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Warning: Cocoa Bean Mulch Harmful to Dogs

The following was originally posted on PETA Prime by Elizabeth Bublitz.

For a few years now, cocoa bean mulch has been available at numerous garden centers.

Many homeowners are using it in lieu of wood mulch because it has a longer shelf life and it is very attractive. However, cocoa bean mulch contains methylxanthines—specifically caffeine and theobromine, which dogs are extremely sensitive to.

Dogs are attracted to the chocolate scent of cocoa bean mulch and are very likely to eat it. If ingested, cocoa mulch can cause your dog to tremble and vomit.

If a large amount is consumed, dogs can become hyperactive and have a rapid heart rate, seizures, and diarrhea. While unlikely, the consumption of cocoa mulch can be fatal to dogs. It can also be harmful to cats (although they are less likely to be attracted to the chocolate aroma) and other wildlife as well.

If you have cocoa bean mulch in your yard, remove it as soon as possible. If you are uncertain whether you have cocoa bean mulch in your yard, simply smell it for the scent of chocolate. If there is even a hint of it, remove it.

If you feel your dog has ingested cocoa mulch, contact your veterinarian or pet poison control (1-800-213-6680) immediately.

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  • Dawn Centorbi says:

    Please remind people of this now (spring 2010) since people will be going out and purchasing mulch and unknowingly using this product around their house when they have dogs or cats. And even if they don’t, someone else’s may stop by for a bite. There should be a warning on the label in large print and boldly! And what about the gardeners and landscapers?

  • Jackie says:

    Thank you so much for the warning. I was at a friends house this weekend (who does not have dogs)and she used the cocoa bean mulch in her garden. I loved it and almost ran out to get it for my garden. I have two dogs that love to play in the yard, so thank you so much for the heads up! I also sent the link to my friend so she would be aware in case one of her friends came to visit with their doggies.