Warning: this type of garden mulch can poison your dog or cat

Video: Mulch Problems

While mulch is not meant to be ingested, some dogs still love chewing on the wood chips. One particular type of mulch can be especially poisonous to dogs (and cats): the kind made from the shells of cocoa beans.

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According to the National Capital Poison Control Center:

Cocoa bean mulch contains theobromine and caffeine, just like chocolate. These chemicals are poisonous to dogs. Dogs who swallow cocoa bean mulch could have vomiting, diarrhea, a very fast heart rate, tremors and seizures. Death is uncommon but has happened. It’s impossible to tell how much cocoa bean mulch might be poisonous.

Video: Permethrin Poisoning in Cats

cocoaa mulch
Source: Amazon

Additionally, the mulch smells like chocolate, which may make it all the more enticing for consumption. While cats seem less likely to eat it, owners should know that cocoa mulch consumption is toxic to felines, too.


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out that large amounts of the mulch would have to be consumed for such adverse side effects. They suggest that dogs who are unsupervised around the mulch or have “indiscriminate eating habits” are the ones most at risk.

As pet owners, knowledge is power in terms of preventing health issues, and it’s always best to err on the side of caution. To that extent, it’s always wise to double-check any substances used around our furry family members (including fertilizers, potentially toxic plants, and home cleaners) to make sure that everyone stays safe and healthy.

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