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Mulch Matters- The risks of gardening mulch and your dog

Published on May 2, 2016 in Dog Health

2 labs in grass

Dogs, cats and humans enjoy more time in the yard as spring emerges. There are several steps you can take to create a beautiful and pet friendly garden. Read on to learn more about the potential risks mulch and fertilizers may pose if you have pets.

Cocoa mulch- This waste product from chocolate manufacturing contains theobromine and caffeine. This product can be found in most major garden centers. Cocoa mulch has an attractive chocolate smell that entices dogs, however it is extremely toxic, and can be lethal.  Symptoms of toxic ingestion include: vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, abdominal pain and seizures. Seek immediate treatment if you suspect your pet has ingested this substance.

Cedar and Pine Mulch- These products are safer choices, and do not usually contain any toxins. Be sure to purchase chips that do not contain oil or resin. You must still be careful that these wood chips do not become a choking hazard or bowel obstruction. Many dogs see these wood pieces and feel they must chew on them. The coarse texture can perforate a dog’s stomach lining if swallowed. Some dogs may also have an allergic reaction to wood chips such as rash, itching and skin irrigation.

Always supervise your pup if you are unsure how they will react to your new gardening project. When animals are a concerned, the best mulch is one that decomposes into the soil rapidly, giving the plants the nutrients they need, without having to sit on the soil for a long period of time. Please call Indian Peaks Veterinary Hosptial at, (303) 938-9474, if you have any questions or concerns.