There’s a legitimate warning circulating via e-mail about the dangers of the Cocoa landscape mulch. (In case you haven’t received it, here’s the scoop via Snopes.) The sweet smelling mulch is manufactured by Hershey’s and contains both the Theobromine and Caffeine found in chocolate. Just a few ounces could cause stomach problems, as well as seizures and death if enough is ingested. (ASPCA poison control says that as little as 20 ounces of milk chocolate can cause serious problems in a 10-pound dog.)
The mulch is sold at most garden supply stores, and according to Hershey’s 98% of dog’s won’t eat it. It’s unlikely that your pet will have a chance to eat the mulch, but with such high risks, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Why would a dog eat mulch? To be fair, mulch is just chopped up sticks-a dog’s favorite toy! But, sadly, Embrace recently handled claims in which a pet ingested regular mulch (non-toxic, basic mulch) and the splinters and debris formed a painful obstruction. Vets performed two surgeries to try to remove the many small splinters of wood from the dog’s bowel, but infection and contamination killed him.
A tragic reminder for all of us to supervise our pets at play, especially those prone to chewing foreign objects.