Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cocoa Mulch Is Extremely Toxic to Dogs

Roasted Cocoa Beans
When you’re planning your flowerbeds and landscaping this season, carefully consider the type of mulch you spread in the garden. If you have a dog, avoid using cocoa mulch, which is becoming a popular choice for

Smells Good and Tastes Great to Dogs

Cocoa mulch is extremely toxic for dogs because the sweet smell attracts them and it actually tastes great to dogs. If an unsupervised dog gets into cocoa mulch and eats a large quantity, it could result in severe illness or death. The chemical theobromine in the cocoa mulch is the same chemical as the one in chocolate bars and makes it dangerous when dogs ingest it. Most home and garden stores sell cocoa mulch, which is made from roasted cocoa bean shells.

Cocoa Mulch Symptoms

How severe your dog's symptoms are when eating cocoa mulch depends on how much he weighs and the amount he ingests. According to Kansas State University veterinarian, Dr. Susan Mulch, if your dog weighs 20 pounds, eating only an ounce of cocoa mulch can cause adverse symptoms and 1.5 ounces can have severe symptoms such as:
  • vomiting
  • racing heart
  • diarrhea
  • muscle spasms
  • seizures
  • death

If your dog eats cocoa mulch, call your veterinarian immediately. If it’s been less than two hours since ingesting the cocoa mulch, the vet can induce vomiting. Anti-seizure drugs are also used for dogs having seizures from eating cocoa mulch. The digestive problems caused by eating the mulch can result in dehydration and your dog will be placed in intensive care for treatment.

Although cocoa mulch smells wonderful and looks great, it is better to stick with traditional mulches for your garden, like shredded hardwoods and compost. 

Image Credit: Creative Commons By Chocolaterie-nestlé-broc-fèves-cacao-torrefiées

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