My pets mean everything to me, but I'll admit I can get a little overprotective.
Of course, dogs being dogs, they love to chew on anything they find on the sidewalk, and it's a daily struggle to keep litter out of their mouths.
Despite all of my worrying, both my pets are happy and healthy. But that can change in an instant, and dog owner Janna Joyner's tragic story proves that.
A Pet Owner's Worst Nightmare
Joyner is a model dog owner, a foster owner for a "pack" of six animals, including some with medical conditions.
But even she was taken by surprise one day, coming home to find two of her pets were dying while four others were stumbling around and vomiting.
Drago and Adoni were both poisoned by mushrooms in their backyard.Jana Joyner / Instagram
Drago, a St. Bernard, and Adoni, a lab-retriever mix, were both rushed to the vet but could not be rescued.
Blood tests revealed that Joyner's dogs had eating Amanita mushrooms, and were poisoned by a toxic substance inside the plants.
Death Caps
Species of the Amanita mushroom variety are called Death Caps or Death Angels, because the toxins inside them do fatal damage to a person or animal's liver.
"Destroying Angel" amanita mushrooms.
Ryane Snow - Wikimedia
A perfectly healthy animal can die less than 48 hours after eating wild mushrooms.
The mushrooms in Joyner's backyard were buried under mulch, so even she had no idea they were there until it was too late to do anything.
She's sharing her heartbreaking story to warn other pet owners about the dangers of these mushrooms.
But there are many kinds of mushrooms that are dangerous for pets. We'll teach you how to spot them.
Disposing of mushrooms
Before we show you the most common types of poison mushrooms, it's important to learn how to dispose of them safely.
  • Keep gloves on while trimming any mushrooms.
  • Collect everything you trim in a plastic bag and seal it.
  • Then dispose of the bag.
  • Be sure to wash your hands once you've disposed of the mushrooms.
If a pet eats any wild mushrooms, treat it as a medical emergency and have a vet examine them right away.
Symptoms of mushroom poisoning
Waldo Jaquith / Flickr
Different species of mushrooms have different effects on a dog's body, but most damage the animal's liver or stomach.
The most common signs of mushroom poisoning include:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Yellow skin (jaundice)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
Death Caps
geograph.org.uk
These slim mushrooms with wide caps are common throughout America, especially in regions with oak, chestnut, and pine trees.
Just half of one mushroom is poisonous enough to kill an adult man, so be careful when handling them.
The caps flower in summer and autumn, but can appear in a variety of colors.
Angel of Death
James St. John / Flickr
The mushrooms are in the same Amanita family as Death Caps, and look very similar.
They usually spread around oak trees and bloom in spring.
Fly Agaric
Pixabay
Known for their famous bright red caps and white spots, these mushrooms are not picky about where they grow and spread among all types of trees.

Other Toxic Plants

To be safe, veterinarians recommend trimming any and all mushrooms that sprout in your yard, or outdoor spaces where your dogs play.
But there are many other common plants that are unsafe for pets:
  • Tulips and hyacinths
  • Azaleas
  • Lilies
  • Oleander
  • Daffodils
  • Lily of the Valley (which is unsafe for people too)

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