Types of Mulches Safe for Dogs (2024)

Types of Mulches Safe for Dogs (1)

One of the important elements of landscape design is mulch. Its functions include retaining moisture, keeping weeds away, and helping plants grow even in difficult soils. Also, mulches add visual appeal to your yard. However, there are certain things that you need to consider before settling on a type of mulch, and one is the safety of your pets, particularly dogs.

Mulches to avoid

There are mulches that were found to be dangerous to dogs. When certain types of mulches are consumed, dogs may get poisoned, suffer allergies, or even gastrointestinal obstruction.

Cocoa mulch. A very popular gardening product made from cocoa shells, cocoa mulch contains theobromine, a toxin that is dangerous to dogs.

Pine needle mulch. Considered harmful to dogs if swallowed, pine needle mulch can damage the stomach lining of your pet.

It is the nature of dogs to chew on things whenever they are alone or get bored. So, in choosing mulches, avoid those with larger chunks as they can cause gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed.

Watch out for any possible allergic reactions, such as wheezing or having skin rashes, if you just added new mulch to your garden. If these occur, immediately remove the mulch and replace it with a different mulch.

Dog safe mulches

Don’t just choose a type of mulch just because it can adapt to the kind of plants you have in your garden and to the area’s humidity—always consider the safety of your dogs.

Rubber mulch. Typically made from recycled tires, rubber mulch is a very durable option that can last for years. Since it looks just like wood without the sweet smell like what other types of mulch have, your dog will less likely attempt to chew on it. Still, your dogs are at risk of gastrointestinal obstruction if they chew on rubber mulch out of restlessness.

Untreated wood mulch. Avoid wood mulches that are dyed and added with chemicals as they are not good for the environment and for your dogs.

Cedar mulch. A popular alternative among pet owners, cedar mulch is a pet-friendly mulch because it is shredded finely. In case your dog ingests the fibres, it can be easily digested. Plus, cedar mulch has bug repelling properties fit for gardens.

Cypress mulch. A very common type of mulch used in landscaping, cypress mulch is not toxic to dogs.

So, before you settle on buying bags of mulches from home renovation stores and landscaping shops online, consider their effect on your pets. Decide on one that is beneficial for your landscape design and safe for the environment and your pets.

Types of Mulches Safe for Dogs (2024)


What is the safest mulch for dogs? ›

Pine bark, cedar bark, fir bark and cypress mulch are some of the best choices for dogs. Another good option is Coco Mulch, made of coconut husks (not to be confused with the dangerous cocoa bean mulch).

Is there a mulch that dogs don't like? ›

Rougher mulch: Purchase bags of Pine Bark Nuggets, a larger type of mulch that will be hard (but not painful) on their feet and dogs will typically find this material too uncomfortable to squat on. Chicken wire: This trick may not keep your dogs off the mulch, but it will most likely stop them for digging.

What is the safest mulch to use? ›

But, generally, using organic mulch made from wood chips or bark will be the best choice. It's one of the easiest and least expensive ways to ensure the long-term health and fertility of your soil and the health of your trees and shrubs.

What is the best mulch for dogs with allergies? ›

The use of compost, cardboard, newspaper, or other hypoallergenic mulch may be effective in taking care of your gardens or landscaping without affecting your dog.

What kind of wood chips are safe for dogs? ›

Any wood-based mulch is safe for your dog. Pine, cedar, and cypress are probably the three of the most popular mulch options and they should all be dog-friendly.

Is it OK for dogs to eat mulch? ›

Dogs that chew on small pieces of mulch or sticks can develop gum irritation from splinters that embed in the oral cavity. Large pieces of mulch, or large volumes of ingested material, can also result in gastrointestinal obstruction, which may require surgery.

Is cedar mulch toxic to dogs? ›

Cedar mulch is pet-friendly because it is finely shredded. If your dog, for some reason, ingests the fibres, they can be easily digested. And cedar has natural bug repellent properties, perfect for your garden!

Is gorilla hair mulch safe for dogs? ›

Poses a Potential Hazard to Pets

Although gorilla hair mulch is natural and non-toxic, it can pose a choking hazard to dogs, small livestock such as goats, and other animals that might chew on the fibers.

Is pea gravel or mulch better for dogs? ›

When using mulch, we recommend not using brown, since dog feces can easily get lost. Pea Gravel is a great selection for its smooth surface and drainage properties. It's comfortable enough for pets to walk on, and works well in high-traffic “potty” areas.

What mulch materials to avoid? ›

Mulch materials such as shredded brush, manure, or hay from "pastures, hayfields, or street and highway right-of-ways may contain weed seeds," Baka says, as well as herbicide residues that can kill your plants.

Where not to put mulch? ›

Be sure not to pile mulch against the trunks or stems of plants as it will rot them. Apply mulch in late spring and early fall. As the plants mature, they will start providing their own mulch in the form of fallen leaves, flower parts, and other plant litter.

What is a major downside to mulching? ›

Disadvantages of Mulching

Excessive mulch that is a layer more than 3 inches deep can suffocate and bury plants. In this case, oxygen and water are unable to reach the roots. A layer of 2 to 3 inches of mulch is enough.

What mulch do dogs not like? ›

Mulches to avoid

Cocoa mulch. A very popular gardening product made from cocoa shells, cocoa mulch contains theobromine, a toxin that is dangerous to dogs. Pine needle mulch. Considered harmful to dogs if swallowed, pine needle mulch can damage the stomach lining of your pet.

How do I protect my dog from mulch? ›

Keep pets out of freshly mulched or seeded beds, or soft soil, by setting some thorny branches in the ground at regular intervals. Make a chicken-wire fence to protect entire beds. To keep it from being an eyesore, drive several tall stakes in the ground around the bed's perimeter.

Is Vigoro mulch safe for dogs? ›

Yes, it is pet friendly although we do not suggest they ingest the product. Helpful?

Is colored mulch safe for dogs? ›

The colorants in colored mulch are safe for people, animals and the environment.

Is Vigoro brown mulch safe for dogs? ›

A: Thank you for your question. Yes, it is pet friendly although we do not suggest they ingest the product.

Are cedar chips safe for dogs? ›

Though the bedding provides a soft, inexpensive filling for dog beds, cedar shavings contain phenols that can irritate the lungs allowing bacteria easier entry. For dogs who sleep directly on cedar chips in a crate or bedding area, contact dermatitis is another allergic reaction that can occur.

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