By Karen A. Soukiasian
Cocoa mulch can be fatal for dogs.
And although statistics show 98% of dogs will not eat cocoa mulch, is it worth the risk to find out if your dog or cat is in the other 2%? This is especially true for puppies, as EVERYTHING, goes into their mouths! Death can occur in 12-24 hours.
The sweet smell of chocolate; from the cocoa bean shells used in cocoa mulch attracts some dogs. Of those, approximately one half will suffer some form of physical distress, and possibly death.
Chocolate contains a methylxanthine. A xanthine component called theobromine is founding varying degrees, in all chocolates. In addition, it is in a group of alkaloids, used for bronchodilators, sleep prevention aids, and asthma medications; as well as in cocoa, coffee and tea.
This highly toxic agent is especially prevalent in bakers and dark chocolate.
3 Things To Consider:
1. Type of chocolate – bakers and dark chocolate are the deadliest
2. Size of dog/cat
3. Amount ingested – as little as 9 oz., could kill a 50-pound dog.
9 Signs To Watch For
1. Excessive urination – signs of kidney failure
4. Abdominal pain
6. Excited behavior
7. Tremors – nervous system damage
8. Rapid heart rate -cardiac arrhythmia
9. Convulsions – nervous system damage
Do not waste a second! If you suspect your pet has ingested cocoa mulch, get it to your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!
There is no antidote. However, induced vomiting and/or emergency surgery to remove the ingested mulch, may be necessary in an attempt to save your pet’s life.
BOTTOM LINE: Do not use cocoa mulch! If you do, check the bag for warnings, to see if it contains any mention of methylxanthine. Always err on the side of caution.
Given that you cannot control what your neighbors use, it would be wise to keep your pets in your own yard.
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