By Laura Dorfman CPDT-KA
We need it, we definitely need it. Some of us need it more than others and some of us “need it bad”. In fact, more than a few of my best friends would rather spend the afternoon with it instead of me, if they actually had to choose. I’m talking about chocolate and you know who you are. Yes many words have been written about chocolate and our dogs. But today we’re going to talk gardening mulch and yes, for some reason I still can’t figure out, it involves chocolate.
In the early 2000’s a new gardening mulch was developed and most likely for reasons that I mentioned above, it got popular very fast. It is called Cocoa Mulch and you guessed it it smells just like our favorite fix. Chocolate! The problem is, it is made with the one ingredient which makes chocolate lethal to dogs. It’s called theobromine and it’s concentration is more than in the chocolate we eat. So it makes the mulch all the more dangerous.
There are a few different conversations about this and here’s the first. It is a well accepted theory that chocolate is dangerous to dogs. Words have been used like poisonous, toxic and the most scary lethal and fatal. This is all true. It is also true that dogs have grabbed whole chocolate cakes off their humans counter and chowed it down leaving only the foil behind. Nothing happened. It all comes down to how much is ingested, the size of the dog and what kind of chocolate it is. Some people are very serious about never allowing a morsel on their dog’s tongue and others use chocolate kisses as treats for the stressed out dogs at their rehabilitation vet clinic. I think the first extreme is a better idea.
Dark bakers chocolate has the highest concentration of theobromine and is the most dangerous to dogs. White chocolate has very little and can be less toxic. But here’s the issue. Why? Why is it necessary to give dogs chocolate or any candy at all for that matter? Our own eating habits are styled for us as infants by our parents and then later by our schools and friends. We are the masters of our diets and some of our practices are set in stone. But our dogs’ eating habits are totally in our hands, and there is no reason in the real world that we need to give them chocolate.
Manufacturers are reporting numbers that only 2% of all dogs actually eat the cocoa mulch, (wonder where they get that stat) and then only 50% get sick and only “some” die. Houston we have a problem. Even if the stats are correct, that means there are anywhere from 500,000 to 700,000 dogs in this country whose lives are in danger. All for chocolate-smelling gardening mulch. You make the call.