Toxic Mulch

Dear Liz, 

It’s about time to begin spring landscaping.  I know there are certain types of mulch that are dangerous to pets.  Can you tell me which ones to avoid?


Playing in the Dirt


Dear Playing in the Dirt – Well HAPPY SPRING!!!  You’re right to remember that certain mulch products can be very dangerous.  Coco mulch, although wonderfully aromatic, can be lethal to pets if eaten.  There is caffeine in those beans and that’s the dangerous part.  Best to keep away from that!

Other mulches and wood chips are best left away from pet areas as well and here’s why.  Pets, especially dogs, love to chew wood chips, sticks, bark, etc., and this can be very dangerous!  Sticks can get wedged in between teeth, bark or chips can be chewed and swallowed, causing stomach and intestinal irritation or even punctures if they’re pointed in any way. 

Running through wood chips can be an issue as well.  Sometimes sticks are not ground up enough and I’ve seen where dogs have run on the sticks and gotten one jammed up into a foot.  Very painful!

Lastly on the mulch or chip issue is the fact that we’ve had a very wet 2008.  Mushrooms love growing in damp conditions and mulch and wood chips hold moisture.  I’ve seen fungus grow on chips and we’ve even lost a dog to mushrooms growing on the chips.  Apparently there are some poisonous mushrooms that LOVE wood chips.

So while they’re pretty and can smell great, PLEASE keep ALL mulch and wood chips away from pet areas!

And remember this, too, while you’re sprucing up the yard.  Dogs LOVE plant bulbs!  Unfortunately, plant bulbs don’t like dogs and yes, some are poisonous. 

Want to check out more poisonous plants to avoid?  Go to the ASPCA’s web site and see what’s what – Click on this link…  Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.





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