My Dog is Eating Mushrooms in the Yard
About two months ago wild mushrooms started popping up all over our back yard.
We have lived in this house for 22 years and have never seen them before this year. The yard is BIG – about 3/4 acre. The problem is we got a puppy in April of this year. She’s a Griffin – a hunting dog…..even though we don’t hunt. But SHE DOES!!! So she started eating the mushrooms – then would get diarrhea!! We had to take her to the vet for probiotics, special foods & antibiotics…. $$$$$$$$
I work from home so take her out several times a day, and dig out all the mushrooms I can find. My husband, too – always on “mushroom duty”. As far as I can figure it looks like about 7 different varieties. I’ll attach pictures. The Veterinarian says mushrooms are Toxic to dogs, so I would like to get each kind identified in case I need to get more specific treatment.
I am sort of freaking out here every day about my dog eating these mushrooms. Obviously, her nose is better at finding them than my eyes!
Someone said to broadcast/spread salt in the yard. Someone else said that diatomaceous earth spread with a broadcast spreader might kill the mushrooms and won’t hurt the dog.
Here are my thoughts………….
People tend to say a lot of things that may not be true, such as using salt in the landscape. This would be a perfect way kill many of the desired plants in the yard and prevent future plants from growing in that area treated with salt. Diatomaceous Earth is an insecticide that should not be given to dogs unless it is food grade.
Dogs eat mushrooms for the same reasons they eat other odd things. Dogs sample the environment by scent and taste, and the texture of a mushroom might also be interesting to a dog, especially a young one. I did not find any comments in my research about how to keep your pet from eating mushrooms. And I did find a lot of recommendations to get out into the yard like you are doing and pick the mushrooms before your pet can get to them. Most of the pictures you sent me were the same poisonous mushroom (Amanita spp) but in different stages of growth. It is commonly called the Destroying Angel, Death Angel and Death Cap. It can cause acute liver failure in dogs if not treated immediately.
The most important thing to understand about mushrooms is that they are the above-ground fruiting bodies of fungi that live in the soil. The vast majority of the fungal mass is below ground where it goes unseen and unnoticed until mushrooms emerge. The majority of fungi are beneficial. They are decomposers that break down dead and decaying organic matter such a stumps, old roots, or leaves. Most mushrooms do not damage lawns or gardens; they are not aesthetically pleasing.
Mushrooms grow when environmental conditions are right. Prolonged periods of wet, humid weather, such as we have had over the past few months, cause fungi to send up fruiting bodies (mushrooms). Fungi spores are dispersed by the wind. When the spores land in a suitable location they develop into new fungi which will grow mushrooms, given enough time and a viable environment.
Mushrooms will go away on their own once the environment dries out. Keep in mind that although these fruiting bodies (mushrooms) have disappeared, the fungal mass is still growing in the soil. The fungus will continue to grow as long as there is sufficient amounts of organic matter in the soil to feed upon. Mushrooms will sprout again when the environment is right. If you are unwilling to wait for mushrooms to go away on their own, you can remove them by hand or with the lawn mower. Although removing the mushrooms themselves does nothing to affect the fungi in the soil, it will reduce the number of spores released into the environment and the number of new mushrooms in different areas of the lawn and garden. (From various sources: https://extension.unh.edu/blog/mushrooms-in-lawn, http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74100.html, https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=23105,
https://newswire.caes.uga.edu/story.html?storyid=4536&story=Mushroom-control, https://site.extension.uga.edu/bulloch/2015/10/wet-weather-brings-out-mushrooms-in-landscapes/, and https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/archives/aug-14-2010.html)
Sometimes you can eliminate mushrooms growing from organic matter or hasten decomposition of organic matter by applying nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. The nitrogen should be readily available and not a slow-release or water-insoluble formulation. Examples include 5 pounds of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) or special lawn fertilizers such as 6 pounds of 16-6-8 or 4 pounds of 27-3-4 per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Fertilization hastens decomposition of organic matter. (Source: https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/EP155.pdf)
Fungicides are generally not recommended because they are largely ineffective and mushrooms aren’t damaging anyway. However, here is a list of commercial fungicides that may give some relief but they may not be available for homeowner application. You may need help from a professional pesticide applicator: (Source: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2020/06/mushrooms-in-lawn-could-be-problem.html)
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