Can Dogs Eat Cream of Mushroom Soup?

Photo by Mike Mozart on Flickr

When you’re in a hurry and long for a warm meal, cream of mushroom soup sounds quite tempting, but should you share it with your pet who’s looking at you with an eager expression in his eyes?

Unfortunately, no, that’s not a very good idea.

The point is yes, it tickles your taste buds no end and fills your belly, but it can hardly be called nutritious or healthy, especially for a dog.

Some of the ingredients in a regular can of condensed cream of mushroom soup can be quite toxic to your pet, so you won’t be doing him much of a favor, and we’ll explain why.

We’ll have an in-depth look at the ingredients in this very popular soup and we’ll examine some healthy alternatives.

What are the ingredients in cream of mushroom soup?

The soup smells enticing and there’s a definite mushroom flavor, but do you have any idea what you’re actually eating?

Let’s have a look at the ingredients in one of the most popular cream of mushroom soup on the market.

Mushrooms

Even though they feature prominently on the label, there’s actually only 10% mushrooms in a can of condensed cream soup.

According to experts, dogs can eat mushrooms, at least those sold at your local store.

Those are considered to be safe, but wild mushrooms are not.

Those can be toxic and kill a dog, so teach your pet to stay away from them when you go hiking, even if you do consider yourself an expert. The risks are simply too great!

Mushrooms contain a lot of protein (3g of in a cup of raw mushrooms) and they’re a good source of vitamins and minerals.

They have calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and copper, plus most of the B vitamins.

That’s real mushrooms we’re talking about here, not the measly 10% you’ll find in a can of soup.

Vegetable oil

There are various types of oil used, including corn, canola and soybean oil.

One thing these food oils have in common is that they’re cheap, which is why they’re widely used in the pet food industry.

None of them are downright toxic to dogs, but long term consumption can lead to serious health issues especially as they’re high in saturated fats.

Oil is very calorific, which might be a problem if your dog is already chubby.

Also, you need to watch the fat ratio in your dog’s diet. Fat should account for 12% of your pet’s daily calorie intake.

Keep in mind that a diet rich in fats can cause pancreatitis, which is a serious condition and, in certain circumstances can be lethal.

Besides vegetable oil, a can of cream of mushroom soup also contains some 2% cream or milk, and that means even more fat.

Wheat flour

This is an ingredient commonly found in many types of dog food, because, once again, it’s cheap and makes the animal feel full.

There are 340 calories in 100g of wheat flour, and it’s mostly easily digestible carbs.

The highly-refined wheat flour used in many human or pet foods has almost no nutritional value.

As the nutritious parts of the grain are removed during the refining process, wheat flour has little to no minerals or vitamins, and almost no fiber, so your pet won’t get any help with his digestion.

Modified starch

Yes, there’s starch in flour, but there’s more added to the soup.

Starch is a thickening agent and food stabilizer, so if you’re wondering how come that delicious soup is so thick now you know why.

In itself, modified starch is not considered dangerous, but it’s a highly-processed ingredient and the chemicals used during processing can be quite dangerous.

These are the main ingredients in a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.

All the other ingredients are listed as less than 2%, but you should always read the label carefully as it is often towards the end of the list that you’ll find the most dangerous things.

Are any of the ingredients toxic to dogs?

Unfortunately, yes, some of the ingredients in cream of mushroom soup can be quite toxic to dogs and here are the main dangers.

Salt

According to the label, one serving of cream of mushroom soup (half a cup) contains 870 mg of salt.

That represents 37.8% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for the dog’s owner.

Just look at yourself, consider how much you weigh and how much does your dog weigh?

If you’re three times as big as your pet, that means the amount of salt in half a cup of mushroom soup is over 100% the theoretical RDA for dogs.

And that’s putting it broadly, as dogs don’t need as much salt as we do.

You also need to consider that there’s salt in other food your dog is going to consume in one day, including kibble and other store-bought treats.

It all adds up and it can lead to salt poisoning. The main signs of salt poisoning are

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

In serious cases the dog can become lethargic and you’ll notice a stiffness in his movements, a clear indication that you need to go to the vet right away.

Monosodium glutamate

Also known as MSG, this is a flavor enhancer commonly used by Chinese restaurants, as well as in canned and other processed foods.

Although it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, you should steer clear of it. Since it is called a flavor enhancer you’d assume it tastes good.

It doesn’t.

Actually, MSG is tasteless, but it tricks the brain into thinking a certain food tastes great.

MSG messes with the brain and studies have shown it can cause brain damage, neuroendocrine and behavioral disturbances.

Soy protein concentrate

Why do they add soy protein concentrate in soup?

Because it’s cheap, that’s why.

The main problem with this ingredient is that it comes mostly from genetically-modified soy and there are a lot of concerns that it isn’t healthy for either dogs or humans.

Among other things, it can trigger food allergies in dogs and can attack the liver.

Also, cream of mushroom soup contains seasoning, including garlic which is not recommended for dogs.

Are other cream soups any better?

Short answer: No.

No matter what they’re called, cream of chicken soup or celery soup, they’re all very high in salt, and they contain a lot of food additives, starches, stabilizers, flavor enhancers, etc.

All of these have no nutritional value and can be toxic to your pet.

Why would you want to feed your dog cream of mushroom soup?

Obviously, one of the main reasons you might be tempted to feed your dog a can of cream of mushroom soup is that it’s readily avoidable and cheap.

That’s true, but there are other equally affordable foods that are definitely healthier, although they might take more time to prepare.

Another reason to pour some mushroom soup in your dog’s bowl is that it will make the rest of the food, the kibble for instance, more appealing.

If that’s your reason, you’re not alone, many pet parents struggle with picky eaters.

However, feeding your dog unhealthy stuff can lead to stomach problems and make him even more fussy when it comes to food.

If you’re considering feeding this sort of food to a dog who’s feeling poorly and already has an upset stomach forget about it.

Yes, soup is supposed to make you feel better, but that’s real soup, homemade soup.

Are there any other healthy alternatives?

The healthiest alternative for your dog is some homemade bone broth.

This does the trick for picky eaters as the aroma is irresistible, and it’s also a great option for a pup with an upset tummy.

If your dog has diarrhea and cannot hold any food down, you’re supposed to feed him a strict diet of plain boiled rice and chicken breast.

Now, plain boiled rice isn’t exactly mouth-watering and once your dog is on the mend you’ll want to make it a bit tastier.

What’s the easiest soup recipe?

You don’t even need a recipe.

Just use any leftover meat or bones you have in your kitchen.

Take, for instance, chicken.

Whatever parts you’re not using for your family’s dinner, just throw them in a pot, add some water and have them boil or simmer.

You can also add some veggies, like a carrot, one sweet potato and some celery, as they’re all healthy for your pet.

Do not add any seasoning, especially salt. Your dog doesn’t need it and the meaty flavor will make it slurp it anyway.

If you’re using bones, make sure to take them out. Cooked bones are brittle and therefore not safe for dogs, but any meat pieces are OK.

Keep the pot of homemade soup in the fridge and, if you want to add some flavor to your dog’s dull kibble, just scoop up a ladle and mix it with the dog’s regular meal.

This homemade soup or broth at least you know it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients, and it’s actually nutritious.

Plus it has veggies and your dog can surely use the vitamins and fiber in them.

Can dogs eat cream of mushroom soup?

Bottom line – you should never feed your dog cream of mushroom soup or any other type of canned soup for that matter.

It’s full of calories, but it’s mostly empty calories, carbs with little nutritional value.

Mushrooms are good for dogs, and you could add some to his meal from time to time, only there’s very little of them in a canned soup.

This type of product can hardly be called soup, anyway.

If your dog is a picky eater, you’re better off preparing a large pot of pet-friendly chicken soup which can last you a whole week.