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D2003-45

Dear Daisy Dog

I planted shrubs this fall and mulched them with cocoa bean mulch. Ironically, my chocolate Labrador retriever, Mocha, tries to eat the mulch.

Should I let her snack on it or replace it with hardwood mulch, which she doesn’t find at all tasty?

Daisy Responds

Unless you can keep Mocha away from the cocoa bean mulch, your best course is to replace it with a mulch she won’t eat, such as hardwood mulch. Here’s why:

Cocoa bean mulch contains theobromine and caffeine, and both can be toxic.

Small amounts of cocoa bean mulch can trigger vomiting and diarrhea. Larger doses cause tremors, a racing heart, seizures and sometimes even death.

If the reaction is severe, immediate veterinary care is needed to minimize absorption of the theobromine and caffeine and control the clinical signs. With treatment, most dogs recover.

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