It’s that time of the year when everyone is outside getting their yards ready for picnics and barbecues. Part of that process is using mulch. As a dog lover, owner and pet sitter, I have been warning my clients not to use Cocoa Mulch.

What is Cocoa Mulch?

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch also goes by the name of cocoa shell much, cocoa bean shell mulch,, cocoa bean hull mulch and cocoa bean mulch. It’s all the same! In order to make the mulch, they simply use the shells of the bean after they are separated at the time of the roasting process. This ensures a dry weed free product as well as a sterile product.

Why is Cocoa Mulch dangerous?

The cocoa mulch omits a very sweet smelling aroma which is extremely enticing to our dogs. The shells, which is what the mulch is made of contain an ingredient called theobromine (which is in chocolate) and is highly toxic to dogs if ingested and can be fatal. The ingredient is also toxic to cats but dogs seem to be more attracted to the scent.

Symptoms of eating cocoa mulch?

Hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, muscle tremors and neurological disturbances. If you suspect that your pet has eaten cocoa mulch, get them to the nearest veterinarian immediately! You may also call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

As a pet sitter, I warn against the use of this type of mulch. There are many non toxic alternatives on the market today. Why risk your dog or cats life?

Are you in need of a dog walker or pet sitter? Give us a call at Dawn the Pet Nanny LLC 610-716-7716. Find us on the web at or like us on facebook for all types of information at