Danger in the Garden: Dog Owners Beware!

Another unpleasant effect of our rainy summer has been a proliferation of mushrooms._Death_cap_mushroom I am betting that if you look carefully in your backyard, you’ll probably  find some. The scary thing is that our dogs can find them before we do, and sometimes they eat them – with fatal consequences. I hadn’t even thought about this until I read a sad story about a dog  in Colorado who died after eating mushrooms.

“But that’s way out west”, I said to myself, until I read another sad story that happened much closer to home. So I did a little research and found that there are several poisonous mushrooms growing right here in the northeast. In the case of the poisoned Great Pyrenees, the culprit was a species of Galerina containing deadly amatoxins. (picture below)

galerina marginata

galerina marginata

I learned some important lessons  from this research. For instance, in the case of the Pyrenees, the owner had not actually seen the dog eating the mushrooms, so no one suspected “mushroom toxicosis” and the veterinarian had to do some real detective work – all too late to save the dog.

If your dog is ill, get her to the vet asap, and don’t rule out mushrooms as a possible cause. If you catch your dog eating mushrooms, go the vet immediately, and bring a few pieces of the mushroom with you so everyone knows what they’re dealing with.

Look carefully at the areas where your dog hangs out or plays, and completely dig up and destroy any mushrooms you see growing there. Do not simply kick or smash them, since this can just spread the pieces around. Remember that new mushrooms can spring up overnight, so check often.

Oh, and one more thing: dogs can also have adverse reactions to non-poisonous mushrooms, so it’s better not to let our little darlings go anywhere near them.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the excellent Cornell University Mushroom Blog.

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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