Last modified on October 19th, 2022
Increasingly, pet owners are opting to turn to holistic and alternative treatments for their pets, including medicinal mushrooms. Turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs are extensive. These mushrooms are healthy for humans as well and may have positive effects on the immune system.
Turkey tail mushroom also has potential benefits for pets with cancer, including increasing survival time in the battle against cancer.
Below, we cover what you should know about specific turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs.
What Is Turkey Tail Mushroom?
Turkey tail mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom. This mushroom is also known as Trametes Versicolor and Coriolus Versicolor.
For centuries, this colorful mushroom has been used to treat health conditions in Chinese medicine and other traditional forms of medicine. It’s not being more widely used in veterinary medicine as well.
An antioxidant can reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to chronic inflammation and cell damage. An imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals raises the risk of diseases like cancer.
Turkey tail has many antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenols.
Polysaccharopeptides are important for the health of the immune system. There are two particular types known as PSK and PSP that are in these mushrooms. These can both inhibit and activate immune cells and suppress inflammation.
PSK can stimulate the dendritic cells that help regulate the immune response. PSP increases monocytes, which are blood cells that improve immunity and fight infection.
Because they can strengthen the immune system, both PSP and PSK are often used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment in Asian countries, and there are human studies backing up these potential benefits.
Improved Immune Function in Cancer
Turkey tail mushroom may have antitumor effects, and this could be due to the immune-boosting properties.
For example, in a test-tube study, compounds from the mushroom helped stop the growth and spread of colon cancer cells.
In a study of mice, mushroom treatment significantly reduced tumor size, theorized to be due to the enhanced immune response it elicited.
In another study in dogs with hemangiosarcoma, a highly aggressive cancer, turkey tail appeared to improve survival time and slow cancer development and spread.
The mushroom can be especially impressive when it’s combined with conventional cancer therapies like traditional chemotherapies and radiation therapy.
Your gut needs a balance of healthy bacteria in order for the immune system to be strong and function the way it should. Your gut bacteria directly interact with your immune cells and impacts your response.
Turkey tail has prebiotics that helps feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits for Dogs
The above benefits focus primarily on humans, but there are many turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs.
The most exciting turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs relate to cancer. Scientists have found that these mushrooms can be used to boost the immune system of dogs, just like in humans.
Then, when the immune system function is boosted, the dog’s body can better recognize and directly fight tumors and reduce the spread of cancer cells.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine did a study on the mushrooms with 15 dogs with cancer that was typically very aggressive. Untreated dogs typically only lived for 86 days with cancer. There were dogs who received the mushroom compound that lived over a year with no other treatment.
For dogs with aggressive hemangiosarcoma, the antitumor and survival effects may be on par with that of standard chemo.
This type of mushroom is also not just an immune booster but an immune modulator. As an immune modulator, the mushroom can help adjust the immune system to where it needs to be, whether it’s overactive or underactive.
If your dog has an infection, turkey tail can help fight off the bacteria. On the other hand, if your dog has an autoimmune disease like Cushing’s or allergies, then they have over-active immune systems. Turkey tail can help it stay balanced and regulated for more positive outcomes.
Other mushroom benefits for dogs include:
- The mushrooms promote gut health, just like they do in humans. This can help promote digestive health and a better immune system.
- Turkey tail mushrooms have antifungal properties, so they can help combat yeast. When yeast is out of control, it can cause itchy skin, ear infections, and hot spots.
- The beta-glucans and prebiotics help the respiratory and urinary tract health of dogs, mostly by reducing inflammation.
- The PSPs are good for liver health and can prevent liver damage.
How to Give Your Dog Medicinal Mushrooms
Along with amazing anti-cancer and general health benefits, turkey tail mushroom for dogs is also considered very safe. There are few reported side effects or adverse effects in any research studies.
As with most things, it is possible to overdose on mushrooms. The best way to avoid this is to buy a supplement formulated specifically for canines and make sure you follow dosage instructions.
If your dog is diabetic, you should speak to your vet about the mushroom because it can cause low blood sugar levels.
Choosing a Supplement for Your Dog
When you’re choosing mushroom supplements, whether for humans or dogs, you’ll hear some different terms.
- One is the fruiting body. Fruiting body means that the supplement is made from the whole mushroom, which is dried and ground into a powder. This isn’t ideal for dogs because it can lead to liver problems.
- Mycelium is another term. This refers to the mushroom root but not the entire fruiting body. If a supplement only has mycelium, it might be lower in antioxidants, beta-glucans, and vitamins.
- Hot water extracts take out the medicinal components of the mushroom, so they’re safer and more bioavailable.
What Are the Best Turkey Tail Supplements for Dogs?
The following are three options that we think are the best turkey tail supplements for dogs.
Honest Paws Dog Mushroom Blend
- Also contains shiitake and reishi in addition to the Versicolor mushroom
- No filler or additives
- Provides immune support and fights inflammation
- Contains beta-glucan for digestive, respiratory, and urinary health
- Boosts mood and energy
- According to reviews, the organic mushroom powder is easy to blend with food and dogs like the taste
- Helps with itching and allergy symptoms
NaturVet Mushroom Max
- Advanced immune support mushroom matrix
- Includes reishi, shiitake, and turkey tail mushrooms
- Supports a healthy immune response
- Made in the U.S.
- Many users say it helped with their dog’s cancer
Shroomies Organic Mushroom Complex for Dogs
- No grains or fillers
- Combination of many mushrooms along with turkey tail
- Contains EPA and DHA for heart and cognitive health
- Turmeric for healthy joints
- Formulation has L-theanine for a natural calming effect
- BioPerine included helping with the absorption
- Reviews indicate it helps with cancer and quality of life
Four Leaf Rover Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract
- Up to 200 servings depending on the dog’s weight
- High in powerful beta-glucans
- Vet formulated
- Helps promote digestion and natural energy support
- Many users say that this helped their dogs outlive their predicted survival rates with cancer
Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits for Dogs—Final Thoughts
Turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs are extensive. One of the main reasons people use turkey tail for dogs is to help with different types of cancer. There is clinical evidence that it can help slow or stop cancer growth, and many pet owners report positive responses.
In addition to fighting cancer, turkey tail has numerous other health benefits for dogs. It can promote an optimal immune response, help boost their energy levels, and support the health of their respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems.
Talk to your vet before trying a supplement, but overall, there’s excellent evidence showing that turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs are excellent.