March 30, 2009

Cocoa Mulch; Bad For My Pets

Being someone that watches what is good for the planet, myself and my animals I get plenty of emails. I have news from leading Doctors, scientists and concerned friends. The latest yesterday was about my yard and of concern for my dogs health.

The email was a warning about Cocoa Bean Mulch and the death of dogs. I have always had dogs and usually some other type of animals too, but I had missed this warning. From the articles (back to 2003) I read, Cocoa Bean mulch has been out for quit some time.

Cocoa Bean Mulch is a byproduct of chocolate production, is natural and has a great smell. The problem with the cocoa bean shell mulch is that it contains theobromine, a compound (like in regular chocolate) toxic to dogs. Content of this compound reportedly ranges from 0.19 percent to 2.98 percent.

Now depending on the size of your dog and how much they consume the adverse reactions would be the same as a chocolate overdose. Theobromine affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Toxicity signs and symptoms would include:
*Elevated heart rate and Arrhythmias
*Stomach upset & Vomiting
*Frequent urination
*Muscle tremors & Seizures

Now if I didn’t put two and two together; cocoa mulch being made from the shell of the cocoa bean and the cocoa bean being used to make chocolate, hopefully someone would tell me. So, I called around to my local stores and asked associates in their lawn and garden departments.

Store #1:
Said; “We usually carry it, but we are out right now, try Walmart.” Then when asked if it would cause any harm to my pets; he said, “There is no danger, it just comes from the cocoa tree“.

Store #2:
Said, “Yes, we carry it but I haven’t heard of any problems”. She then checked the bag and told me, “It says it’s all natural so it should be ok.”

Store #3 (Walmart) said they didn’t carry it.

#4 (My Vet): Reported that they had not heard of any recent reports of animal illness due to cocoa bean mulch but that any product made from cocoa could cause harm to animals. They also told me that there is no treatment or antidote for Theobromine poisoning. Death could happen within 24 hours.

For safer alternatives try nontoxic shredded pine, cedar and hemlock bark or check with ASPCA at;

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