I learned that chocolate was bad for pets when one Easter our two dogs ate all the chocolate Easter eggs that the Easter Bunny had hidden in the living room for my daughter, and I was told that could make the dogs very sick. I never made the connection that the ingredient in chocolate from cacao beans–theobromine–would also be present in cocoa mulch. Read more about this culprit of pet poisonings, here:
A Care2 engineer, Cathy, sent us an email noting that cocoa mulch can be deadly to both cats and dogs. She had checked the story out with the urban legend websites and it appeared to be true. Further research from poison control centers has confirmed that cocoa mulch can kill pets. Cocoa mulch contains more of the deadly theobromine than chocolate.
Unfortunately, many home owners are unaware of this danger to their pets, and as cocoa mulch becomes more popular as a great way to reduce weeds and pests, more pets are getting ill or dying after eating it. Many pets like the taste of cocoa mulch.
I bought cocoa mulch myself a few years ago because it is reportedly great to use when planting clematis. I am grateful my two dogs didn’t eat it. According to the humane society, 9 ounces can kill a 50-pound dog, while a little over 5 ounces can cause seizures.
If you are worried your pet may have eaten cocoa mulch, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 for expert advice.
By Annie B. Bond