We have talked about the dangers of Theobromine twice in the last few weeks and our recent article on Foods You Should Never Give Your Pet, solicited a comment from a fan about the danger of Cocoa Mulch.
This is for those of you that may not have been informed about the dangers of cocoa mulch to your dog (and cat) and if it saves one animal, then it will have been worth it.
Theobromine is the chemical found in chocolate that is toxic to dogs and cats. Dogs will eat indiscriminately so they are much more likely to get themselves in trouble. Cocoa Mulch contains even higher amounts of theobromine than dark chocolate. A 50 pound dog can get severe stomach upset if he east just 2 ounces of cocoa mulch, about 4.5 ounces increases heart rate, 5.3 ounces can bring on seizures and over 9 ounces can cause death!
Gardeners are choosing cocoa mulch for several reasons: It has a lovely aroma (made from cocoa bean shells), it retains its color when wet, holds moisture better, lasts longer than other mulches, is organic so breaks down naturally and insulates well.
Sadly, it’s the aroma that will attract dogs and studies have shown that most will eat it. Left to their own devices in a garden, the chances of a dog eating enough to cause harm, are high. There is a theory that once the enticing smell dissipates, dogs will not be attracted to it, but as we know, dogs have a keen sense of smell and time does not reduce the toxicity.
Bottom line, if you have an outdoor pet DO NOT USE COCOA MULCH. Be sure that if your animals visit a neighbor or friend that you ask them not to use this product and if you are out and about, be cautious when your dog investigates the mulch in someone else’s garden.
If you suspect your pet has gotten into cocoa mulch, immediately go to the vet. The sooner your animal gets medical attention, the better the chances he will survive!