Can I Give My Dog Turkey Tail? Everything You Need to Know

Can I Give My Dog Turkey Tail? Everything You Need to Know

Chances are, if you’ve ever asked a dog owner about their pet, you were met with gushing praise over the creature they consider, unequivocally, to be the best boy or girl in the entire world. You might even have been treated to a smartphone slide show of said pup’s most recent portrait-mode snapshot album. And if you’re a dog owner yourself, chances are, you completely understood their enthusiasm. Because as a dog owner, you know: there’s just no love quite like the unconditional adoration we share with our pups. 

So when it comes to their health, and giving our dogs the best lives possible, making sure to choose safe, nourishing, and effective foods and supplements is at the top of the priority list.  

For centuries, the antioxidant-rich turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor, also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor) has been used in Chinese medicine to treat lung disease and certain types of infections. Research has also shown its ability to support immunity, promote gut health, and potentially even help to improve insulin resistance. In Japan, turkey tail has been used for decades in integrative therapies in the treatment of cancer patients. With numerous studies detailing the health benefits of this wonder fungus for humans, we know that its values as a safe and natural medicine are many. But the question arises:

When looking for ways to naturally support our four-legged best friend’s health, what should we know about using turkey tail mushroom for dogs?

Turkey Tail for Dogs

Just as for humans, studies have shown that turkey tail offers a variety of health benefits for our canine companions. Observed to be safe and well-tolerated (so long as you follow proper dosing methods and instructions, monitor response as with any supplement, and avoid feeding it to your dog in raw form), research suggests major benefits for your beloved pup.* 

Integrative Cancer Therapy 

In Asia, over 100 medicinal mushrooms have been used in the treatment of cancer in people for more than 30 years. In Japan, one compound in turkey tail, Polysaccharide K (PSK), is approved as a mushroom product for the treatment of cancer in human beings. Scientific researchers have begun to explore the possible impacts of PSK as a cancer treatment in dogs, as well. 

Recent studies suggest benefits in the treatment of canine cancers with turkey tail, demonstrating that the mushroom’s polysaccharide compounds may slow the spread of cancer, help to manage side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and could aid in the treatment of some tumors. With these findings, it is thought that turkey tail may help to extend survival times in dog’s diagnosed with the disease.  

Digestive Health

Dogs, just like people, thrive when their gut health is in balance. And like it does for humans, turkey tail offers excellent benefits for healthy digestion in pups. The canine gut microbiome, an ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms, is essential to keeping bodily systems functioning at optimal levels. When in balance, the microbiome supports healthy organs, including the skin, a healthy coat, nutrient absorption, weight management, can ease allergy symptoms, and may even promote a happier mood.    

With ten times more organisms in dogs' intestinal tracts than cells in their entire bodies, digestion is crucial to your furry companion’s wellbeing. Keeping the gut in balance requires proper nourishment for each of the several hundred bacterial families present in the microbiome. In particular, it’s vital for dogs’ health to provide nourishment for probiotic microbes, the gut-friendly bacteria that promote proper digestion and nutrient absorption, aid in the management of numerous health conditions, protect against infection, and can have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Prebiotics are the fibrous food that probiotic bacteria need to keep gut flora thriving. Turkey tail is a prebiotic mushroom, providing the canine gut with an essential element of balanced, whole-body supporting health. Research has shown the benefits of supplementing dogs’ diets with prebiotics, like improved intestinal health, particularly in senior dogs

Another key benefit of a healthy gut for your best friend, and of prebiotics and the turkey tail mushroom especially, is a strengthened immune system for overall health.           


Health & Immune Support

In addition to being used as immunotherapy support for dogs undergoing various cancer treatments, and supporting the immune system by helping to balance gut friendly flora, turkey tail mushroom is loaded with free radical-fighting antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients, including:   

Polysaccharides - Beta glucans PSK and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) are protein-bound compounds found in this mushroom that can fight infection and boost immunity. They have been shown to normalize the immune system, increase the amount of immune cells, and slow the growth of some harmful cells in dogs. 

Antioxidants - Turkey tail contains high levels of bioactive phenols and flavonoids, naturally occurring antioxidant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These bioactives have been observed to have detoxifying effects and may inhibit the spread of viruses like distemper in dogs.     

B Vitamins - These essential vitamins, including niacin and riboflavin, help to support your pup’s immunity by aiding with hormone production, digestion, and brain function, and playing a key role in converting their food into energy. Deficiencies can lead to things like poor liver function, nerve disorders, loss of limb reflexes and clumsiness.    

Vitamin D - Like us, dogs need this essential vitamin to stay healthy and thriving, but are unable to synthesize it from the sun in the way we can. They rely entirely upon their diet for this crucial nutrient. It supports nerve function, the skeletal system, healthy muscles, and helps with the absorption of other nutrients, like calcium. 

Selenium - This mineral is a critical factor for sustaining the normal function of the immune system in dogs, and helps to regulate the thyroid for proper metabolism, supporting appetite to help our pups take in all the nourishment they need to live their best lives. 

Potassium - An electrolyte mineral that is crucial for almost every function in a dog’s body, supporting the heart and helping to maintain hydration. 

Magnesium - This key mineral helps to support your pup’s energy levels at the cellular level, so they can stay active and keep up with all their favorite activities. 

Calcium - Like vitamin D, dogs can only get this mineral through their diets. Calcium helps to support heart function, healthy muscles, and strong bones and teeth. 

Zinc - Last but not least, this mineral plays a role in creating necessary enzymes, proteins, and hormones, and is necessary for proper immune system and thyroid function

In the quest to give your dog what he or she truly deserves (which, let's be honest, is everything they could ever dream of), optimal health is the first priority. For your pup’s most tail-wagging digestive health and immunity support, this incredible mushroom could be just the thing. 

Into twinning with your furbaby? Check out the world’s tastiest way for humans to experience the benefits of turkey tail mushroom. 

Happy, healthy (turkey) tails to you both!    

*Before adding any new supplement to your dog’s regimen, it is always recommended to consult your veterinarian.

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