Medicinal mushrooms are a rapidly growing trend in the natural health industry. Turkey tails are one of the best-known varieties, and their potential benefits are becoming recognized worldwide.
They appear to have potent effects on the immune system and may even be an effective adjunct to cancer treatment. Indeed, doctors in Asia have been prescribing turkey tail extracts alongside radiation and chemotherapy for over 30 years.
Dogs have a relatively high incidence of cancer, and their tumors tend to behave similarly to those in humans. Therefore, it is unsurprising that some people are now considering giving turkey tails to their pets.
While skeptics might suggest that the idea is somewhat fanciful, the existing evidence regarding turkey tails for dogs is promising. Although far more research is undoubtedly needed, it seems that certain products could improve affected animals’ quality of life and survival time.
This article examines the current evidence and explores some of the best-studied turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs. We will also discuss dosage, side effects, and how to choose a reliable supplement.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Tail Mushrooms?
Turkey tails are not edible in the traditional sense because they are very tough and woody. However, they are safe to consume and have a range of potential benefits.
The most traditional preparation method is simmering the mushrooms in hot water and drinking the infusion. However, the process is too time-consuming for most. Therefore, people tend to use ready-made turkey tail extracts, powders, or capsules instead.
It is also possible to purchase various products containing turkey tails for dogs. They tend to come as powders or liquid extracts that can be added to the animal’s regular food.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits for Dogs
Like many other medicinal mushrooms, turkey tails’ primary active compounds are beta-glucan polysaccharides. These are large carbohydrate molecules known to support immunity, digestion, and cardiovascular health.
Turkey tails contain two of the best-studied polysaccharides, polysaccharide Krestin (PSK) and polysaccharopeptide (PSP). These substances have been the subject of numerous clinical trials and have demonstrated potent immunomodulating properties.
Research suggests that PSK and PSP could benefit patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. These compounds have been shown to increase survival rates and reduce recurrence in several types of human cancer. They also appear to improve outcomes such as wellbeing, body weight, and tumor-related symptoms with a low incidence of side effects.
PSK and PSP have been shown to increase survival rates and reduce recurrence in several types of human cancer.
There is far less evidence regarding turkey tail for dogs. However, one 2012 study investigated a standardized PSP extract for canine hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive vascular cancer that affects middle-aged and older dogs.
The researchers administered either 25, 50, or 100 milligrams of the extract per kilogram of body weight per day. They found that the dogs in the high-dose group experienced significantly delayed disease progression and increased survival time.
Of the 15 dogs involved in the trial, one developed hypercalcemia (excessive calcium levels) secondary to parathyroid adenoma. No other animals displayed comorbidities during the study period.
In their discussion, the study’s authors stated:
“…the magnitude of the positive outcomes and their relationship to dose was unexpected in such a small cohort, particularly in such an aggressive neoplastic disease.”
However, it is critical to note that this study only involved a few dogs, and there was no control group. Therefore, while the results are encouraging, further research is warranted.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Dosage for Dogs
The correct turkey tail dosage for dogs will depend upon the size of the animal and the reason for using it.
Regarding size, doses are usually calculated on a milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) basis. This is generally expressed by the abbreviation mg/kg.
For example, in the study detailed above, the animals received either 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg per day. Therefore, a dog weighing 30kg would require 3000mg (3g) daily at the highest dose. Meanwhile, a smaller dog weighing 10kg would need just 1000mg (1g) daily.
Another factor is the reason for using a turkey tail supplement. There is currently little research on optimal doses for specific conditions. However, the turkey tail dosage for dogs with cancer is likely to be higher than that for simply maintaining wellbeing.
Individuals wishing to use turkey tails for dogs should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for their chosen product or contact a veterinarian for advice.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Side Effects in Dogs
Medicinal mushrooms are generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, they can cause gastrointestinal upsets in some animals.
A case series of 21 dogs with lymphoma investigated the benefits and side effects of a product called K9 Immunity™. Its ingredients included turkey tail alongside five other mushroom species.
The results indicated that 76% of the animals took the supplement without any adverse effects. The remaining 24% experienced “grade I gastrointestinal toxicity,” characterized by vomiting or diarrhea for three consecutive days.
To reduce the likelihood of side effects, it is essential only to buy turkey tail supplements for dogs from reputable brands. Below, we will explain what to consider when making a purchase.
Choosing a Turkey Tail Mushroom Supplement for Dogs
When selecting a product, it is essential to ensure it is safe and effective.
Medicinal mushrooms like turkey tails are generally considered harmless. However, they are efficient bio accumulators, meaning they can absorb toxins like heavy metals from their environment. While this is great for cleaning up the soil, it is not so good for anyone who consumes the mushrooms.
Look for brands that provide lab reports to ensure the supplement is free from heavy metals, chemical pesticides, and fertilizers.
Therefore, it is vital to choose an organic product that is free from heavy metals, chemical pesticides, and fertilizers. The best way to check this is by looking for detailed lab reports on the company’s website. If a brand fails to provide these reports, steer clear.
Lab reports should also confirm the amount of each active compound per serving. For turkey tail supplements, try to find a brand that explicitly lists their product’s PSK and PSP content.
It is also a good idea to read plenty of turkey tail mushroom for dogs reviews on third-party sites like Trustpilot. Previous customers are likely to give a far more honest account of their experience than the brand itself.
Summary on Turkey Tail Mushroom for Dogs
There is currently little scientific evidence regarding turkey tails for dogs. However, human studies suggest that these mushrooms could provide significant benefits, especially for people undergoing cancer treatment.
The current research suggests that turkey tail mushroom benefits for dogs could be similar. However, the trials that have been conducted to date have been small and lacked an adequate control group.
Therefore, it is currently impossible to say for sure exactly how safe and effective turkey tails are for dogs. Anyone considering giving medicinal mushrooms, or any other supplement, to their pets should seek guidance from a veterinarian.
For more on how medicinal mushrooms impact immunity, check out the article below: