Makers of chocolate products are now selling their leftover cocoa bean shells as a new type of yard mulch. Many gardeners consider the chocolate smelling mulch the perfect ground cover. Experts say it could be dangerous for dogs because it not only tastes like chocolate; it has some of the same chemicals.
Animal Poison Control Center spokesperson Steven Hansen says chocolate contains substances similar to caffeine. He says if a dog eats a large amount of chocolate, or a large amount of cocoa bean mulch, it might affect their system.
Animal health experts say if a fifty-pound dog ingests two ounces of the mulch they can get an upset stomach. A little over five ounces can cause a seizure and nine ounces may kill the dog. That might seem like a lot, but veterinarians say some dogs are doing it.
Cocoa bean mulch producers admit their product may be poisonous to dogs, but they say it's very unlikely one would eat enough to cause it any harm.
If you have cocoa bean mulch in your yard, you can spray it with water to lessen the smell and make it less attractive to your dog.