Lion’s Mane mushrooms are revered for their ability to support the brain and nervous system, making them an essential supplement for dogs of all ages, especially seniors. 

When we think about the foundation of health, not many people realize that the nervous system is the absolute most critical thing dictating our and our pets’ overall health. But the reality is that without proper nervous system function, nothing in the body can work correctly. So, if you want to ensure that your dog’s whole body is functioning properly, you absolutely must address the nervous system.

My favorite ways to help ensure the nervous system is functioning correctly is through veterinary chiropractic therapy and with proper supplementation. The supplement I love most for the brain and nervous system is Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract for dogs.

What are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

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Lion’s Mane mushrooms, also known as Hericium erinaceus, are a medicinal mushroom, found all over the world. They are named for their fluffy, hair like appearance, resembling a lion’s mane. Ancient legends say that Lion’s Mane gives you “memory of a lion and nerves of steel”. This is likely due to their amazing ability to protect and improve brain and nerve function. They’ve long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for these properties, and other numerous health benefits.

When grown properly (this is key), Lion’s Mane mushrooms produce bio-active agents that induce Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). NGF promotes nerve cell regeneration, which is critical in helping nervous system disorders like stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. BDNF is a key molecule involved in plastic changes related to learning and memory and improves mood.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits for Dogs

Lion’s mane has been demonstrated to be particularly beneficial to the brain and nervous system, though like many other medicinal mushrooms, Lion’s Mane also supports the immune system, helps improve gut health, and can help fight cancer.

We often call the gut the “second brain”. Lion’s Mane has been shown to regenerate intestinal lining, heal ulcers, and prevent leaky gut. Supporting gut health through the use of mushrooms is critical, but they also support the “third brain”, our heart. Lion’s Mane has been shown to prevent blood clots, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke as well. So, Lion’s Mane mushrooms for dogs helps support and protect all three brains!

In our pets, Lion’s Mane is a wonderful addition for helping those affected by diseases like Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Disc Prolapse (nerve damage from a prolapsed disc), and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (aka Doggie Dementia). For dogs with disc issues and DM, Lion’s Mane may have the ability to repair damaged myelin sheath, a process called remyelination.

For our pets with Canine Cognitive Disfunction, like our geriatrics at our rescue farm, Lion’s Mane extract for dogs is a must have. When dogs have CCD (Dementia), they often seem confused, get stuck in corners, have trouble sleeping and knowing when and where to urinate.

Using a pure Lion’s Mane extract for dogs along with a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract can help protect the brain and regenerate the nerve cells that are diminishing and will boost their overall cognitive function with no side effects. The compounds in Lion’s Mane also have known mood-boosting effects, which is especially helpful for dogs with CCD as depressive tendencies can occur, just like humans with cognitive disorders suffer from.

Conventional treatments such as Selegiline (Anipryl) come with a hefty list of side effects such as restlessness/agitation, vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, diminished hearing, anorexia, anemia, stiffness. As opposed to Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for dogs, which has NO adverse effects, and its safety has been clinically proven.

When used in a protocol alongside a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, mental stimulation/routines, and a fresh, unprocessed whole food diet, Lion’s Mane extract for dogs is a valuable tool to help dogs with CCD, disc/nerve damage, and cancer.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom for Pug Myelopathy

Krysta Fox uses Lion’s Mane mushroom extract along with a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract every day for her pug, Bruce, who has Pug Myelopathy. Lion’s Mane helps him rebuild nerves that are slowly being damaged by his spinal cord disease. In addition, since Bruce is an older dog, Lion’s Mane mushrooms keep him mentally sharp, playful, and sassy. It has been clinically shown to improve memory and functional capacity (and this continues to improve with long-term usage).

Lion’s Mane also supports his immune system due to its high beta-glucan content. Beta Glucans are compounds found in bacteria, yeast, algae, and fungi. They are a source of soluble fiber and make excellent prebiotics for supporting gut health. By providing valuable whole food prebiotic fiber, the gut is better able to support healthy bacterial colonies and thus help neurotransmitters fire healthier signals throughout the body.

Final Thoughts

From ​​their ability to promote positive cognitive function and protect and improve nerve function, to their support of the gut and immune system, Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are an essential supplement for all senior dogs, but especially dogs with degenerative myelopathy, and dogs with nerve-related disorders. I’m often asked about my favorite or most used supplements and products, and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for dogs are definitely one of my essential go-to’s! If you’d like to learn more about my favorite supplements and natural products for pet health, I recently shared My Essential Holistic Toolkit for Pets.


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