Keep an eye on the cocoa mulch

Gardening time is here, and there are some things to watch out for when planning the summer’s work. It is widely known that some plants are poisonous, but more innocent looking gardening items can also pose a danger to dogs.

Cocoa mulch is popular in the USA. It smells good, repels garden pests, retains moisture, and darkens over time instead of fading. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous to pets.

Many types of mulch are made from wood, but cocoa mulch is made from cacao shells left over from the cocoa bean roasting process. It is environmentally friendly, and contains theobromine – the same substance that makes dogs sick from eating chocolate. Snopes.com reports that depending on the kind of mulch, it contains 300-1200 mg of theobromine per ounce.

Whether this is dangerous or not depends on the dog’s propensity to eat unusual things. While theobromine is toxic to cats, they are very unlikely to munch down on mulch. Dogs might.

Some manufacturers of cocoa mulch claim their mulch goes through extensive cleaning processes to strip the cocoa fat from the shells, thus making them harmless. If you have a dog that likes to eat strange things from the ground and you want to use cocoa mulch, do some research and make sure you get a kind that’s free from theobromine.

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