Can Dogs Eat Truffle?

Can dogs eat truffle? The reason to ask this question is dogs’ pleasure to explore your home and taste all kinds of food products. While truffle may be more difficult to find in the average home, truffle oil is present on many kitchen counters.

Your four-legged can have some of this delicious treat without your notice. Should you worry about it?

What is truffle?

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Truffles are a species of mushrooms growing beneath the ground. They are appreciated for their pungent aroma and unique earthy taste. These fungi grow in calcareous soil close to the roots of trees such as oak and hazelnut.

Truffles are present in specific areas around the world, mainly in France, Italy, Romania, North Africa, China, New Zealand, the Middle East, and the Pacific Northwest.

Truffles are very difficult to cultivate. Their fungal filaments cannot be steered under the ground as desired but rather spread randomly. Harvesting truffle in the wild is also hard and requires trained dogs. Pigs were once used to locate truffles but would often eat what they found.

There are two kinds of truffle – white and black. White truffles have a deep fragrance and are renowned in northern Italy. The black variety is less fragrant but more versatile in cooking, and grows well in France.

The nutritional value of truffle

Truffles are not only notoriously expensive, but also very healthy. [1] They are a complete source of proteins and are rich in important nutrients such as:

  • All nine essential amino acids your organism needs
  • Carbs and fiber
  • Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Antioxidants (compounds which prevent free radical damage to cells)

Aside from the nutrients they contain, truffles also have antimicrobial properties. A study revealed that truffle extract inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus by up to 66%. [2]

Introducing truffle to your diet is possible in spite of the high price of this delicacy. Black truffles are more affordable and widely available at various retailers. A small amount can be used to transform your dish. You can add a few shavings to pack your salads, soups, and other dishes with irresistible aroma. So irresistible that it may also attract your dog’s attention. No wonder you are asking: are truffles bad for dogs?

What role do dogs play in finding truffle?

Before finding the answer to “Can dogs eat truffle?”, you should know they play an important role in detecting truffles. Those interested in finding these rare delicacies need a good dog that is trained in sniffing truffles.

The effort is definitely worth it as a rare white truffle can be valued at as much as $2,000.

Pigs were once used to hunt truffles, but were replaced by dogs. Canines are less likely to gobble up their rare findings. Dogs are also easier to train and have more stamina than swine.

As canines gradually replaced pigs in truffle hunting, the value of truffle dogs has increased. There are even schools specialized in training dogs to find the edible gold.

Dog breeds used for truffle hunting include the Romagna Water Dog, the Springer Spaniel, the Beagle, the Poodle, and the Belgian Malinois.

The risk of mushroom poisoning in dogs

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Many dog owners prefer to keep their dogs away from mushrooms due to the risk of poisoning. Dogs are curious creatures and may eat a few things while sniffing the ground.

Being a scavenger comes with some benefits, but also with some risks. Certain mushrooms are toxic and can cause serious poisoning. Identifying mushrooms accurately can be quite tricky because different species can look similar. Unless you are a mushroom expert, it is best to assume that any mushroom can be a poisonous one.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness and difficulty moving
  • Jaundice
  • Coma

Not treating mushroom intoxication can lead to death. Treatment includes inducing vomiting, fluid therapy, administering activated charcoal, blood transfusions, and giving gastrointestinal protectants.

Is truffle toxic and can dogs eat truffle?

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To determine that you need to know whether these rare mushrooms are toxic or not.

No species of truffle is known to be poisonous to humans. They represent a food source for various species of animals. In turn, animals spread their spores.

Moreover, truffles live in symbiosis with trees. Trees need truffles for nutrient acquisition while truffles rely on trees for energy. If they were toxic, truffles wouldn’t be able to provide such support to multiple species of plants and animals.

Beware: some toxic mushrooms can look like truffles at early stages of development, but they have a different, spongy feel.

Another concern is that of false truffles, a species of fungus that has underground fruiting bodies. It can resemble true truffles and are toxic or inedible by humans.

Also, if you choose to consume truffle oil, make sure the product is genuine. Some so-called truffle products contain zero truffles. They use instead a carcinogenetic chemical called bis(methylthio)methane which is not good for you or your pets.

So, if you give your dog truffle, make sure it really is truffle and not something else.

Can dogs eat truffle oil?

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Truffle oil may be found in your home if you aspire being a kitchen master. It has a strong aroma that enhances the flavor of multiple foods.

Do you have reasons to think that your dog may be interested in haute cuisine? Since truffles are not harmful to dogs, we can assume that truffle oil is also okay for dogs to eat.

The rule of thumb is to opt for natural truffle oils that are derived from real truffles. Avoid commercial truffle oils containing a mix of synthetic ingredients.

By choosing a natural truffle oil you will enjoy a boost in nutrition as it contains protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

Can dogs eat truffle oil? Yes, because it is safe for canines, but don’t allow them to eat too much.

Ingesting excessive amounts of truffle oil can cause:

  • Allergic reactions;
  • Skin irritation
  • A stomach upset
  • Irritation to kidneys and pain.

So yes, dogs can eat truffle oil, but not too much. Offer moderate amounts and start with a tiny drop to make sure the dog is not allergic to it.

But is it okay for cats?

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If you have a dog, you probably live with a cat too. It is well-known that feline food chart consists mainly of meat.

On the other hand, you may notice that your cat is craving mushrooms or truffle oil.

Mushroom flavor attracts cats and other animals due to glutamate, an amino acid with a rich aroma. So, cats are attracted by the protein in mushrooms, even if they don’t need them in their diets.

This does not mean you should feed your cat mushrooms. They will also crave ice-cream because of the fat it contains, but sweets are by no means appropriate for cats. For felines, meat remains the main source of nutrition.

The reason why dogs can have truffle and vegetables is being omnivores to a certain extent. Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores and will tolerate just a few foods other than meat.

Can dogs eat truffle cheese?

Truffle cheese is any type of cheese that has been flavored with truffle. The most common types of cheese that are being added truffle are sottocenere, pecorino, truffle tremor, cheddar, and gouda.

Your dog can have truffle cheese as long as the cheese is not one of the following varieties:

  • Blue cheese

This type of cheese contains too much fat for a dog’s nutritional needs. When blue cheese becomes very ripe, it can produce roquefortine, a substance that can be lethal to dogs. The high sodium contents are also unsuitable for pets.

  • Cheese with onions or garlic

These two plants are very dangerous for dogs and cats. Both contain a substance that is toxic to your furry friend and can cause severe anemia.

  • Brie and feta cheese

Cheese that contains large amounts of fat is not good for dogs. Ingesting too much fat can lead to pancreatitis, a life-threatening condition.

When to worry?

Offering genuine truffle or truffle oil to your dog is not a problem as long as quantities are moderate. There are several scenarios that should make you worry:

  • You are not sure whether the truffle is really truffle or not;
  • The truffle oil is not really made of truffle but uses synthetic aromas;
  • The dog has had too much truffle oil or cheese, which can cause a stomach upset.

Consider taking your dog to the vet if it is displaying one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Walking like it is drunk;
  • Excessive salivation;
  • Weakness;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Lethargy;
  • Jaundice;

When giving truffle oil or cheese to your dog, be careful about the amount it is consuming and reactions. There is not enough research on the effects of truffle oil on dogs so unusual reactions may occur. Seek professional help if you notice unusual behavior or symptoms in your dog. Pay attention every time your pooch is trying a new food, whether it is a treat or has been stolen.

Conclusion

Can dogs eat truffle? Can dogs eat truffle oil?  The answer is yes, as long as the ingredient is actually truffle. Also be careful to offer this delicacy in moderate amounts while keeping an eye on any unusual symptoms.