Portabellini, white button, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms may be familiar staples in your kitchen. Exploring unknown mushroom types, especially ones that decompose dead matter of logs, may ignite some hesitation. What if we told you to give it to your beloved furbaby. What? Yes, you heard us right. 

We want to tell you more about a particular fungus that is immune-boosting, disease-fighting, and anti-inflammatory. Not only is this mushroom safe for your pet, but it will improve your dog's health in several ways.

It grows on dead logs. It boasts incredible colors. Herbalists have used it for thousands of years as a medicinal mushroom. And now it's a popular supplement for people and their furbabies. It's the Turkey Tail Mushroom!

What is Turkey Tail Mushroom

What is Turkey Tail Mushroom

Turkey Tail mushrooms, scientifically known as Coriolus Versicolor or Trametes Versicolor, are colorful, stemless fungi that grow in overlapping, fan-like formations, resembling a turkey's tail.

These mushrooms develop on dead logs and can be found around the world. Mushrooms like the Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and Reishi are popular for their medicinal benefits, including their ability to boost the immune system by providing antioxidants and robust killer cells that fight disease.

In China, Turkey Tail Mushrooms, called Yun Zhi, have been used as a part of herbal medicine for over 2000 years, specifically in lung disease and cancer treatment.

Why Give Your Dog Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Pet parents want their dogs to live healthy and full lives. While we cannot eliminate diseases and trials from their future, we can prioritize important life choices that support a healthy body: exercise, wellness exams and vaccinations, and a wholesome diet. Sometimes the use of supplements or holistic options provides the extra care that enables the canine body to function as it should. 

It Contains Beta-glucans

The properties that have made Trametes Versicolor and other medicinal mushrooms so popular are the beta-D-glucans. The beta-glucans are made up of two main protein-bound carbohydrates called Polysaccharide K (PSK or Krestin) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP). These fibrous constituents are part of the cell walls that make up bacteria and fungi. Their primary benefit is to increase immune defense in the host's body. 

Foods such as oats, barley, yeasts, seaweed, and mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans.

It Contains Antioxidants

Turkey Tail mushrooms contain a robust variety of antioxidants that help decrease oxidative damage or stress in the body. That's a mouthful. Let's break it down:

  • Antioxidants protect body cells and tissues against free radicals and their damaging effects. 

  • Free radicals are molecules in the body that are highly reactive and unstable.

  • Free radicals then go on to attack essential macromolecules. This warfare leads to cell damage throughout the body.

  • If free radicals are in abundance and overwhelm the body's ability to fight them, "oxidative stress" occurs.

  • Studies have found that oxidative stress contributes to all inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, respiratory diseases, heart diseases, gastric ulcers, hypertension, cancer, and more.

  • Free radical damage contributes to signs of aging in dogs and humans.

  • Antioxidants need to be supplied by the diet or in supplement form. 

Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

Are you keen to try some Traditional Chinese medicine for your pet? Turkey Tail extract may provide the following benefits for people and their companion animals. 

Boosts the Immune System 

Your dog's body contains specialized cells called Macrophages. These large white blood cells form an integral part of the immune system and its function. The critical job of these cells is to patrol the blood and lymph stream and "swallow" unwanted and dangerous particles in the body. Polysaccharides from Turkey Tail mushrooms "enhance macrophages" and their natural killer function.

When your dog's immune response is stronger, then it's able to:

  • Activate natural killer cells (macrophages)

  • Regulate immune function when it's been weakened due to stress or illness.

  • Stimulate a healthy inflammatory response

  • Improve gut health and probiotic cultures

  • Protect the body against infection and parasites.

Fights Yeast

Yeast infections occur when an underlying condition weakens the immune system, thereby causing a yeast overgrowth on the skin surface. Hot spots, a dull and greasy coat, smelly ears, and itchiness are some of the symptoms of yeast infections in pets. 

Partnering with your vet to uncover the causative condition of a yeast infection is important. Part of the treatment can include immune-boosting supplements like Turkey Tail mushrooms. By amplifying killer cells in the immune system, Turkey Tail will have a knock-on effect on the fight against yeast. 

Digestive and Urinary Health

Is your dog regularly struggling with diarrhea, loose stools, or urinary tract infections? Turkey Tail mushrooms may be effective in treating these conditions thanks to two of their famous attributes:

  1. It's a proven prebiotic

  2. It may help with inflammation

1. The Importance of Prebiotics

Turkey tail mushrooms provide the body with prebiotics that are a vital part of gut health. A randomized clinical trial from 2014 analyzed the use of the amoxicillin antibiotic against using Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) from Trametes Versicolor. They found that PSP was an effective prebiotic and "could stimulate the growth of certain probiotic populations and suppress pathogenic species."

Prebiotics feed the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in your dog's gut microbiome. Probiotics benefit the body by fighting off harmful bacteria, aiding digestion, and encouraging nutrient absorption.

The body needs to have a good balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria for the digestive system to function at its best. When the probiotic cultures are unbalanced, the gut health struggles and gastrointestinal issues, obesity, disease, allergies, and more can cause havoc for your pet. 

The role of prebiotics (like those in Turkey Tail mushrooms and other high fiber foods) is to feed the probiotic bacteria. 

Pre+ Probiotics are recommended for: 

  • Supporting healthy digestion 

  • Helping support the immune system 

  • Helping maintain proper gut flora

  • Weight loss

2. Anti-inflammatory Properties

Turkey Tail mushroom benefits include the maintenance of a normal inflammatory response in the body.

Inflammation is an integral part of the body's healing process. It protects the body from injury, illness, and infection. However, when the inflammatory response lingers, it can harm the immune response, leading to diseases.

In the urinary system, inflammation can lead to bladder infections, urinary tract infections, and inflammatory bowel disease. Bacteria growth in this region can spread to the kidney or liver and cause severe issues for your pet. 

Protects the Liver

healthy dog

Clinical trials have shown the Turkey Tail PSP has liver-protecting abilities. The medicinal mushroom may protect your pet from liver issues with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting abilities.

The liver is susceptible to toxins that enter the body, and damage over time can lead to liver cancer, liver inflammation (chronic hepatitis), or acute liver damage. Many times, veterinarians will include antioxidants and nutritional supplements in their treatment plan for liver issues. Since Turkey Tail mushroom benefits include antioxidant benefits, it can form part of your pet's liver-recovery treatment. 

In a human study that involved patients with liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma), Turkey Tail was included in their alternative therapy and showed promising results. Patients who received Turkey Tail had improved appetite and fewer pain symptoms when compared to those who received a placebo. 

Can Aid in Cancer Treatment

Turkey Tail Mushrooms have recently received particular attention in the field of holistic cancer treatment. However, while it may be news to you, medicinal mushrooms have been approved for more than thirty years as an additional cancer treatment in Japan and China. 

Similar cancer types are observed in people and their furry friends. For a while now, studies in cancerous dogs have been informing human oncology and cancer genetics studies. While most studies of Turkey Tail and its impact on cancer cells have been for human medicine, similar results will be seen in canine companions. 

  • Turkey Tail mushrooms have shown improvement in immune function for cancer patients, specifically in breast cancer patients. 

  • It may help when patients recover from chemotherapy or as a preventative measure against cancer in old age. 

  • Additionally, Turkey Tail may have the potential to prolong the survival time for dogs with cancer. Experts from the School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania found that Polysaccharopeptides (PSP) in Turkey Tail products delivered antitumor effects and increased survival time in pets whose owners refused chemotherapy.

  • Turkey Tail may reduce cancer growth with its ability to reduce inflammation – the leading contributor to cancer cell development and growth. 

Helps With Skin Issues

The skin is your dog's largest organ. Your dog's skin can fall victim to many issues, including allergies, yeast infections, flea infestations, bacterial infections like Folliculitis or Impetigo, Mange, and more. Skin issues are itchy, sore, and bothersome for your pet. Often the problem is secondary to an internal matter. 

You can restore balance and health to your pet's coat by giving them Turkey Tail mushrooms simply because they provide all the things that are so beneficial to the immune system:

  • Probiotics for gut health and to fight off bacteria

  • Antioxidants to fight oxidative stress

  • Enhanced immune system activity

Promotes Joint Health 

Pets with arthritic joints or joint disease struggle with regular daily activity. Joint disease is most commonly characterized by pain and inflammation, leading to joint stiffness and a lack of mobility.

Treatments for arthritis can include pain medication, NSAIDs, opioids, and physical therapy. Many pet parents add holistic options like Cannabidiol (CBD) that support immune response, discomfort, and connective tissue support. 

Medicinal mushroom Turkey Tail has active ingredients that include Vitamin C that supports joint health, and Vitamin B9 and selenium that boosts immune response. The use of Turkey Tail is a complementary health supplement for joint recovery and wellness. The anti-inflammatory properties of the Turkey Tail mushroom also reduce pressure on the joint and swelling that causes pain. 

Feeding Turkey Tail to Your Dog

Feeding Turkey Tail to Your Dog

Turkey Tail mushroom supplements for dogs can come in power or treat form. The supplement is best given between meals, but offering it to your pet with their meal will provide the same benefits. Manufacturers may flavor the product to appeal to your four-legged friend's palate. 

Is Turkey Tail Mushroom Safe for Dogs?

It's essential to consult your vet before adding a new supplement to your pet's diet. Turkey Tail is considered safe, especially compared to NSAIDs or chemotherapy, which can take its toll on the body.

Potential Side Effects of Turkey Tail Mushroom

It's unsafe to offer your pet raw Turkey Tail mushrooms as they can lead to toxicity in pets. Instead, look for a pet-safe supplement that is high quality and made with the fruiting body of the Turkey Tail mushroom. 

When dosing your pet, stick to the manufacturer guidelines depending on your pet's weight. Overdosing with Turkey Tail can lead to side effects of bowel irritations or toxicity in your dog. Very few side effects have been recorded, but monitor your pet for an allergic reaction, lethargy from low blood sugar levels, or low blood pressure if they're on hypertensive medication. 

Our Honest Paws Turkey Tail product has the following dosage guideline:

  • Less than 25lb – half a scoop per day

  • 25-50 lb – one scoop per day

  • Over 50 lbs – two scoops per day

  • Or as recommended by a veterinarian

Medicinal Mushrooms for Your Furbaby

Turkey Tail mushroom benefits are vast. Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration of the US does not regulate supplements like this, although they have approved clinical trials for Turkey Tail extract. Seek medical advice from a veterinarian trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine before dosing your fur child with holistic herbs or supplements.

As with any health product for your pet, pure, organic, and filler-free products get five stars for excellence, so make sure that the Turkey Tail supplement you choose for your pet ticks all the boxes for safe, clean, and non-GMO ingredients. Choosing a brand that includes other beneficial mushrooms may help boost your pet's wellness more than ever before. 

Turkey Tail mushrooms may be the immune boost that your pet needs for a fuller and healthier life. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs take too much turkey tail mushroom?

Yes, overdosing with Turkey Tail can lead to side effects of bowel irritations or toxicity in your dog. 

What are the side effects of turkey tail mushroom?

Very few side effects have been recorded, but monitor your pet for an allergic reaction, lethargy from low blood sugar levels, or low blood pressure if they're on hypertensive medication. 

Which mushroom is the healthiest?

Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and Reishi are mushrooms that are popular for their medicinal benefits, including their ability to boost the immune system by providing antioxidants and robust killer cells that fight disease.