There are about 100,000 varieties of mushroom in the world, and as many as 700 are used for food. Here’s a look at some of the most common edible mushrooms you can share with you dog.

Our kitchen cupboard at home always contained at least one can of button mushrooms. My mom made thick tomato sauce with meatballs, and it was always dotted with mushrooms. At the time, we never thought of these small “fungi” as being magical in any way. But button mushrooms have as much antioxidant clout as many fancy shaped and scented medicinal mushrooms that have popped up in health food and grocery stores. And mushrooms of many kinds aren’t just good for us – they’re good for our animal companions too.

1. Button mushrooms

Button mushrooms are the most cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. Did you know that button mushrooms turn into Crimini mushrooms, and that Criminis turn into Portobello mushrooms? It’s all part of their growth cycle, and just a few days’ growing difference produces these three popular mushroom varieties, all of which are packed with antioxidants, B vitamins (except Vitamin B12), copper, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. One three-ounce serving of button mushrooms also contains 5mg of L-ergothioneine, an antioxidant that isn’t destroyed by cooking.

2. Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are a symbol of longevity in Asia and considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. They are the second most cultivated mushrooms in the world. Shiitakes are a rich source of protein and contain For your feline friend, combine beef liver and Shiitake vitamins A, B6 and C as well as copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, zinc and dietary fiber. They also contain more than 50 enzymes, including pepsin which aids digestion.

You can grow your own Shiitake mushrooms. One log will produce mushrooms for your family for four years.

3. Reishi mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms have 2,000 known species. The most important are identified by color – black, blue, white, yellow, purple, red. Red Reishi is the most commonly cultivated.

Also called the “Grass of Heaven”, Reishi is used as a tonic to help increase energy, improve digestion, regulate the immune system, support the cardiovascular system and alleviate allergy symptoms. Reishi is rich in polysaccharides, polypeptides, and 16 types of amino acids, coumarin, organic acids and microelements.

When Reishi is given as a supplement during chemotherapy or radiation, it helps reduce fatigue, appetite loss, bone marrow suppression and risk of infection. Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre has used Reishi in the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

4. Maitake mushrooms

Maitake have been used medicinally for 3,000 years in China and Japan. They are often referred to as the “King of Mushrooms.” They have an incredible range of healing powers, and have been called an anti-cancer agent. They help regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. The chemical structure of Maitake’s polysaccharide compound is slightly different from the beta-glucans found in other medicinal mushrooms. Maitake’s D-fraction, the most active form of beta-glucan, has demonstrated strong tumor suppressant abilities in a number of studies, and also boosts immunity to fight infections.

Store loose mushrooms in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag. They will maintain their freshness for about a week. Dried mushrooms stay fresh for six months to a year.

Bone booster broth and biscuits


Turkey or chicken carcass
3 cloves garlic
1 cup mushrooms of your choice, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped 1 1” piece fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup kelp
4 cups gluten free flour blend (garbanzo/chickpea flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour and/ or fava bean flour)
Oatmeal (up to 4 cups)


Place turkey or chicken carcass and garlic cloves in a soup pot or crock pot, and cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer. Watch the pot, and when you see the cartilage has become soft and is falling off the bones, the soup is done. Filter the soup, so you are left with a thick broth. Set the pot aside. Remove the remaining turkey meat and loose cartilage from the strainer. Add all the other ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 30 minutes. Put the broth in a big blender or mixer. Gradually add whole flour and oatmeal until dough is formed and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper. Knead small pieces of dough, roll them out and cut into desired shapes. Or take very small pieces and roll them out to the thickness of a crayon, cut into bite-size pieces and roll in extra oatmeal. (This dough freezes well, so you can always make one cookie sheet at a time.)

Place cookie sheets into a cold oven and turn heat to 350ºF. When the oven has reached temperature, open the door to let excess moisture escape, then turn heat down to 175ºF and leave biscuits for 45 minutes to an hour, until they are bone hard. Turn oven off and allow biscuits to cool completely before storing in open bowls or Ziploc bags.

Baked mushrooms and rice


1 cup cooked whole grain brown rice (cook 1 cup rice in 3 cups filtered water)
3 cups filtered boiling water, or 2 cups filtered boiling water and
1 cup bone booster broth*
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon rice bran oil or cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (raw or sautéed)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Sauté rice in oil until slightly brown in color. Place in a baking dish. Add mushrooms. Pour boiling water (and bone booster broth) over rice and mushrooms. Cover. Bake 45 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.

Bone booster broth


1 to 2 pounds chicken or turkey bones OR 2 large beef or other marrow bones (no hormones, no antibiotics)
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or 1/2 lemon
Handful fresh parsley


Place bones, vinegar and garlic in a large pot or crock pot. Cover with filtered water. Bring mixture to a boil, skimming the “particulates” that rise to the top, then turn heat down to a simmer. Leave the bones to simmer away all day or night. Add the parsley just a few minutes before you move to the next step. Then drain broth from the bones. Discard the bones, but keep all the meat and cartilage. This broth is also perfect for making treats, to add to regular meals, or to use as a soup base for the whole family.

Mushroom medley


1 cup beef strips (no hormones, no antibiotics)
1 cup liver (e.g., beef, chicken, turkey)
1 cup Shiitake mushrooms 1 cup Shiitake tea*
1 cup zucchini 1 1” piece fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup filtered water or broth
1 tablespoon cold pressed extra virgin olive oil or rice bran oil


Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer. Simmer gently until there is no pink in the meat. Remove from stove. Cool. Serve as an addition/ topping to your animal’s regular meals. This recipe can also be served with rice.

Shiitake tea


2 dried Shiitake mushrooms, broken into small pieces
1 cup filtered water


Place Shiitake pieces and filtered water into small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain mushroom bits and cool tea before serving. One cup of tea is equal to four doses, which can also be added to food or drinking water.

Gourmutt and gourmeow giblets


1 pound chicken giblets
1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon Shiitake mushroom powder
1 cup quinoa
4 cups filtered water or broth, or a combination
1 tablespoon cold pressed extra virgin olive oil or rice bran oil
Unsweetened coconut for garnish


Combine giblets, spices and oil in a pan. Sauté gently on medium high heat until all the pink has disappeared from the giblets. Remove from pan, cool, garnish and serve as treats. Chicken giblets can also be dehydrated to make perfect training treats.

The quinoa can be served as a side dish. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 1¼ cups filtered water, broth or a combination for 15 minutes, leave to sit for five minutes, fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

Sassy mushroom sauté


1 cup fresh mushrooms of your choice, finely chopped or sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cold pressed extra virgin olive oil or rice bran oil
3 cups cooked whole brown rice or quinoa (Thai jasmine rice can also be used; cook 1 cup rice with 3 cups filtered water.)
1 pound meat protein (e.g., turkey, chicken, beef, bison, lamb)


Heat oil in a large pan. Add mushrooms and garlic, and gently cook until tender. Add rice and salt and combine well. This is a recipe the whole family can enjoy!

2/3 cup of the rice mixture along with 1 pound of protein is one day’s food for a 50- pound moderately active dog. This recipe

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Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is also the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award.