy, you can offer it cordyceps militaris or cordyceps Sinensis mushrooms as they contain energy replenishing properties.
Cordyceps mushrooms can also help in preventing:
- Chronic liver problems
- Kidney failure
- Lung carcinoma
- Geriatric disorders
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Leaky gut syndrome
Research has found that Chaga mushroom powder can effectively cure itchy dog skin.
Chaga, scientifically called Inonotus obliquus, has antioxidants that can improve a canine's fur, health, and skin.
Some veterinary doctors also argue that Chaga has anti-cancer effects, though it's yet to be proven since most studies were conducted on rodents.
Shiitake mushrooms contain ten amino acids and 25 different enzymes.
Additionally, the mushrooms provide your mutt with plenty of minerals, including zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
The numerous enzymes and minerals that shiitake mushrooms offer make them an ideal additive for a dog's diet (yours too)
Furthermore, shiitake mushrooms can improve blood circulation, lower cholesterol, and stimulate the production of white cells.
You may use these mushrooms to:
- Lower allergy symptoms
- Cure Cushing's disease
- Lessen radiation and chemotherapy side effects
- Manage urinary incontinence, particularly in puppies
- Pacify bronchial inflammation
If your dog isn't eating as it should, you can make a shitake broth to help stimulate the appetite.
Items you will require
- One tablespoon of sea salt
- ½ cup celery
- ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
- ¼ cup carrot
- A beef bone
- Eight dry shiitake mushrooms
- Soak the dry mushrooms overnight in a cup of water so that they can rehydrate
- Place the veggies, bone, turmeric, and salt in a soup pot, then add three cups of water.
- Boil the mixture and let it simmer while covered for an hour.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms, let it heat for forty-five minutes, and then cool down.
- Give your furry friend one tablespoon after two or three hours.
Ensure you observe your dog's behavior. You should visit a veterinary clinic if he is still not eating after a few days of feeding the mushrooms.
Turkey tail mushrooms
Turkey tail mushrooms can greatly aid dogs with a weakened immune system.
These mushrooms have a lot of beta-glucan polysaccharides; essential sugars in a dog's body that participate in the activation of the immune system. A feature that will reduce the chances of a canine falling sick.
A study conducted by vet students at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine observed the effect of turkey tail mushrooms on mutts with hemangiosarcoma.
Hemangiosarcoma is a common dog cancer that affects cell walls in blood vessels.
The students found that dogs that took a mix of turkey tail mushrooms had a higher survival rate than those which didn't.
Moreover, turkey tail mushrooms can also;
- Aid in the healing of pulmonary disorders
- Cure digestive and urinary tract infections
- Lessen radiation and chemotherapy effects
In China, reishi mushrooms are also called "immortality mushrooms."
These mushrooms possess immune-stimulating, antitumor, and antiviral properties.
Hence, they can help your mutt by:
- Improving heart health
- Increasing liver function
- Relieving chronic pain
- Prevent antihistamine release
- Heighten immune system operation
- Reishi mushrooms can also treat
- Heart disease
- Upper respiratory tract infections
Lion's mane mushrooms
Lions' mane, formally known as Hericium Erinaceus, is a medicinal mushroom beneficial to dogs and humans.
These mushrooms have been a key component in many Chinese medications that cure chronic diseases like diabetes and arthritis.
If your canine suffers from neurological problems like Parkinson's disease, offering a lion's mane supplement can help.
The mushrooms work by enhancing nerve regeneration and development, thereby reducing the advancement of Parkinson's disease.
Furthermore, lion's mane mushrooms can protect senior dogs from canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. That is because the mushrooms contain neuroprotective effects.
You can include lion's mane mushrooms in your furry friend's diet; they have bioactive compounds, minerals, and vitamins that aid in disease prevention.
Risks associated with medicinal mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms pose minimal side effects to canines. Even so, experts advise against issuing them to dogs with mushroom allergies.
Moreover, you should use medicinal mushroom supplements cautiously if your mutt has low blood pressure or chronic bleeding issues.
Ensure you consult a veterinary doctor before administering medicinal mushrooms and avoid long-term use, as they could place your canine at risk.
How to offer medicinal mushrooms to canines
Using the earlier methods, you can give your furry friend whole medicinal mushrooms by making a broth.
It's important that you thoroughly cook the mushrooms before feeding them to your dog since raw ones can be toxic and difficult to digest.
Instead of going through the challenge of buying the mushrooms, cooking, and feeding, you can use Northern Cascades Immune Defense Supplement.
The Immune Defense supplement has a balanced ratio of all the primary medicinal mushrooms. Hence your canine won't miss any of the benefits they provide.
Additionally, the supplement has no chemical additives and will support and enhance your dog's immunity.
As a pet parent, it's your primary duty to do all you can to enable your furry friend to live a long healthy life. Medicinal mushrooms can help you out, thanks to their numerous benefits.
If you are uncertain about using raw mushrooms, there are plenty of certified supplements such as Immune Defense that you can utilize.