Plants and Pets

As we landscape our yards in this summer weather, it is important to consider our pets.


If you are using mulch, be careful in your selection. Landscapers are frequently drawn to cocoa mulch because it smells nice and is environmental friendly, however this product can be toxic to pets.

Cocoa mulch is the material left over from the cocoa bean roasting process, and the mulch is more toxic to dogs and cats than chocolate (even baker’s chocolate) because it contains more of the toxic compound theobromine. Even after the chocolate smell wears off, the toxicity remains hidden in cocoa mulch. Ingestion of even small amounts by dogs and cats can be fatal.

In addition to cocoa mulch, several plants exist which can be toxic if consumed. These include, but are not limited to, Lilies, Marijuana, Sago Palms, Tulip and Narcissus bulbs, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Oleander, Castor Beans, Yews, Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Chrysanthemums, Poinsettias and Ivy.

If you are concerned that you have toxic plants in your yard or home, please consult the ASPCA’s Poison Control toxic plant database. There you will find pictures and descriptions of each plant that could be hazardous to your pet’s health. If you believe your pet may have consumed cocoa mulch or a toxic plant contact your veterinarian immediately.

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