Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi. There are currently over 10,000 known species of mushrooms, and many are yet to be discovered. Edible mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed around the world. Some species are also prized for their powerful medicinal properties.
In this article, we'll explain why mushrooms can be a great addition to your pet's diet. We'll also take a look at a few of the most beneficial medicinal mushrooms for dogs and cats.
Why Give Your Pet Mushrooms?
Edible mushrooms are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including antioxidants and digestive enzymes. Some species of mushrooms also maintain the immune system, support cellular health and maintain against other serious illnesses.
It's important to note that only certain types of mushrooms are beneficial to your pet's health. In fact, some mushrooms are highly toxic and can cause poisoning in pets. Wondering which types of mushrooms are safe and healthy for pets? In the next section of this article we'll highlight a few of our favorites.
Safe and Healthy Medicinal Mushrooms for Pets
Shiitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake, Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail, and Chaga mushrooms are seven of the most beneficial medicinal mushrooms for pets. Let's take a look at a few of the key benefits of each of these safe and healthy mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are the best-studied of the medicinal mushrooms. They are native to East Asia and are known as the "Elixir of Life" in Japan. Shiitake mushrooms are rich in protein. They are also an excellent source of minerals, essential amino acids, and enzymes.
These powerful medicinal mushrooms contain glucomannan, a fiber that helps moderate blood sugar, and lentinan, a substance with antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and antiviral properties. Shiitake mushrooms are commonly used to mitigate the effects of toxic medications. They are also known to lower cholesterol, soothe inflammation, and reduce blood pressure.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are known as the "Mushroom of Immortality". They are a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine for pets and have been used for millennia by shamans and healers around the world.
These healing medicinal mushrooms stimulate and enhance the immune system and have powerful anti-inflammatory and cell supporting effects. They also increase energy, support healthy circulation, and help improve respiratory function.
The amazing health benefits of Reishi mushrooms are backed by clinical studies. They have been demonstrated to help treat a number of conditions, including hyperlipidemia and diabetes.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) mushrooms are also known as Caterpillar Mushrooms. Why? Because they grow on caterpillars!
This traditional medicinal mushroom has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It also supports the liver, purifies the kidneys, detoxifies the blood, and promotes a healthy immune system. Cordyceps mushrooms are known to reduce fatigue and enhance endurance. They are also used in the treatment of a wide variety of health conditions, including leaky gut syndrome, asthma and respiratory diseases, and chronic liver disorders.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) means "Dancing Mushroom" in Japanese. These potent medicinal mushrooms are known for their cell supporting properties. They also stimulate the immune system, protect the liver, lower cholesterol, and help regulate sugar and insulin metabolism.
Maitake mushrooms can be used to support your pet's overall health. They are also highly beneficial for pets with health conditions such as diabetes and liver problems. In addition, Maitake mushrooms help reduce the side effects of some medications.
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms are named after their unique appearance. Other common names include sheep's head mushroom, monkey head mushroom, bearded tooth mushroom, and pom pom mushroom.
These healthy medicinal mushrooms promote digestive health and protect the gastrointestinal tract. They also stimulate nerve growth and help regenerate damaged nerves. Lion's Mane mushrooms are especially beneficial for senior pets. They are known to boost the brain and nervous system and improve cognitive function.
The Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) mushroom is named after its multicolored patterns which resemble the rings on a wild turkey's tail. The medicinal mushroom is known for its immune boosting benefits and cellular health properties.
It is also antimicrobial, antiviral, antiallergic, and anti-inflammatory. A recent study by the Veterinary School at the University of Penn State demonstrated that Turkey Tail mushrooms can support pets with hemangiosarcoma (a common form of cancer in dogs). Turkey Tail mushrooms also support the immune system and promote digestive and urinary health.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushrooms are known as the "Gift from God". These beneficial medicinal mushrooms are high in antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. They also have immune boosting properties and are prized for their cellular health effects. Chaga mushrooms are especially beneficial for pets with allergies and autoimmune diseases. They also lower cholesterol levels and can be used in the treatment of various diseases, including diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.
How to Feed Your Pet Medicinal Mushrooms
Feeding your pet medicinal mushrooms is a great way to support their overall health and treat common health conditions. Please take care to feed safe and healthy medicinal mushrooms for dogs and cats. It's important never to feed raw mushrooms as they are difficult to digest and may be toxic to pets.
The safest and easiest way to introduce your pet to medicinal mushrooms is by supplementing their diet with a high-quality mushroom supplement. Organic, holistically formulated mushroom supplement blends with Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Maitake mushrooms are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and beta-glucans to support immunity, digestion, and wellbeing.