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July 1st, 2008, 10:49 AM
Over the weekend the doting owner of two young lab
mixes 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. Their
dog Calypso decided that the mulch smelled good enough
to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few
times which was typical when she eats something new
but wasn't 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 seizure and died

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.

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.' True
information about the mulch can be found here -
This site gives the following information: Cocoa
Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden
Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a
lethal ingredient called 'Theobromine' . It is lethal
to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it
really attracts dogs. They
will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already
occurred in the
last 2-3 weeks.
Just a word of caution, check what you are using in
your gardens and be aware of what your gardeners are
using in your gardens.

Theobromine is the ingredient that is used to make all
especially dark or baker's chocolate which is toxic to
dogs. Cocoa bean
shells contain potentially toxic quantities of
theobromine, a xanthine
compound similar in effects to caffeine and
theophylline. A dog that
ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from
cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and
died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents
and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the
presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.
Please email the manufacturer at michellemessick@
hersheys. com and request that accurate information
about this product be posted on the packaging to avoid

July 1st, 2008, 11:22 AM
Sorry, but common sense should prevail here. If you own a dog, you don't toss chocolate all over the place and just hope the dog won't eat it.

Oh and, cats are not attracted to it for the record. I use it in my gardens from time to time, and absolutely none of the neighborhood cats have ever even wanted to sniff it.

Most dogs will eat about anything, hence why you should be careful about what you leave laying around (especially in your yard!) cause doggy will probably eat it as long as it gives off some sort of smell.

July 1st, 2008, 02:11 PM
I've used cocoa mulch in the past and never had an issue with my previous dogs but they were both very cautious about what they ate. It does smell insanely wonderful when it's fresh. The smell and the mulch itself don't last long. You pay a premium price for a product that blows away and breaks down far too quickly.
I wouldn't trust Baxter or Bentley with the stuff. I'm sure they would try to eat some of it.