Daily Paws

Pet news, tips, entertainment and opinions from VetLocator.com

Cocoa mulch and your dog – not a good combination


Spring, gardens, mulch, fresh air, outside with our pets……YUM!   As Julie Andrews sang, “These are a few of my favorite things!”

As the urge to be outside in nature gets stronger, and you revel in the sights and sounds of the new life springing forth, be aware of some potential hazards that can harm your dog if you are not careful.  One of them is cocoa mulch – a product that has grown in popularity over the past several years because it looks great and smells delicious, just like cocoa.

Many dogs think so too, and there have been several occurrences of dogs getting ill and even dying after ingesting cocoa mulch.

Here is an excerpt on cocoa mulch from About.com:

Analysis: No question about it, chocolate and other products made from cacao beans — e.g., cocoa mulch — contain substances toxic to certain animals, including both dogs and cats. And the main culprit is indeed theobromine, a caffeine-like chemical which acts as a mild diuretic and stimulant in human beings but is poisonous to animals less well equipped to metabolize it.

Cocoa mulch, which consists mainly of cacao bean shells, contains a higher concentration of theobromine than chocolate processed for human consumption. Dogs are attracted to the scent and in documented cases have eaten the stuff, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, seizures and, in rare instances, death. While it’s equally toxic to cats, veterinarians say they are less likely to ingest cocoa products and therefore less at risk.

If you suspect your dog may have eaten cocoa mulch, the ASPCA recommends contacting your veterinarian immediately or calling the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 for expert advice.

Symptoms of Theobromine toxicity may include:

  • vomiting & diarrhea
  • trembling, acting nervous
  • seizures, muscle spasms
  • excessive thirst
  • unconsciousness
  • death – although this is rare

Most dog owners know not to give their dog or cat chocolate because they can die from it.  Now you know about cocoa mulch and to keep an eye on your dog when you are out and about with him or her.

Keeping our pets safe is something we take seriously 🙂

Daily Paws

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4 Responses to “Cocoa mulch and your dog – not a good combination”

  1. Willy says:

    Thank you for the blog post on cocoa mulch. I was wondering about this stuff and now I won’t get it ever.

  2. Evie says:

    I almost bought a bag of cocoa mulch recently. One of the shoppers who was passing by told me if I had dogs or cats to avoid it. Another person said that was not true. I’m confused – especially since I read this.


  3. Dino Vedo says:

    I finally decided to drop a comment, and let me tell you this is another very strong and powerful post. I’ve been reading through some of your previous posts and have been visiting your blog every now and then.

    Thanks so much!

    All the best,
    Dino Vedo

  4. Cocoa mulch dogs says:

    […] Cocoa mulch and your dog“ not a good combination ?« Daily Paws Apr 17, 2010 If you suspect your dog may have eaten cocoa mulch, the ASPCA recommends contacting your […]

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