Seven Minute Read
This post was updated in March 2022 to reflect revisions to The Forever Dog
Mushrooms? For dogs?
Yes, my friends.
Usually, when you read the words “mushrooms” and “dog” in the same sentence, it’s some scary story of a pup who happened on a forest mushroom, ate it, and became deathly ill.
But, those aren’t the kind of mushrooms we’re talking about here. We’re here to celebrate the good mushroom–the kind we people eat (and should eat more of.)
According to so many health experts (both human and animal), consuming mushrooms daily can extend our lifespans and, more importantly, our health.
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The Forever Dog Inspiration
If you’ve hung out with us on Instagram, you already know we’re love Dr. Karen Becker (and Rodney Habib) and their new book The Forever Dog.
It’s from their book we first learned of mushroom broth for small dogs. Being the curiosity geeks we are, we did some additional research ourselves and were surprised to learn that even Trupanion, our pet insurance company, writes about the health benefits of mushrooms.
But, back to Dr. Karen Becker and The Forever Dog (really, you need this book.) She writes that for humans, those of us who eat an 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of mushrooms a day “have a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who do not eat mushrooms.”
My poor husband is now finding mushrooms in nearly everything WE eat. 😬 And for our dogs? Dr. Becker calls mushrooms “extraordinary.” Their varieties allow holistic veterinarians to treat central nervous system issues and numerous cancers. In addition to acting as medicine, most common mushrooms contain powerful chemicals that transform our everyday health. One such chemical is “ergo,” known as the longevity vitamin. Sounds good to us!
Mushrooms can be medicine and help extend the healthy lives of our small dogs.
Health Benefits of People Mushrooms for Dogs
According to Trupanion, good mushrooms
- Stabilize blood sugar and metabolism
- Lower cholesterol, boost weight loss, and aid in preventing fatty liver disease
- Help prevent viral infections
- Boost immune system
- Reduce blood pressure
- Prevent heart disease
- Prevent and battle cancer
In her book, Dr. Becker echoes these types of benefits, noting also that mushrooms reduce inflammation and increase vaccine responses.
Dr. Becker’s Longevity Junkie Medicinal Mushroom Broth
We love the idea of food as medicine, so we were thrilled to learn that people mushrooms are good for dogs. In fact, mushrooms are little miracle-workers.
While I was tempted to dive in immediately with making mushrooms for the girls, I did what I always do when it comes to their health: I consulted additional resources. (And you should too).
I learned that mushrooms shouldn’t be served raw to dogs, as the fungi’s nutrients are encased in a way that requires cooking to release them. I also learned that raw mushrooms have some toxicity that is destroyed in the cooking process.
And, I found a wonderful, detailed online resource on medicinal mushrooms from Dogs Naturally Magazine (love this publication).
So, I returned to The Forever Dog and took out Dr. Becker’s recipe for Mushroom Broth. She suggests simmering 1 cup of mushrooms in 12 cups of water, and she shares some secret-ingredient additions.
Important Note: Some original copies of Dr. Becker’s book incorrectly state that you should simmer the mushrooms in two cups of water. That has been corrected on her website, and it must also have been corrected in my Audible and Kindle versions. On her website, you can see This and Other Corrections In Dr. Becker’s Book.
I did NOT include these additional special spices to our first batch, because I ALWAYS accustom the girls to new foods one ingredient at a time.
However, I did add cinnamon, a spice that’s great in small doses for dogs and a taste the girls already know and love. After cooking, we froze the broth in the same molds we used for our Perfect Pumpkin Treats for Small Dogs.
Mushroom Broth for Small Dogs: The Results?
For the past ten days or so, we’ve topped each of their daily meals with one frozen bone. We melt it into their food with steaming, filtered water to rehydrate their freeze-dried raw. (We use our gorgeous Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Electric Kettle, which heats water quickly and allows us to control the water temperature easily).
The verdict? Our small dogs LOVE the mushroom broth addition! And we love that we’re taking one more simple step toward extending their lives.
Remember, we are simply fellow small dog fans who read voraciously and care a great deal about our pups living long, healthy lives. We write for educational purposes only, and you should not rely on our information without your own research and consultation with your pup’s veterinarian or certified animal nutritionist.
Which Mushrooms Are Good For Small Dogs?
Well, obviously, YOU shouldn’t be prescribing mushrooms for your pup, unless you’re doing so in consultation with a holistic veterinarian or animal nutritionist. But, you can start with this online safe mushroom guide from Dog’s Naturally or Karen Becker’s book. Since our girls are healthy, we’ve decided to rotate through each of the mushroom types for the most benefit.
We’ve never tried most of these mushrooms ourselves, and we look forward to the adventure of trying turkey tail, lion’s mane, cordyceps, maitake, and chaga. Although –true confessions–we might skip the cordyceps, which apparently grows on caterpillars….just…eew.
But, part of the benefit of making your small dog’s diet healthier is that your own diet improves as a result. At least, that’s what we’ve found, and we hope the same for you. So, without further delay, read on for the easy recipe.
Mushroom Broth for Dogs Recipe
1 C Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (any type from store; unless you’re an expert, don’t use wild mushrooms)
12 C Water
Optional: Your pup’s favorite herbs or spices (we used cinnamon here)
1. Add Water and Simmer
While mushroom broth recipes on the web vary, we stuck with Dr. Becker’s instructions as she gives precise dosing for smaller dogs. Simply add the mushrooms to twelve cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Puree in Blender or Food Processor
We use our Cuisinart immersion blender, as we’re lazy, and we love being able to mix in the same pan in which we cooked. It actually may take a little longer than using a blender, but we’ll sacrifice time for fewer equipment to lug out and dishes to deal with :).
3. Pour Into Silicone Molds and Freeze
Ready the silicone molds by placing them on a cookie sheet. Transfer broth in liquid measuring cup and pour carefully into mold. Wipe up any spills. Set cookie sheet with molds on flat area in freezer. Once frozen, transfer to container and keep frozen.
In terms of serving sizes of mushroom broth for dogs, Dr. Becker recommends 1 oz. per 10 pounds of body weight. For reference, a tablespoon contains about 1/2 an ounce, so a 10 pound dog would get about 2 tablespoons of broth. So, measure your molds to determine how many frozen treats to give your pup on a daily basis. In the winter, we obviously melt ours, but since the girls love ice cubes, we will likely use them as healthy frozen treats in the summer.
That’s it! Happy, healthy eating to you, your pup, and the other people in your home. If you haven’t already, please join our email list so you won’t miss a new post! We’d love to have you join us in this small dog adventure.
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Remember This Is Not Nutrition or Medical Advice!
Important! Please be advised that our blog articles offer generalized information only. You should not assume that recipes, tips or tricks are safe or effective for your particular dog’s needs! Always proceed with great caution when trying new foods, especially. You must do your own additional research and should not rely on this information as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health condition or problem affecting your dog. All questions or concerns you have about your dog’s health should be addressed with your veterinarian, animal nutritionist, or other healthcare provider. We do hope our writing helps you help your small dog live a long, happy, and healthy family life.