Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cocoa (mulch) a no-no for Fido

Apparently, cocoa mulch and dogs don’t go together very well. We just ran across an article in a local newspaper about a man’s dog gulping down an indeterminate amount of cocoa mulch and getting extremely sick as a result. While it would seem that cocoa mulch provides an inordinate amount of roughage for any system, which would create an obvious problem, apparently the veterinarian determined it was the cocoa more than the mulch that caused the pet's near-death experience.

Curious about what effect cocoa mulch might have on a dog, we Googled the subject and came across this information from

Chocolate contains theobromine. A naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, theobromine increases urination and affects the central nervous system as well as heart muscle. While amounts vary by type of chocolate, it's the theobromine that is poisonous to dogs.

Not all chocolate is the same. Some has a small amount of theobromine; another type has a large amount and still another contains an amount that is somewhere in between. The quantity has a relationship with the weight of your dog. Small dogs can be poisoned, it is easy to understand, from smaller amounts of theobromine than large dogs.

I’m not sure if landscapers use cocoa mulch anymore, and we wouldn’t recommend it in light of the hazard it might present to the family pet.

If you want to know more about what chocolate can do to a dog, click on the headline.


Bob Tripepi, Univ. of Idaho said...

Blogger, Can you be more specific about the "cocoa" mulch? My guess is the mulch is made from coconut coir (refuse from the husk of coconuts) rather than mulch made from cacao tree (or seed meal or fruit husk). If the mulch source is from coconut coir, then I believe your first analysis - a roughage overdose - would explain the dog's problem since I doubt if coconut coir contains much theobromine.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

This is a good topic.

I find it interesting and informative, because I already spent weeks assembling a safe woods list for pet birds page. Ourselves, we have dogs too, and I know that chocolate or cocoa can be toxic or deadly to dogs.

But we don't use that mulch here really, and this is new news to me. But I'm glad to know about this, because new times may bring new products to our area.


M. D. Vaden Portland Landscape & Tree