PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The ASPCA warns of the dangers of using cocoa bean mulch in your garden. Curious canines are extremely attracted to the sweet smelling aroma. Cocoa bean shells, a by-product of chocolate containing theobromine (which is also in chocolate), and widely used in landscaping, is highly toxic to dogs if ingested and can be fatal.
This component is dangerous for cats too, but dogs are more likely to be attracted to the smell.
Symptoms include hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, elevated heart rate and neurological disturbances.
The ASPCA highly suggests using non-toxic alternatives including, shredded pine, hemlock bark, or cedar. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested cocoa bean mulch, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
For more potential pet hazards living on your lawn, check out the ASPCA’s Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening on their website at ASPCA.org.