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The Benefits Of Maitake Mushrooms For Dogs Will Get Those Furry Paws Dancing

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on August 8, 2022

With a wide variety of species, mushrooms are a many-splendored source of nutrients and energy for the body. Every serving provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For us, mushrooms can decrease cancer risks, support the immune system, improve digestive health and even protect the brain, proving that these little fungi are big powerhouses when it comes to your health. But did you know mushrooms can benefit your dog too?

Certain types of mushrooms provide a boost to the canine immune system while helping to ease inflammation. Plus, they make a tasty snack! And what dog doesn’t love something delicious?

With our Mushroom Gold Bone Broth Immune Support Powder, you can easily give your dog the benefits of bone broth and mushrooms in one easy-to-scoop formula. Your dog will love you for giving them something that’s healthy and yummy, too! It’s a win for both of you.

While this bone broth is packed with a bouquet of mushrooms and all the goodness they bring, there’s one species in the mix that sometimes gets lost behind its more well-known counterparts. Though it’s not a huge celebrity in the fungus kingdom, the maitake mushroom should be, as it’s packed with powerful health aids that can help dogs live life to the fullest!

The Maitake: A Mushroom So Great You Just Have to Dance

Legend has it that Buddhist nuns and woodcutters working way out in the forested wilderness of Japan discovered the petaled mounds of the maitake growing wild and thick at the bases of old trees. So happy to see the plethora of maitake scattered along the forest floor, the nuns and woodcutters began to dance. And with all the nutritional and medicinal properties the maitake contains, it’s no wonder they danced for joy at finding this wild gem. It was their celebration that earned the species its name as maitake means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese.

maitake mushroom benefits for dogs
Matthew Mendoza/Flickr

But the maitake isn’t just native to Japan. It’s also found growing wild in hardwood forests across China, Europe, and North America. It often prefers the base of oak, elm, and sometimes maple trees. The older and deader the tree, the better!

Maitake Looks Like A Fluffy Chicken

Thanks to this polypore fungi’s worldwide reach and love of old oak trees, the maitake mushroom has come to be known by many different names throughout the centuries. Scientifically known as the Grifola frondosa, the maitake also goes by the names: sheep head mushroom, signorina or “the unmarried woman,” king of the mushrooms, and hen-of-the-woods. The cute moniker hen-of-the-woods gained popularity because the maitake’s layered and mounded growth looks like a chicken with fluffy feathers roosting at the base of a tree.

Clusters can range from dainty little mounds with just a few heads up to an impressive fifty pounds! But don’t expect to stumble across one so large, because as Paul Stamets, founder of Fungi Perfecti and an advisor for the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School in Tucson, explained:

“Massive maitake can form annually from dying dendritic tree roots for many years, even decades. The locations of these robust patches are often family secrets passed down from one generation to another.”

maitake mushroom benefits for dogs

Are Maitake Mushrooms Safe for Dogs?

But, wait! Is it safe for dogs to eat mushrooms?

Yes, dogs can safely consume some types of mushrooms, but they should come from a grocery store or other regulated supplier. Wild mushrooms are a big no-no for dogs and humans alike, as many species are toxic and could cause severe illness and even death. Symptoms of mushroom toxicity in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.

Many mushroom species have a lookalike, and if you or your dog were to eat a poisonous specimen mistakenly, you both risk falling severely ill. And while Dr. Justine A. Lee, DVM, DACVECC, estimates only one hundred species of mushrooms to be poisonous, it doesn’t take much to make your pup sick.

“Depending on what type of mushroom is accidentally ingested, poisoning can be seen even with just a small bite,” Dr. Lee explained. “Mushrooms are very difficult to identify, and that should only be done by mycologists.”

So, unless you’re a foraging expert, stick to feeding your dog mushrooms from the grocery store or other trusted sources. Also, when cooking mushrooms you plan on sharing with your furry friend, avoid using seasonings like garlic, onion, chives, salt, pepper, and paprika as they are bad for dogs. And now that you know, let’s explore the maitake mushroom benefits for dogs!

RELATED: 20 Fruits & Veggies Your Dog Will Love!

Maitake Mushrooms Pack A Nutritious Punch

More than a yummy and savory snack, maitake mushrooms are low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat. Solidifying their place in the world of healthy foods, they’re also high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, and low in sodium. Plus, they pack a nutritional punch by providing vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, a range of B vitamins, choline, zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

In one cup of diced raw maitake mushroom, you’ll find ninety-eight percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium for strong bones. That same cup of maitake also provides twenty-three percent of daily allowances for niacin or B13, a vitamin responsible for converting food into energy. And you’ll also consume twenty percent of your needed copper for the day when you scarf down that cup of mushrooms. Just think of all the healthy red blood cells that copper will help your body make!

That’s a lot of healthy nutrition in just a little bit of mushroom!

Maitake Makes a Great Medicine, Too

Asian cultures have long included the maitake in their diets and medicines thanks to its ability to support heart health and immune function. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports animal studies have also shown maitake mushrooms can slow cancer growth and aid in blood sugar regulation.

In humans, maitake also aids in the treatment of several medical issues, such as HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, colds, weight loss, and infertility issues brought on by polycystic ovary syndrome. Most studies on maitake investigate the human implications, but information on maitake mushroom benefits for dogs is becoming more readily available as paw parents are beginning to understand the healing powers of the mushroom when it comes to canine health.

Maitake Mushroom Benefits for Dogs

But one thing has already proven quite certain regarding mushrooms and canines. Adding maitake mushrooms to your dog’s diet can benefit your best friend by helping to prevent cancer, support chemotherapy treatments, regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and even aid the liver in metabolizing fat more efficiently.

maitake mushroom benefits for dogs

Helps Prevent Cancer

Beta-glucan, a complex carbohydrate found in maitake mushrooms, contains D-fraction, a substance known to slow tumor growth thanks to its ability to stimulate cancer-killing T-cells. In conjunction with other immune cells, T-cells roam the body looking for material that could prove hazardous to health. Once T-cells identify an enemy, they surround and destroy it.

One study of canine cancer cells revealed the power of beta-glucan and D-fraction when ninety percent of the malignant cells involved in the experiment died within a 24-hour window. While this study has promising implications, it doesn’t prove maitake mushrooms can defeat cancer with one hundred percent surety. But used in conjunction with vet-approved therapy, maitake could give your dog’s body some extra fight.

Provides Support for Dogs Taking Chemotherapy

Dogs undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment run the risk of a weakened immune system, making them more susceptible to illness and infection. But maitake mushrooms can potentially strengthen the body’s macrophages, a white blood cell type that surrounds and destroys harmful invaders and dead cells. These killer cells also call other immune cells into action, with everyone working together to create a strong healing response that could ease the effects of chemotherapy.

Aids in the Management of Diabetes

Because beta-glucan is a complex carbohydrate, it has the power to regulate blood sugar. And guess what fungus packs a load of these polysaccharides? That’s right, the maitake mushroom! Found in the walls of mushroom cells, b-glucan provides support to diabetes treatments by naturally lowering blood glucose levels.

Lowers Cholesterol

The beta-glucan found in maitake mushrooms comes to the body’s aid by helping lower cholesterol levels. In humans, maitake improves the function of arteries, providing a boost to the entire cardiovascular system and possibly even reducing high blood pressure. At this point, further study on maitake mushroom benefits for cholesterol and blood pressure problems in dogs still needs exploring.

Maintains a Healthy Liver

Maitake mushrooms can also benefit dogs by promoting a healthy liver. Based on a Japanese study of the maitake and its effects on the liver, scientists revealed that the maitake mushroom has the ability to change the way the body metabolizes fat by inhibiting lipid buildup in the liver.

Overall Immune Support

Like other edible mushroom species, the maitake is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants that can make a body stronger and more resilient. And those same properties that stimulate immune cells to fight cancer can also help a healthy dog stay that way. With all these killer cells roaming the body and on the hunt for anything wrong, invaders don’t stand a chance, leading to less illness and inflammation.

maitake mushroom benefits for dogs

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Maitake Mushrooms?

Because blood sugar regulation is one of the many maitake mushroom benefits, parents of dogs with hypoglycemic issues should use caution when giving maitake, as blood glucose levels could potentially drop too low. Also, some dogs prove allergic or intolerant to mushrooms even if the species is safe for consumption. For more on the symptoms of food allergies, check out Dog Allergies: How To Spot, Treat Naturally, And Help Prevent.

Are There Any Drug Interactions with Maitake Mushrooms?

Some prescription drugs could react adversely with maitake when taken together. Dogs seeking treatment for diabetes and taking medications that alter blood sugar levels have the potential to experience an interaction that could cause a drop in blood glucose levels. Monitor blood sugar levels when dosing your dog with maitake mushrooms.

Take care with medications for blood pressure, too, as they can interact with maitake mushrooms by dropping blood pressure too low. Maitake mushrooms could also intensify the effects of blood thinners, resulting in a higher risk for bleeding. If your dog takes any medications, be sure to talk with your veterinarian before adding maitake mushrooms to your pup’s diet.

The Easiest Way to Give Your Dog Maitake Mushrooms

To easily treat your dog to the benefits of maitake mushrooms, sprinkle your dog’s food with a scoop of our Mushroom Gold Bone Broth Immune Support Powder.

Our bone broth powder is packed with all the nutrients your dog needs to help restore gut health, boost the immune system, and nourish the joints. And the added mushroom blend gives the immune system an extra kick to keep your pup feeling their best. Plus, the savory taste of chicken and mushrooms will make mealtime exciting again. Even the pickiest of eaters will approve!

Key ingredients include:

  • Organic Chicken-Flavored Bone Broth – supports joint rejuvenation, promotes healthy digestion, and inspires skin & coat health
  • Reishi Mushroom – a natural anti-inflammatory and immunity booster
  • Chaga Mushroom – a powerful anti-inflammatory that can aid in relieving arthritis and high blood pressure
  • Cordyceps Mushroom – boosts immunity
  • Shiitake Mushroom – a natural immunity booster that also supports heart health
  • Turkey Tail Mushroom – promotes a healthy gut, and of course
  • the amazing Maitake Mushroom

Made in the USA and formulated by veterinarians, you can bet our premium bone broth is made with honest and safe ingredients. The well-being of your dog is our priority. So, give your pup a scoop of nutritious goodness and provide them with all the benefits of maitake mushrooms.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.

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