Old 01-31-2009, 10:00 AM
Master Builder
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Washington State USA
Posts: 803
Default Attn Cat and Dog Lovers

This came across my desk this morning and it seems real enough. I said to my wife that I never heard of the stuff and she replied that a couple with whom we are good friends uses it and has two big (and fairly stupid) Golden Retrievers. So we passed it on to them. I know the Forum has dog lovers (as I am myself). It is of some interest to me because "Buster" our Red Healer has a penchant for anything chocolate, (we have several horror stories of the lengths he will go to get it (and subsequent expenses)) so here it is:

Please tell every dog or cat owner you know. Even if you don't have a pet,
please pass this to those who do, and remind your friends not to use this
in their landscaping!

Over the weekend the 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 instantly.

Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, further investigation, on
the company's website revealed, "This product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats."

Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim, ''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.''

This Snopes site gives the following information:
snopes.com: Cocoa Mulch and Dogs

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. Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate,
and it is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities
of the eobromine, 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.

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Old 01-31-2009, 10:23 AM
egalecki's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,049
Default Re: Attn Cat and Dog Lovers

We have our own horror story about dogs and chocolate- our black lab ate SEVEN of those dark chocolate oranges one Christmas. Didn't even leave the foil. Luckily she must have begun throwing up nearly immediately. (well, it wasn't lucky as far as cleanup goes, but...) I rushed her to the vet as soon as I realized what she'd done and they gave her massive sub q injections to help her get rid of it. She was fine, eventually, but no joke, she nearly died and was a total basket case for better than a week. I had bought them for stocking stuffers and they were in their boxes, in a bag, on the bed. Somehow she got into the bedroom and went nuts...

We've been "those people with the dog who ate all that chocolate" at the vet's for years now...

I've heard about the cocoa mulch problem before. It's not readily available where we are, but I bet my dog wouldn't be one of the 98%. She'd eat every last bit. It's not worth the trouble, if you own a dog. Watching your beloved pet shake and quiver for a week is no picnic. We were just lucky she made it at all.

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Old 01-31-2009, 10:30 AM
Archena's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Alabama
Posts: 1,214
Default Re: Attn Cat and Dog Lovers

I remember a vague reference to it - but thanks for bringing attention to it! That's one brand of mulch off my list.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

"Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
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