What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms? Are They Safe for Pets?

March 22, 2024

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Raw mushrooms surrounding Earth Buddy mushroom capsules for dogs with active ingredients like turkey tail mushrooms.

Adaptogenic mushrooms are sparking attention in the holistic pet space due to their abilities to promote homeostasis (balance) which helps maintain the general health of all ages and breeds. They’re full of beta-glucans, triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and other phytochemicals which are all known to help keep animals in peak condition. Now that you have a general idea of the benefits, you’re probably wondering “what are adaptogenic mushrooms and where can they be found?”

Understanding Adaptogens in Medicinal Mushrooms

Adaptogens, encompassing a diverse array of natural substances found in plants and mushrooms, play a key role in helping reduce the negative effects of stress. These bioactive compounds act by modulating various stress response pathways within the body, mainly within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system.

Real lion’s mane mushroom, reishi mushroom, and turkey tail mushrooms for dogs are non-toxic and support pet allergies.

Through the interactions with this pathway, adaptogens help promote normal hormone balance from the adrenal glands, support immune function, and help reduce the effects of normal environmental stress, both physical and emotional.

They have also been found to have bi-directional activity which means they’re able to adapt to specific environments. Reishi and Cordyceps are good examples of this as not only do they support the immune system, but they also support normal cardiovascular, immune and neurological function.

What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms?

Adaptogenic mushrooms have the properties discussed above. It’s important to note that not all mushrooms have these properties. And not only do they not carry these properties, but some mushrooms can even be fatal if your dog eats them. Don’t let your dog wander around the woods gobbling up any fungi they come across. There are specific species that promote and support long-term health.

Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms Psychoactive?

The adaptogenic mushrooms we are speaking of aren’t psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin is found in the Psilocybe, Panaeolus, and Gymnopilus genera and produces noticeable effects including deep hallucinations. These mushrooms are incredibly toxic to dogs and shouldn’t be offered without further research into the topic.

There is a significant amount of controversy with this topic as some veterinarians are attempting to decriminalize psilocybin. Their reasoning behind the controversy is because beginning studies suggest these mushrooms may help maintain calmness, which could potentially promote a higher quality of life. They’re a long way from offering magic mushrooms (psilocybin), but some veterinarians believe there’s promise in that arena. We’ll have to keep an eye on this topic and wait for updates regarding safety and efficacy, likely at very low doses.

Reishi Mushrooms for Dogs

Blue bottles of Earth Buddy functional mushroom capsules for dogs that contain reishi mushrooms for dog allergy support.

Reishi mushrooms, known for supporting the immune system, are among the top adaptogenic mushrooms to support overall health. Studies have found they support normal cell function and a healthy inflammatory response. They’re also known to help support blood sugar levels within normal ranges. Although they have generally been utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the western world is beginning to recognize their benefits.

Cordyceps for Dogs

Cordyceps mushrooms, celebrated for helping support energy production at a cellular level, may also offer potential benefits in helping support normal respiratory function and health. These mushrooms contain adenosine, cordycepin, and polysaccharides that can enhance oxygen utilization and support performance and endurance in pets. This can be particularly helpful for dogs in sports that require physical activity like agility.

While both Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are beneficial in mushroom supplements for dogs, Cordyceps militaris is more commonly used due to its easier cultivation and similar properties. Cordyceps militaris is what is used in the supplements at Earth Buddy.

Agarikon Mushrooms for Dogs

Agarikon mushrooms contain a variety of beneficial compounds including agaric acid, beta glucans, triterpenoids, fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals. Agarikon mushrooms are known for their adaptogenic properties, thanks to the compounds listed above, which provide immune support for dogs by promoting the body’s innate resistance to pathogens. This immune support allows the body to focus on other systems, helping reduce the effects of normal environmental stress.

Throughout history, this mushroom was used to help support normal respiratory function and health. Due to its beneficial properties, it was even named elixirium ad longam vitam, which translates to the “elixir of long life” in Greek.

Chaga Mushrooms for Dogs

Chaga mushrooms, rich in antioxidants like melanin, polyphenols, and triterpenes, are recognized for helping reduce oxidative damage and supporting healthy cellular activity in pets. They’re also known to help maintain a normal immune response by supporting the function of natural killer cells in dogs.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs

Turkey tail mushrooms are known to be adaptogenic due to their ability to provide immune system support and promote homeostasis. This is particularly beneficial for dogs, as it can promote the body’s innate resistance to pathogens and support a normal inflammatory response helping cope with external stresses.

The polysaccharopeptides, such as PSP (polysaccharopeptide) and PSK (polysaccharide Krestin), found in turkey tail mushrooms, are critical compounds that support immune function and promote long-term health.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Dogs

Raw lion’s mane mushrooms on a wooden table. Lion’s mane mushrooms support senior dog dementia and cognitive function.

Lion’s Mane is primarily known for supporting overall cognitive health by stimulating NGF, scientifically known as nerve growth factor. NCF is a protein that helps activate neurons in the brain. As dogs get older, something natural that scavenges free radicals could be useful. That’s why this mushroom type is generally recommended for dogs seven years or older to support and maintain proper bodily functions and overall good quality of life.

In addition to NGF, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are the only ones that have been found to possess a certain type of terpenes known as erinacines. These compounds are still being researched, but so far they are thought to support normal nerve conduction and memory recall and help maintain normal nervous system function overall.

Providing Adaptogenic Mushroom Supplements For Dogs

Black & tan chihuahua with one eye next to Earth Buddy functional mushroom capsules with adaptogens & beta glucans.

Adaptogenic mushrooms offer a number of benefits for pets, extending beyond supporting the immune system to encompass various aspects of their health and well-being. In addition to helping support immune function, adaptogenic mushrooms may also promote a healthy coat and skin in pets.

By incorporating mushrooms like Turkey Tail or Shiitake into a pet’s diet, pet owners can support coat health, maintain a normal inflammatory cytokine cascade, and provide support for animals with sensitive skin. These mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that support skin health and coat quality, demonstrating their versatility in addressing multiple health aspects in pets.

What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms’ Full-Spectrum Products

A full-spectrum product includes not just the mycelium and fruiting body of the mushroom but also encompasses all extracellular compounds released during the mushroom’s lifecycle. These extracellular substances once served as the mushroom’s defense mechanism against rival organisms found in the soil.

When a mushroom product pulls out as many compounds as it can, it taps into effects that you wouldn’t see if those compounds didn’t work together. It’s a lot like the entourage effect found with cannabis. Essentially, if you don’t have all those different compounds working together, you miss out on the combined benefits they offer.

Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms Safe for Pets?

2 black & white corgis sitting down in the grass. To learn more about dogs and mushrooms read this article on adaptogens

When considering the safety of adaptogenic mushrooms for pets, it’s important to understand the potential risks and precautions associated with their use (aside from them consuming wild mushrooms as discussed above). While adaptogenic mushrooms are generally considered safe for pets, certain considerations should be taken into account to ensure their well-being.

Not all mushrooms are safe for dog health or cat health, as some varieties can be toxic and harmful to pets. It is crucial for pet owners to source high-quality products specifically formulated for animal consumption to ensure you’re choosing the best product.

A good example of the importance of sourcing safe mushroom products can be seen in the case of a pet parent introducing Reishi mushrooms to their dog. By picking a reputable brand that offers specifically formulated mushroom pet supplements, the pet parent is able to consider the species-appropriate dog supplement carefully with this in mind.

What Are Adaptogenic Mushroom Products Dosage and Administration

Determining the appropriate dosage of adaptogenic mushrooms for pets is crucial in ensuring their safety and efficacy in promoting pet health. Factors like the pet’s weight, age, and health status should be considered when establishing the optimal dosage. Larger pets may require a higher dosage compared to smaller to achieve the beneficial effects. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the company as long as they seem reputable.

Consulting with a veterinarian experienced in holistic health should also be able to provide valuable guidance on determining the most suitable dosage for a pet’s specific needs.

Incorporating Adaptogenic Mushrooms into a Pet’s Diet

Earth Buddy USDA organic functional mushroom supplements for dogs and cats in blue jars with white label on a wood table

There are various methods pet parents can choose from to incorporate a daily dose of adaptogenic mushrooms into their pet’s diet to maximize the benefits mushrooms have to offer. One of the best methods involves mixing powdered extracts of adaptogenic mushrooms, like those found in Earth Buddy’s Immunity product, into pet food to ensure they receive the bioactive compounds necessary for supporting their health and well-being.

Earth Buddy also offers an Immune tincture containing 5 different types of mushrooms (like the Immunity powder) but rather than being in powder form, it’s in liquid form to allow pets who don’t like the powder to experience regular consumption of the beneficial compounds. The different mushroom types packed into these products include Agarikon, Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail.

Keep in mind that all of Earth Buddy’s mushroom and hemp extract products are full-spectrum. You’re able to take a look in the lab reports to ensure the purity of the products and see exactly what each product contains.

Making Your Own Broth or Tea With Medicinal Mushrooms

Preparing homemade mushroom broths or teas can be another effective method of incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms into a pet’s diet. Adding mushroom broths or teas to pet food can provide additional nutrients and benefits while offering a flavorful and appealing supplement to their diet.

The warmth and richness of mushroom broths can be comforting for pets, making them an enticing and beneficial addition to their daily meals. This method takes longer to digest but if your pup refuses the powder or tincture, it’s a good alternative that still provides immune support for dogs.

Choose a High-Quality Product With Functional Mushrooms

Tan & white corgi sitting next to blue bottle of Earth Buddy functional mushrooms for dogs with CBD for pet allergies.

Choosing a high-quality product containing adaptogenic mushrooms, also known as functional mushrooms or medicinal mushrooms, for your dog involves a bit of homework to ensure their safety and the effectiveness of the supplement. Look for products that are specific to pets, as these will have considered the unique properties of each mushroom type, then compare them to pets’ dietary needs and tolerances of pets, rather than humans.

Choose Reputable Organizations

Choose brands that are reputable and transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing processes. Opt for products that use organic, non-GMO mushrooms to avoid exposing your pet to unnecessary chemicals and pesticides.

Extraction Method For Water-Soluble and Alcohol-Soluble Compounds

The extraction method will affect adaptogenic activity. Compounds within mushrooms can be water-soluble, like beta-glucans, or alcohol-soluble, like ganoderic acids and other phytochemicals. The dual extraction method, which involves both water and alcohol extraction processes, is essential to unlock the full spectrum of potential benefits that mushrooms contain.

Third-Party Testing

Don’t forget to check for any third-party testing or certifications that verify the product’s purity and potency. Reading reviews from other pet owners can also provide insight into a product’s real-world effectiveness.

Talk to the vet

Consulting with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplement to your pup’s wellness routine, regardless of what it is, is always a wise step. This ensures that the supplement will be beneficial and not interfere with anything they want you to follow for your specific pup.

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