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Poisonous Mushrooms to Avoid

Dog Days of Summer: Watch Out For "Death Cap" Mushrooms

As if the ominous name didn't clue you in, death caps are very dangerous. This species is responsible for the majority — 95 percent! — of fatal mushroom poisoning of people and pets. Now that Summer is in full bloom and you're taking advantage of hikes in the woods and trips to the park with your dog, there is no better time to learn about this deadly fungus and how to avoid it.

Not commonly found throughout the US, the fungi have been reported in areas as wide-reaching as upstate NY and New Jersey over to southern Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you're taking a walk with your pooch, know how to recognize and avoid Amanita phalloides (the death cap's scientific name). They grow year round and thrive in moist environments commonly found on the roots of live trees. Although the above picture is one example, exact identification is unreliable because their appearance can vary. Translation: don't eat, or let pets eat, any wild growing mushrooms.

Learn how this affects your pets and how it should be treated when you break.

Untreated ingestion of even a small portion of a death cap mushroom can be fatal because it causes liver injury and failure. If you suspect that a pet has sampled this species, bring him to the vet immediately. If treated early enough, the doctors can induce vomiting and give activated charcoal to save your pooch.

Join The Conversation
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
My puppy ate sugarless gum (also poisonous) and I called Animal Poison Controla and they said to use freshly opened hydrogen peroxide and to give her two Tablespoons every 10 minutes until she started throwing up. She had a stomach of Steel and it took 4 tablespoons but when she started vomiting, it was a non-stop event and I couldn't believe how much was there. All the gum came back up. Regarding mushrooms, I had a field bio class where we learned to identify mushrooms by their spore print. We also learned that mushroom poisoning is one of the worst ways to die - the really bad mushrooms can take weeks to slowly shut down your nervous system and organs and there's not much doctors can do. It's a really slow and painful death. I avoid wild mushrooms like the plague! Ladyr and dzymzlzy, you two are so lucky your dogs survived!
cubadog cubadog 8 years
I agree everyone should keep hydrogen peroxide in the house. When Cuba was a pup we knew he ate something but had no idea what and the vet said you have to make him throw up. Something else that works great is the syringe Target gives out with their liquid medicines I would keep one of those on hand just in case!
ladyr ladyr 8 years
A couple years ago, I was walking through the park with my dog when she suddenly collapsed. Within seconds she began vomiting and defecating on herself and she could not get up. Her eyes were all glossy too. I freaked (obviously) and my boyfriend came and picked us up to rush us to the emergency vet (regular one was closed). At first they thought perhaps she had been stung by a bee and was having an allergic reaction. After her bloodwork came back, they said it had to be some kind of poison she had ingested at the park, and the vet said it was most likely a mushroom. It was awful!! I thought she might die before we got to the vet. They put her on fluids immediately because of the vomiting and diarrhea and gave her an antihistamine (since they originally were thinking bee sting). She just had to go through it and get it out of her system. She made it through the night, and the next day they transferred her to our regular vet, and by that evening she was feeling pretty good. Thank goodness!!! Mushrooms are BAD news!!
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
Yikes that is scary!
dzymzlzy dzymzlzy 8 years
Also, everything I subsequently read about mushroom poisoning said that getting your dog to the vet will probably be too late.
dzymzlzy dzymzlzy 8 years
One day I saw that my dog was eating a mushroom in the backyard. They grow so fast! I had just checked the yard the day before. I of course freaked out, sure that my precious dog was going to die. The vet told me to give her some hydrogen peroxide and that would make her throw up the mushroom. She wouldn't just take it so I mixed it with some yellow curry tuna from Trader Joes. She vomited so much...I had no idea a dog could vomit like that. I will never be able to eat yellow curry again, and I'm sure Ruby will not either. So folks, PLEASE KEEP HYDROGEN PEROXIDE IN THE HOUSE.
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