We humans want to get the most out of our later years, and we want the same for our animal companions. There are things we can do to support movement, activity, and brain health as our dogs and cats age.1 Let’s look at how Lion’s Mane for dogs and cats can support our furry family members as they get older.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and Its Symptoms
As animals age, they can develop Alzheimer’s-type symptoms, similar to humans. It’s called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), also known as doggie dementia.2 Cats can also suffer from this condition.
How can you tell if your fur baby might be starting to have some cognitive issues? While getting them checked out by a veterinarian is always the best way to determine if there’s an issue, here is a list of common signs of CCD:
- Behavior changes
- Staring off into space
- Loss of housebreaking skills
- Difficulty moving around familiar spaces
- Sundowning (becoming more confused toward the end of the day)
- Altered sleep/wake cycles
- Inability to locate dropped food
- Excessive vocalization, especially at night
- Apparent hearing loss
- Diminished interaction with family
Lion’s Mane for Dogs Can Help with Cognitive Decline
The good news is that there’s a simple addition to your dog’s or cat’s daily supplement routine that may make a difference in how their brain ages—a mushroom called Lion’s Mane. (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s Mane has quickly become one of the most popular mushroom supplements in the US due to its positive effect on brain health and cognition. This mild-tasting, edible mushroom can improve memory, nourish the brain, have a calming effect, and reduce stress. As a bonus, Lion’s Mane also supports the gastrointestinal system. I use Lion’s Mane for pets with behavior issues, cognitive dysfunction, and any type of GI issues. I also recommend it to support immune health and calming.
Clinical Studies About Lion’s Mane for Dogs and Cats
The use of this mushroom for dogs and cats is relatively new, in part because it has only recently been cultivated on a large scale. Because of this, there aren’t any clinical studies on Lion’s Mane for dogs and cats specifically.3 But there are some very compelling human studies that we can refer to when considering this mushroom for our aging animals.
Clinical studies show that Lion’s Mane can have a beneficial effect on (and increase the production of) brain-derived nerve growth factor (bNGF), a compound that maintains the health of neurons in our brains.
In clinical studies, Lion’s Mane supports older adults suffering from mild cognitive decline. However, the study suggested that this increase in cognition declined four weeks after stopping the mushroom. For this reason, if you do see positive benefits of Lion’s Mane for dogs or cats, you should continue giving them the supplement for the duration of their lives.
Human clinical studies have also shown Lion’s Mane to be helpful for depression and anxiety. If you have an aging pet and want to extend their zest for life as long as possible, consider supplementing their diet with Lion’s Mane mushroom extracts!
 Xirui He, Xiaoxiao Wang, Jiacheng Fang, et al. Structures, biological activities, and industrial applications of the polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) mushroom: A review
 Hannah E. Salvin, Paul D. McGreevy, Perminder S. Sachdev, et al. June 2010. Under diagnosis of canine cognitive dysfunction: A cross-sectional survey of older companion
 Koichiro Mori, Satoshi Inatomi, Kenzi Ouchi, et al. March, 2009. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/