Dog Safe Mulches – Choosing The Right Mulch Option For Your Pooch

Mulch is an important element of landscape design. Its function is to help plants grow, even in difficult soils, retain moisture, and keep weeds away. Mulch also adds visual appeal to your garden. However, if you are a pet owner, there are a few things to consider when choosing the best dog safe mulches.

Avoid Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa bean mulch is made from cocoa shells and it is a very popular gardening product. Just like chocolate, this mulch contains theobromine. This toxin is dangerous to dogs and your furry companion will probably want to munch on the sweet-smelling cocoa bean mulch.

You might also want to avoid mulch with larger chunks if you have a puppy who chews on everything or a dog who is prone to chewing on things when bored. Larger chunks of much can cause gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed.

Pine needle mulch is another dangerous option if you have a dog. Ingesting needles can cause damage to your pet’s stomach lining.

Lastly, pay attention to any possible allergic reactions if you just added mulch to your garden. Even the best dog safe mulches can trigger allergic reactions such as wheezing or skin rashes. If this occurs, remove the mulch and replace it with a different product.

How Can You Choose The Right Pet-Friendly Mulch?

Look for a type of mulch adapted to the type of plants you have in your garden and to the humidity of the areas.

Rubber mulch is a very durable option. It is typically made from recycled tire and will last for years. Rubber mulch looks just like wood and your dog will be less likely to chew on it since it won’t have a sweet smell like other types of mulch do.

However, there is still a risk of gastrointestinal obstruction if your dog chews on rubber mulch out of boredom.

If you opt for a wood mulch, avoid treated wood. Dyed mulch and products with added chemicals are not good for the environment and would expose your dog to chemicals if ingested.

Cedar mulch is a popular option among pet owners. This is a pet-friendly mulch because it is finely shredded. Your dog will be able to digest these fibers if they are ingested. Cedar mulch also has excellent bug repelling properties.

Supervise your dog if you recently added mulch to your garden. If your dog seems drawn to the area and chews on the mulch, consider removing it or replacing it with a different type of mulch.

You can also install a metal mesh over the mulch to keep your pet away from it. And you can deter your dog from chewing on mulch by spraying it with apple cider vinegar or garlic water.

Our Favorite Dog Safe Mulches

PlantBest Mega Mulch 8.8 lbs

This mulch is made with coconut fibers and with coconut coir. It is non-toxic to dogs and should last up to 2 years. The fibers are thin enough and shouldn’t represent an obstruction risk in case your dog eats them.

Coconut fibers have excellent water retention properties so you won’t have to water your plants as often. This mulch will also help with reducing weed growth.

This 2.5 cubic feet cube weighs 8.8 lb. and expands once you water it. You should have enough mulch to cover up to 20 square feet.

Coconut mulch has a rich brown color that will look amazing with your landscaping project. This product is also a good option if you need a pet-friendly growth medium for potted plants. You can use it to cover your pathways and other areas.

Shoppers said this product was very efficient against weeds and slugs!


  • Retains water and drains well, ideal for difficult soils.
  • Coir mulch has a neutral pH.
  • Keeps weeds and slugs away.
  • Pet-friendly option.


  • Water retention properties are not ideal for climates with high-precipitation.
  • It doesn’t look like you can easily break off a smaller portion of the block in case you only need a small quantity of mulch.
PlantBest Mega Mulch 8.8 lbs

PlantBest Mega Mulch 8.8 lbs

EZ Straw Seeding Mulch With Tack

Straw is somewhat of an unusual option for mulch, but this is something you should consider if you have a dog who tends to chew on other types of mulch.

Straw is safe for dogs. Your pet can digest straw and will be less likely to chew on it doesn’t have a chunky texture.

This mulch protects the soil and contains bonding agents to create a solid cover. Straw is traditionally used to grow grass seeds but you can use it for garden beds and other areas.

Straw will retain water and keep weeds away. You should be able to cover 500 square feet with this 2.5 cubic feet cube.


  • Affordable and efficient.
  • Dogs won’t have anything to chew on.
  • Dogs can digest straw.
  • Original way to cover garden beds.


  • straw is not as durable as other options.
  • Straw mulch might not create the look you want for your landscaping project.
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EZ Straw Seeding Mulch With Tack

International Mulch Company NS8RW Redwood Ground Cover, 0.8 cu.ft.

These 100% recycled rubber nuggets are the perfect way to cover your garden beds or pathways if you want to keep weeds, moss, and fungi away. This product is also a good choice for a playground!

The dark red color is a great addition to your garden. This product has excellent drainage properties and is very durable, even for a high-traffic area like a playground.

The rubber nuggets measure between ½” and 1” in length. Note that there is a risk of obstruction if swallowed, but your dog will be less likely to chew on rubber mulch since it won’t have a sweet smell like some wood-based products do.

Rubber mulch doesn’t retain water. This is a plus if you live in an area with medium or high precipitations, but rubber mulch might not be an ideal option if live in a dry area and want to reduce watering.


  • No water retention, great drainage.
  • Very durable and eco-friendly solution.
  • Nontoxic for dogs
  • Nice dark red color.


  • Pricier than other products.
  • There is a risk of obstruction if your dog swallows a nugget.
International Mulch Rubberific, Redwood

International Mulch Rubberific, Redwood

In the end, PlantBest Mega Mulch 8.8 lbs is your best option if you have a dog. This mulch is nontoxic, durable, and looks great.

Your dog can chew on it and even swallow some of the fibers without any risks. Coconut mulch keeps pest away, reduces weed and retains water. This might not be your best choice if you live in a high-precipitation area but otherwise, this is one of the best dog safe mulches.

Frequently Asked Questions – Dog Safe Mulches

Is It Safe For Dogs and Puppies to Eat Mulch?

While mulch seems harmless, it actually has the potential to become a very big problem in terms of becoming impacted in your dog’s intestine. If you have mulch in your yard, ensure your dog doesn’t like to chew or snack on it.

Most mulch could probably be digested without any problems, but young or small dogs could potentially develop an obstruction. Signs of an intestinal blockage include vomiting soon after eating/drinking, no bowel movements, lethargy, and a painful abdomen. Its recommended to avoid cocoa mulch.

Is Cypress Mulch Safe To Use In Dog Runs?

Cypress mulch is a very commonly used type of mulch, and luckily cypress is not considered toxic to dogs. However, mulch, if eaten, is not necessarily easy to digest, so it can lead to an intestinal obstruction in dogs.

Signs of an intestinal blockage are vomiting almost immediately after eating or drinking, lethargy, no bowel movements, and a painful abdomen.

 Are Cedar Shavings Safe To Use In Dog Runs?

Cedar is not toxic to dogs, and the smell of cedar actually repels insects. It is safe to use cedar mulch in your dog’s run–but only if your dog isn’t the type who will chew on the mulch when they’re alone and/or bored. If they are, you should avoid using any kind of mulch in their runs.


Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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