4 Dog-Safe Mulches (And 3 That Are NOT!)

4 Dog-Safe Mulches (And 3 That Are NOT!)

Using mulch in your garden is a no-brainer for many people. Mulch helps to keep weeds at bay, prevents soil erosion, and also helps maintain optimal soil temperature.

Whilst mulch is great for your garden, did you know that it can be dangerous for your pet?

Some mulches are not pooch friendly and can make your pup sick or even worse, cause serious health issues.

The good news is that there are types of mulches that are pet-friendly and we are going to list them for you. But first, why are some mulches bad for your dog?

The Risk Of Mulch & Your Dog

There are several reasons why some mulches can spell trouble for your dog.

Some mulches, such as the dyed kind or the synthetic kind (we’re looking at you, rubber mulch) can contain toxic substances and chemicals that shouldn’t be exposed to your pet.

But that’s not all. Some mulches can have scents or textures that entice your pooch to eat them, which can cause a whole host of issues – namely stomach ones. Ingesting mulch can cause a range of symptoms in your dog including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Death

Lastly, your dog may be prone to playing and walking on the mulch. The last thing you want is for your pet’s paws to be cut and bruised.

If you have a dog and are considering using mulch in your garden, it’s worth considering these mulches first before you go buy just any mulch.

4 Dog Safe Mulches

Stone or Rock Mulch

Stone mulch is a popular choice for many dog owners because it’s non-toxic and very likely to not be eaten by your pet.

Keep your stones or rocks to a sufficient size to ensure they won’t get stuck between your pup’s paw pads.

While stone and rock mulch is great for your pet, it may not be your mulch of choice as it doesn’t offer any nutrient value and won’t decompose. So while your dog will thank you, your garden won’t.

Cypress Mulch

Cypress mulch is a great choice for your pet because it’s an organic, non-toxic mulch. It also has a pleasant aroma which helps to keep pests away from your garden.

Bark Based Mulches

Many – but not all – bark mulches are safe for pets. They are organic, decompose quickly, and can add nutrition to your garden. Safe bark mulches include dogwood, Douglas fir, and crabapple.

However, some bark mulches contain oils or preservatives that may be toxic for your pet. Always check the label before you buy any kind of bark mulch to make sure it’s safe for pets.

Untreated (And Non-Dyed) Wood Mulch

Untreated And Non Dyed Wood Mulch 1

Untreated and non-dyed wood mulch is natural and free from chemicals and pesticides. However, just like bark-based mulches, be sure to source wood mulch from trees that are non-toxic to dogs.

The main issue with this type of mulch is that it may attract termites or other wood-loving insects. Hence; if you decide to use untreated wood mulch, keep it away from other wood structures just in case.

On The Fence – Cedar Mulch

You could use cedar mulch, but the consensus is not out if it is completely safe for your dog. As it turns out, some dogs can be allergic to cedar and suffer respiratory issues and contact dermatitis as a result. Cedar mulch can even cause mastitis in nursing dogs because it can harbor Klebsiella bacteria.

If you use cedar mulch, be sure to monitor your pet for any signs of an allergic reaction. If you suspect one, be sure to take your pet away and remove the mulch.

On The Fence – Rubber Mulch

Similar to cedar mulch, rubber mulch either seems like a good or bad idea for your dog depending on who you talk to.

On one side, rubber mulch is soft, bouncy and won’t pose any trouble to your dog’s paws. Many proponents of rubber mulch will also mention how it is non-toxic and won’t have ill health effects on you or your pet.

On the other hand, some experts will tell you that you should avoid rubber mulch because it may contain small trace amounts of lead or zinc from recycled tires, even though most manufacturers make sure to screen out these substances during processing.

One final thought on rubber mulch is that it can be chewy, making it perhaps one of the most edible mulches for dogs which can lead to gastrointestinal problems if consumed in large enough quantities.

If you opt for rubber mulch, be sure to keep an eye out for your dog in case they try to consume it. Also, buy from reputable brands that process their rubber to remove any potential toxins.

Mulches That You Should Avoid

Here are 3 mulches that you should definitely stay clear of if you have a dog.

Dyed Mulches

Some mulch is dyed for aesthetic purposes, but it’s best to avoid this type of mulch if you have a dog.

The dye in some mulches can be toxic and could cause serious health problems for your pup. It’s better to go with the natural look of plain mulch than take risks with dyed varieties.

Pine Needle Mulch

Pine needle mulch can be an attractive option for landscaping, but it’s not a good choice for pet owners. Pine needles are sharp and can easily injure your pup if they step on them or roll around in them.

Pine needle is also particularly harmful to your pet if they decide to chew and eat it. It can damage their digestive system and even lead to liver or kidney problems.

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch is made from the hulls of cocoa beans and has a pleasant chocolaty smell. Unfortunately, it contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs. What’s worse is the sweet smell of cocoa mulch can make it very appetizing for unsuspecting dogs. Stay well clear of cocoa mulch.

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