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Are mushrooms bad for dogs?

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Quick Answer

Not all mushrooms are toxic to dogs, though to be safe, dogs should not be permitted to eat them. Mushrooms are difficult to identify, so always assume the worst and bring a dog that has eaten mushrooms to the veterinarian immediately. Furthermore, the toxicity of a mushroom can be affected by the dog's underlying health.

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The toxicity of a mushroom can also vary based on the plant's environment. Some mushrooms considered edible in Europe have been linked to toxicity cases in North America. The little brown mushrooms found in backyards are generally not poisonous to either pets or humans, but caution should still be exercised.

Reactions to poisonous mushrooms are divided into four categories: gastrointestinal irritation, or vomiting and diarrhea; gastrointestinal upset accompanied by muscarinic signs, such as excessive salivation and tear production; depression and lethargy along with gastrointestinal upset and muscarinic signs; and hallucinations. Of these four, gastrointestinal irritation is the most common, requiring minimal hospitalization and typically resolving itself within 24 hours. However, the others can be fatal without medical intervention, sometimes causing liver failure, bleeding disorders, slowed heart rate and seizures.

Treatment usually consists of immediately inducing vomiting, followed by activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins. The best way to help a sick dog is to bring a sample of the consumed mushroom to the vet for identification.

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