Cocoa Mulch Contains
an Ingredient Harmful to Pets-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor: There are several versions of
this eRumor but all of them say that commonly sold cocoa mulch contains
theobromine which can be lethal to cats and dogs. One version
tells the story of a pet owner who lost a dog because of cocoa mulch.
The Truth: It's fairly well known that
some animals should not eat chocolate and according to the experts we
checked with that warning applies to cocoa mulch as well, although the
number of reported animal deaths is very low. The villain
is theobromine, a chemical that is similar to caffeine. It can
give a boost to humans but dogs and cats cannot always metabolize it
successfully and it can be lethal to them. That is especially true
of the shells of the cacao beans, which are ground up and used in cocoa
mulch, and contain even higher levels of theobromine than the bean.
Most packaging of cocoa mulch makes it
clear that it's not for human or animal consumption. It also
appears that all cocoa mulch is not the same. One
manufacturer we checked with, the maker of Mirana cocoa mulch, said
that their mulch is the result of a series of processing steps and that
the level of theobromine in their mulch is barely detectable.
We did find at least one documented case reported in the Journal of the
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).. The report says that a
dog that had ingested cocoa mulch developed convulsions and died
17-hours later. An analysis of the stomach showed ingested cacao
bean shells and lethal levels of theobromine.
The AVMA has issued a release because of this new eRumor about cocoa
mulch. It says that according to the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there have not been any
reports in 2006 of animals dying from cocoa mulch ingestion. In
the years spanning 2004 and 2005 there were 16 cases of cocoa mulch
ingestion reported, none of which resulted in death.
The ASPCA says that the account of the death of the dog named Calypso
that is in the eRumor is "suspect." The symptoms are not
completely consistent with death from cocoa bean ingestion. The
ASPCA says that although vomiting is a common result, the dog is
described as having had a single seizure the next day during a walk and
then dying suddenly, which is not what would be expected.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Cocoa mulch which is sold by Home Depot, Foremans
Garden Supply and other garden supply stores, contains a lethal
ingredient called "theobromine" which is lethal to dogs and
cats. It smells like chocolate. It really attracts dogs, and they will
ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths have already occurred in the
last 2-3 weeks.
Just a word of caution. Check what you are using in
your gardens, and beware of what your gardeners are using in your
Subject: Cocoa MULCH TOXIC TO DOGS!
AFTER INGESTING IT-
MANUFACTURER ADMITS ITS TOXIC. SOLD IN HOME DEPOT-
STORES-ETC- GET THE WORD OUT!
Sent to us by Meagan Karnes, of Fur Crazy Pet Care.
Yesterday, one of our clients experienced a tragedyb
wanted me to pass a special message along to all of
my dog loving friends and family. I was hoping you could forward this to
your contact list.
My client was the doting owner of two young
lab/golden retriever mixes.
Over the weekend, they purchased Cocoa Mulch from
Target to use in their
garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was
advertised to keep cats away
from their garden. They set the bag in their yard.
Their dog Calypso, decided
that the mulch smelled good enough to eat so she
broke into it and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few
times which was typical of her when she would get into something she
shouldn?t have gotten in to. She was not acting lethargic in any way.
The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk.
Half way through the walk, she had a seizureand died instantly. Although
the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further
investigation on the company?s website, this product is HIGHLY toxic to
dogs. Denise (Calypso?s mom) wanted me to pass this information along so
no one had to experience the same tragedy she went through.
In Loving Memory of Calypso.
Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they
claim that "It is true
that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat
Cocoa Mulch can
suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees
(depending on each individual dog).
However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it."