Medicinal Mushrooms and Dogs
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
One of the ones I have been MOST excited to see is supplements that are entirely mushroom based for pets, and I really wanted to try my best to share some of my passion for medicinal mushrooms. They really are the coolest things. First I will share a video with you from a TED Talk by Paul Stamets, a mycologist doing big things in the world. This has nothing to do with dogs, or even human supplements but shows the power and uniqueness of mushrooms to solve some of the biggest obstacles we are faced with in our current world, and might give you a bigger appreciation for their extensive uses. If you find the time to watch it, I strongly encourage you to; it’s fascinating stuff.
In addition I will share this article about how mushrooms are being considered to use to save the bees!
Otherwise to keep this from becoming too long, I will share with you a handful of really interesting points about mushrooms, and then summarize some of the pet products we carry and how they may be of benefit.
Interesting Things About Mushrooms:
Mycelium (think of that part as like the roots of a mushroom) form interlacing networks that share information, react to change, and protect the host by staying in constant contact with its surrounding environment, to create enzymatic and chemical responses. These networks can expand to THOUSANDS OF ACRES, to be the greatest mass of any individual organism on the planet (1).
In fact, the largest living thing on Earth, pictured above is a honey fungus measuring 3.8km, found across the Blue Mountains in Oregon, and it's more than 2000 years old. (2)
There are so many historical uses of mushrooms but here is one of my favorites. If any of you remember Otzi the Ice Man, (Europe’s oldest found human mummy), you may be interested to learn that he was found with amadou and birch polypore on his person to help survive the alps in Italy (3)
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries and have a strong resonance in traditional Asian practices
Some features about most mushrooms: they are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immunomodulatory (NOT boosting which is important in instances where the immune system is TOO active which occurs in autoimmune conditions), anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant (among many other things).
While each mushroom will possess all of these properties, each mushroom also has some unique characteristics, that allow us to select a product or supplement ideal for your dog or cat's condition. The list is a lot more extensive than I'm going to make it, but to simplify here are some things you can remember about each:
Reishi: Great for anxious pets (and people), adrenal supportive, calming
Cordyceps: Has an affinity for the lungs, especially helpful for active or working dogs
Turkey Tail: VERY powerful immune supportive mushroom which makes it a great overall choice for dogs with seasonal allergies or food sensitivities.
Chaga: Has an affinity for the skin, and is supportive for animals with dull coat, and itchy skin. Overall energy supportive.
We will highlight a couple of products we carry that are mushroom containing, and we want to take a moment to include some extra information about our product of the week: Bixbi's Skin and Coat supplement.
Bixbi's Skin and Coat: The mushrooms in this product reduce allergic reactions that often affect the skin by modulating the immune system. This is unique because many products focus on reducing what happens AFTER a pet has been exposed to an allergen (such as natural anti-histamines) not the reason WHY allergies are happening in the first place. They also contain mushrooms that support liver detoxification, which when impaired, can also result in problematic skin issues.
Lastly, I wanted to reference this article because it has a unique summary of various mushrooms (human use, but still relevent). It’s quite scientific but really captures a load of benefits:
If you’re interested in trying any of these products I’d LOVE to chat with you. At this point it’s one of the few things I can talk extremely comfortably about as I learn more about the pet world. Thanks for reading!
(1)Stamets, P. (2005). Mycelium Running. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press.
(2)Earth - The Largest Living Thing on Earth Is a Humongous Fungus
Nic Fleming - http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141114-the-biggest-organism-in-the-world
(3)Stamets, P., & Zwickey, H. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(1), 46–47.