If your dog likes to spend his summer grazing in your garden, his nose may lead him to one danger in particular: the sweet smelling, but potentially harmful cocoa bean mulch. Made of cocoa bean shells and considered desirable for its eventual degradation into organic fertilizer, this gardener's choice can be toxic to dogs if eaten in large quantities. The dogs are attrached to the fertilizer's sweet smell. Ingestion of large amounts of cocoa bean mulch, which contains residual amounts of theobromine-a methylxanthine found in chocolate and known to be toxic to dogs-may cause a variety of clinical signs These typically start with vomiting, diarrhea and elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and muscle tremors.
For more information go to: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at www.aspca.org or call (888) 426-4435. To donate to the ASPCA to stop cruelty to animals call (800) 628-0028.