Is Mulch Safe for Dogs to Be Around in the Garden?

is mulch safe for dogs

Mulch can be versatile material with numerous advantages for a garden. However, some forms of mulch can be harmful to domesticated animals, particularly dogs, if swallowed.

You may wonder if is mulch safe for dogs to be around.

Your dog may eat any wood-based mulch. The most common mulch alternatives are probably pine, cedar, and cypress, all of which should be dog-friendly.

So, is it okay for dogs to eat mulch? We’re going to find out all about it in this article!

What is mulch?

Mulch is a vital part of maintaining a healthy garden. It’s a protective layer that’s placed around plants or over the soil’s surface. Mulch usually is made from several organic and non-organic materials and usually is used to keep moisture in the soil. It can be used to fix a muddy yard and it can also discourage weeds while improving the garden’s appearance. When used correctly, it can drastically boost soil productivity.

Why do dogs eat mulch?

It’s in a dog’s nature to want to chew, especially young puppies. Sometimes your dog will chew on mulch Chewing is in a dog’s nature, especially in young puppies. Mulch, such as Cocoa mulch, is sometimes chewed by your dog because it tastes and smells good. In other instances, your dog will chew on wood mulch because they are hungry or need nutrients. However, your dog may chew it out of boredom or curiosity in the majority of cases.

Is mulch safe for dogs?

There are different types of mulch. When trying to choose a mulch for your garden if you have a dog, it’s critical to use a pet-safe mulch. We would try to find the analyze the best options and alternatives on the market to help you keep your garden safe for your beloved furry friends.

How to choose the best dog-friendly mulch?

Start by looking for cushioning and easy-on-the-paws and-joints natural or synthetic solutions. The best way is to choose a safe, nontoxic mulch to use near both animals and people. It’s also a good idea to choose a mulch that can be quickly replenished if it gets dirty or smelly. After you’ve decided on your mulch, test it in a small area of your garden for any allergic reactions, such as coughing or skin rashes. If this happens, remove the mulch right away and replace it with something else.

Risks of mulch for your dogs

But you should consider the following to be entirely safe:

  • Natural is always preferable. Chemically treated mulch may not harm your dog, but natural solutions are always preferable.
  • Larger mulch may provide a choking danger. If your mulch is mostly huge pieces, your dog may choke if he attempts to swallow one. If you’re worried about choking, consider mulching your gardens with chips or fines.
  • Be wary of pesticides. If you use pesticides to control weeds or other pests in your garden, the toxins might stay on mulch. To keep your dog happy and healthy, choose more natural solutions.

Mulch can cause allergic responses in certain pets, so keep looking out for symptoms in your dogs (and cats). An allergic reaction might manifest itself as a rash, increased scratching, irritation, or pus-filled lumps. If you notice any allergy symptoms in your pet, try to keep track of everything he or she has eaten or chewed on.

What types of mulch are dangerous to dogs?

Mulch poisoning can occur when some types of toxic mulches are chewed or swallowed by dogs, resulting in an allergic reaction, vomiting, diarrhea, or even a gastrointestinal obstruction.

As a result, you must select your mulch wisely and understand what to avoid:

  • Cocoa mulch is a popular gardening item derived from cocoa shells that are especially dangerous for dogs. Your dog will be enticed to gnaw on the sweet-smelling mulch. This cocoa bean mulch, like chocolate and coffee, contains the chemical “theobromine.” If consumed in large amounts, it might cause heart abnormalities, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and death.
  • Pine needle mulch is very appealing to puppies and dogs because of its scent and texture. Its resemblance to grass and may tempt your dog to eat it if he is hungry or bored. The rough pine needles can irritate your pet’s stomach lining if they are swallowed.
  • Wood Mulch. Some mulches include hazardous wood species that might cause allergic responses in dogs. The woods of cherry, oak, and trumpet vine cedar are all hazardous. Furthermore, some mulch contains “chromate copper arsenate” (CCA) which is arsenic that has been treated with copper. CCA is a dangerous chemical that is dangerous to humans, pets, and the environment.

What is the best type of mulch to use around dogs?

  • Cedar mulch. This mulch is toxin-free, and it is a great way to cover your garden while also providing a comfortable place for your dog to sleep. Because cedar is finely shredded, the fibers are easy to digest, it is a dog-friendly mulch. It also works well as a pest repellent. This sort of mulch has the disadvantage of replenishing every year because it absorbs moisture and microorganisms.
  • Rubber mulch. This is a long-lasting and ecologically friendly option that your chewing dog will appreciate. Rubber mulch, which is usually made from used tires, lasts far longer than wood mulch. Because it doesn’t keep liquids, it’s easier to get rid of odors and pee. Rubber mulch has a similar look to genuine wood, but it does not have sweet smells that encourage dogs to chew. Of course, each dog is unique, so if your dog chews a lot, there’s a risk he’ll get a gastrointestinal blockage.
  • Stones and rocks. These are a safe option for dog owners to use around their animals. Rocks have no taste and are incredibly hard, making chewing them nearly impossible. To keep your dog’s paws safe, look for smooth and rounded rocks. Rock and stone mulch has the disadvantage of not adding any nutrients to your soil.

What should you do if your dog eats mulch?

It’s crucial to realize that not all types of mulch are harmful to your dog. When introducing your dog to new environments, it’s critical to remain vigilant and cautious. If you think your dog has eaten mulch, especially cocoa mulch, contact your veterinarian right away. Mulch poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms, many of which can be dangerous. If feasible, bring a sample of the mulch you’ve consumed to the clinic, as this will help the doctors figure out what’s wrong.

What is the best way to keep dogs out of mulch?

Mulch is an excellent spot for digging, peeing, and sleeping for many interested creatures. This type of activity has the potential to damage the mulch and upset the plants beneath it. Mulch can be hazardous to your pet, so keeping them away from it is the best solution for both your plants and your canine companion. Although it is not always practical to keep dogs indoors, they can be kept away from flower beds. Here are several possibilities:

  • Cut chicken wire to fit the length of your garden beds, lay it over the mulch and soil, and secure it with nails. Injure holes in the wire for the plants to grow through, and make sure there are no sharp edges for your dog to cut himself on. Wire placed on the mulch will make it much more difficult for your dog to dig and chew. It will also make it uncomfortable for your dog to walk on, so they will naturally prefer to stroll on the grass or in the adjacent garden.
  • You can also use many wooden poles to surround the flower beds, spacing them about 20-30 cm apart. Make sure the stakes aren’t sharp or susceptible to being pushed over by your dog or the wind. Your dog will find it tough to walk around and sleep on the mulch without colliding with the spaced-apart wood due to the spikes.
  • Another approach is to spray your mulched garden with an odor repellant. This is available in most pet stores and on the internet. For smaller areas, use a spray odor, while for more extensive garden beds, use granules. After rain or strong winds, reapply the repellent and follow the recommendations on the product label.

Final thoughts

Is it okay for dogs to eat mulch? Both yes and no.

While some mulch is deemed safe for dogs (in the sense that it isn’t harmful), it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on them while they’re near your garden beds to prevent them from eating it.

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Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.