Click here to learn more.
A. Let's back up. While chocolate should never, ever be given to dogs, its toxicity is highly variable based on the darkness of the chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the higher the danger) and the size of the dog (the smaller the dog, the bigger the danger). A large dog (like a Labrador) who eats a pound of milk chocolate is probably not in grave danger of anything except tossing up that candy all over your carpet.
So what about cocoa mulch? Like chocolate itself, there's no one answer when it comes to toxicity, except that it shouldn't be eaten at all. The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center lists cocoa mulch on its list of hazardous garden substances. The symptoms of ingestion can be the same as with chocolate itself: vomiting and diarrhea is common in some dogs as well as a rapid heart rate, muscle tremors and acting hyper. Seizures are also possible. (Cocoa mulch — like chocolate — is also toxic to cats, but they're far less likely to eat any of it.)
Given those potential problems, I can't recommend that pet owners use cocoa mulch in their yards, or at least in the parts of their yards to which animals have access.
Of course, you can't change what your neighbors use on their own properties. Instead, keep your dog on a leash and teach the "leave it" command. My daughter, Vetstreet pet trainer Mikkel Becker, demonstrates the easy steps in this video.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
We bet you think you know which
countries the Australian Shepherd,
Poodle and French Bulldog come from.
Dr. Tina Wismer describes mushrooms
that are toxic to pets, and how to tell if
your animal has ingested any.
Dr. Marty Becker dispels misconceptions
like "all cats in a shelter are sick" or that
Tinsel the adorable hedgehog will definitely make your day — and he only
needs the next 40 seconds to do it!
The hardy Icelandic Sheepdog has the
typical prick ears, curled tail and fondness
for barking of his Spitz relatives.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.