Lion’s Mane for Dogs

Some articles online encourage dog owners to give Lion’s Mane to their pets for the purported health benefits. Although Lion’s Mane has been shown to be beneficial for humans, there are no studies yet evaluating the effectiveness of Lion’s Mane for dogs. To improve the mental health of your dog or to treat them for cognitive dysfunction (dog dementia), consider asking your vet about certain naturally-based nutritional supplements that have been shown to enhance cognitive functioning in dogs.

Lion’s Mane benefits for dogs

How much Lion’s Mane to give to your dog?

What is “doggie dementia”?

Natural remedies for dog dementia


Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits for dogs

Although Lion’s Mane is beneficial to human health, which may indicate it could be beneficial for dogs, there are no studies to date evaluating the safety or efficacy of Lion’s Mane for canine health. If you’re interested in improving your dog’s health, consider learning more about nutritional supplements that are proven to alleviate mental decline in dogs.

There’s no doubt that Lion’s Mane mushroom, or hericium erinaceus, provides a range of health benefits for humans. It has antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, immunostimulant, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial properties. It’s known to benefit cognitive impairment and can be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases (Venturella, 2021).

Although Lion’s Mane is well researched for human applications, there are no studies to date on its safety or efficacy on dogs. The closest thing is a study which evaluated the effect of a medicinal mushroom supplement on dogs undergoing chemotherpay (Gianotti, 2009). However, the supplement evaluated (which did alleviate some symptoms of chemotherapy) did not contain Lion’s Mane.

On the other hand, just because there are no studies evaluating Lion’s Mane for dogs doesn’t mean there isn’t any truth to it. For one thing, dogs and humans show similar patterns of cognitive decline as a function of age (Adams, 2000; Landsberg, 2006). Treatments that help humans with dementia also help dogs with cognitive dysfunction (“dog dementia”) (Ruehl, 1995). We know that both humans and dogs suffer from oxidative stress. We also know that Lion’s Mane may help reduce oxidative stress (Ren, 2018; He, 2017). Altogether, the evidence indicates that Lion’s Mane may be a promising therapy for dogs in their cognitive dysfunction, given that it alleviates similar issues in humans.

It’s understandable that owners may be tempted to give Lion’s Mane to their dogs, hoping their pets may get the same benefits that humans do. Given the similarities between dogs and humans when it comes to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, it may be possible that Lion’s Mane could be beneficial for dogs. However, no studies have yet explored this application of Lion’s Mane.

Dog owners may find it more promising to consider treatments that have been tested for safety and efficacy. These increase the chance that the treatment will actually work and reduce the risks associated with trying an untested method. Several natural supplements are effective at reducing symptoms of cognitive decline in dogs and treating canine cognitive dysfunction.

Hand holding Lion's Mane mushroom; although Hericium erinaceus has many health benefits for humans, it is untested on dogs.
Lion’s Mane mushroom

How much Lion’s Mane to give to your dog?

No daily dosage of Lion’s Mane can be readily prescribed because no studies or clinical trials have yet evaluated Lion’s Mane’s effects, benefits, or safety on dogs.

If you want to help prevent, reduce, or reverse mental decline in your aging dog, ask your veterinarian about the nutritional supplements that have been shown to alleviate cognitive dysfunction in dogs.

If you’re interested in using Lion’s Mane to treat your dog’s mental decline, consider the fact that there is no evidence behind canine supplementation of Lion’s Mane. Your pet may derive significantly greater benefits by relying on proven methods for addressing cognitive dysfunction in dogs. There are a range of natural health treatments and methods you may discuss with your veterinarian. If you are seeking a more natural solution, you may ask about using nutritional supplements derived from medicinal plants, like ginkgo biloba, which are effective in treating cognitive dysfunction in dogs.

What is “doggie dementia”?

Dogs undergo similar brain changes as humans, and may develop ‘dog dementia’, or canine cognitive dysfunction.

“Doggie dementia” refers to the age-related cognitive decline in dogs. Like humans, the aging brains of dogs undergo many changes which contribute to age-dependent brain pathology, including a reduction in the number of neurons and brain size. The official term for this is cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) or canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), a type of neurodegenerative disorder. Human disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s (a type of dementia) and Parkinson’s are all part of this category of neurodegenerative disorders.

For dogs and humans, oxidative damage and beta-amyloid deposition are closely linked with age-related mental decline. To address the role that oxidative stress plays, many treatments for humans and dogs are evaluated based on their ability to scavenge or prevent the production of oxygen-free radicals (Landsberg, 2006; Head, 2002). Additionally, the accumulation of beta-amyloids in certain brain regions follows the same pattern in both dogs and humans (Head, 2002; Tapp, 2004). Thus, the brain changes in dogs with CDS is similar to humans suffering from similar neurodegenerative disorders, which is why dogs may be used as a model for the human aging brain (Landsberg, 2006).

Natural remedies for dog dementia

Ask your vet about nutritional supplements for your dog. Senilife and Aktivait have been shown to relieve signs of cognitive dysfunction in aging dogs.

Common treatments for CDS in dogs involve a combination of antioxidants, fatty acids, essential minerals, vitamins, metabolic cofactors, and trophic nutrients, which help to enhance brain cell health and memory. Clinical trials have even evaluated the efficacy of certain supplemental therapies, and found supplements containing phosphatidylserine to be effective in improving symptoms (Landsberg, 2006). The following three studies evaluated different supplements with phosphatidylserine. All three found the tested supplement to be effective in alleviating the side-effects of cognitive dysfunction.

  1. A supplement of ginkgo biloba, vitamins E and B6, and phosphatidylserine (Senilife) improved signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) for senior dogs with mild cognitive impairment (Osella, 2005).
  2. A supplement of ginkgo biloba, vitamins E and B6, and phosphatidylserine (the same as in Senilife) improved the memory and learning of senior beagles. In this study, each capsule contained 25mg of phosphatidylserine (from GM-free soya), 50mg of ginkgo biloba, 20.5 mg of vitamin B6, and 33.5 mg of vitamin E. Capsules were given based on weight (2 for 5-10kg, 3 for 10-15mg, 4 for 15-20 kg) (Araujo, 2008).
  3. Another study found that the supplement Aktivait improved several symptoms of cognitive dysfunction including disorientation and house soiling behavior. This supplement is similar to the other studies except that it does not include ginkgo biloba or vitamin B6. It contains a range of antioxidants and free radical scavengers including alpha-lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, L-carnitine and Co-enzymne Q10. It also contains DHA and EPA fatty acids and phosphatidylserine (Heath, 2007).

By testing these supplements on dogs, there is abundant evidence to show that these supplements are safe and effective in slowing the progress of mental decline in senior dogs. Both Senilife and Aktivait are readily available for purchase.

Brown poodle running in a forest. Although dogs and humans share similarities in how their brains age, and so the benefits humans derive from Lion's Mane may apply to dogs, we just don't yet have the evidence to know. Instead, it's better to turn to nutritional supplements that have been shown to work.
Author’s dog, Kitty


Although Lion’s Mane’s mushroom benefits are well-known for humans, they remain yet untested in dogs. Consider looking into nutritional supplements to enhance your dog’s mental health or treat their cognitive decline. Consult your veterinarian about natural supplements that have been evaluated and approved for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in dogs.

Leave A Reply