BACKGROUND: There have been anecdotal reports of dogs ingesting Cocoa Mulch, a garden soil enhancement and weed control product sold at garden supply stores, and within 24 hours suffering seizures and death.
Cocoa Mulch, manufactured by Hershey’s, smells like chocolate and attracts some dogs and cats. It contains theobromine, a chemical in chocolate, which is toxic to dogs. Theobromine affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys, causing nausea and vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea, muscle tremors and increased urination. Cardiac arrhythmia and seizures are symptoms of more advanced poisoning. Other than inducing vomiting, veterinarians have no treatment or antidote for throbromine poisoning. Death can occur in 12 to 24 hours.
In an article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1984, authors Arendt and Stowe wrote, as follows:
Cacao bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog, which 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.
(Source: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1984 Oct 15;185(8):902, Drolet R, Arendt TD, Stowe CM.)
Based on anecdotal reports of death resulting from the ingestion of lethal amounts of Cocoa Mulch, it is recommended that companion animal owners use other mulch products devoid of theobromine and caffeine for landscaping purposes.
PET OWNERS - - COCOA MULCH WARNING!!
Cocoa Bean Mulch
Cocoa Bean Mulch As A Cause Of Methylxanthine Toxicosis In Dogs by S. Hansen, H. Trammell, E. Dunayer, S. Gwaltney, D. Farbman, and S. Khan
Danger to dogs from cocoa bean mulch put in perspective
CREDIT: Alert about Cocoa Mulch and Theobromine provided by a concerned Carmelite.