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How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Mulch

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Mulch

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If you know your way around gardening, you probably know how beneficial mulch is. However, you might be surprised when you know that most dogs tend to chew on those wooden chips. 

Well, dogs would eat just about anything they could find, but mulch? Come on!

Sadly, ingesting mulch can be harmful to your little floof. That’s why it’s essential to know how to stop your dog from eating mulch, and that’s what this article is about.

Today, you’ll learn everything about why dogs may eat your garden’s mulch and how to stop them from doing that, among other useful tips. So, don’t go anywhere.

Freshly Mulched Garden

Why Dogs May Eat Mulch

Sometimes, dogs eat things they won’t “benefit” from in any way. In fact, they don’t even know if that thing would be harmful to them.

If you are wondering why your dog might do this, consider that most dogs have the mental age of a toddler. They discover their surroundings by putting things in their mouths. In many cases, this means ingesting the thing in question.

That said, here are a few other reasons why your furball may become interested in eating mulch.

  • Texture: For dogs who have a fixation on chewing, mulch can be the perfect thing to try chewing. Not only does it smell good, but the texture of the crunchy wood feels good on their gums.
  • Curiosity: More often than not, your dog becomes interested in mulch because it’s something new and different added to its territory. This is especially the case if it’s your dog’s first time seeing or smelling mulch.
  • Upset Stomach: In some cases, dogs tend to eat mulch to throw up. This happens especially when a dog feels something bothering its digestive system.
  • Smell: Mulch also tends to have quite a distinct smell. Such a scent can be enticing to a curious dog, especially if it has never smelled mulch before.
  • Boredom: Dog chewing mulch may be a result of boredom or anxiety. The chewy wood texture can be soothing to them. It’s just like when you use a stress ball to relieve anxiety.
  • Love for Wood: Many dogs enjoy being able to chase sticks that you throw in the yard. Plenty of dogs will even try to bring their favorite sticks inside. Being made from wood chips of various sizes, mulch can elicit interest in dogs who tend to like wood.

What Is the Problem With Mulch?

Beagle On Top Of Mulch Pile

By now, you should have a decent understanding of why dogs may show interest in mulch. The next step is knowing why it’s important to keep dogs away from this garden component, aside from the occasional sniff.

Primarily, mulch is often a combination of wood chips and dirt that people will add to their yards for many reasons.

Despite the benefits it has for your garden, it comes with a wide variety of issues for your dog. As such, you need to try keeping your dog from chewing and eating it as much as possible.

One of the biggest threats mulch poses is the fact that the wood chips aren’t something your dog should be eating. Depending on the size of the wood chip, you can run into quite a few problems. Take a look at some of the reasons why mulch is harmful to dogs.

  • Smaller wood chips can cause intestinal blockage, perforations, and other similar problems in dogs. Not only that, but a dog’s stomach isn’t naturally designed to break down pure wood like that.
  • Chewing wood chips can also cause gum irritation to your dog. That’s because those pieces can cause cuts or even get stuck between their teeth. As a result, it may lead to infection and pain.
  • Swallowing and consuming wood can lead to indigestion, intestinal distress, and discomfort for your dog. It doesn’t matter how large or small the wood piece is. It can still be harmful.
  • There’s a significantly increased chance of wood chips getting stuck somewhere in your dog’s digestive tract. Even worse, there’s a bigger chance it could become stuck in the dog’s windpipe, resulting in choking.
  • Due to its moist nature, mulch can carry molds in it. Cocoa bean mulch, specifically, has a higher tendency to have mold. It also contains the same toxins that make chocolate problematic for dogs.
  • Mulch might contain residual pesticides as well. Both mold and pesticides can potentially cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures in your dog.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Mulch?

Petting Sick Dog

Primarily, the safest and most effective way to get your dog to stop consuming mulch is to prevent access to it. However, if it’s not possible, you can try and find ways to make mulch repelling.

Check out the top five tips for stopping your dog from eating mulch.

1. Train Your Dog

If your dog is younger and more receptive to learning commands, you may be able to successfully train it. Otherwise, you’ll simply need to steer the dog clear of mulch during your daily walks.

Thus, when you pass by the mulch on a walk with your dog, try to tighten your hold on the leash. This way, your pup has no method of getting to the mulch.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. Nonetheless, it should be worth it to learn how to properly discipline your dog.

Naturally, dogs may be stubborn about this and try to pull against you. Yet, the more you repeat this action, the quicker your dog learns and gets used to it.

In all cases, try using positive and negative reinforcement. Many dog trainers recommend using such methods for best results.

2. Install a Barrier

Sometimes the best solution is to block your dog’s access by using barriers around the mulched areas. This can be applicable if the mulch isn’t all over your garden. Not only does this prevent your dog from getting in, but it also protects your precious plants.

On top of that, it’s a cost-effective method. All you need to do is install a simple wire fence. That said, keep in mind that dogs can jump high. So, if you decide to install a barrier around your mulched garden beds, make sure they’re high enough.

3. Offer Chew Toys

Dog On Leash With Toy In Mouth

As mentioned earlier, dogs eat mulch because they become bored. At times, they want something to do or chew on. So, before you go on a walk with your dog, you may want to encourage using a chew toy.

No matter what age or breed, all dogs love to chew on something. Therefore, they may look for alternatives if you don’t provide a chew toy.

Basically, it may take a few tries to find a chew toy that suits your dog’s preferences. Yet, if you can satisfy your dog’s need to chew, you won’t have to worry about it eating mulch. What’s even better is not having to say goodbye to your favorite shoes.

4. Use Anti-Chewing (Deterrent) Sprays

Using anti-chew sprays for smaller mulch patches in your yard can be a fantastic idea. It helps conceal the smell of mulch that attracts dogs to eat it. Just make sure to use a product that’s not toxic to keep your dog safe.

Cocoa Bean (Cacao Shells) Mulch

As a substitute, you can make a DIY deterrent spray, such as a 50:50 mix of water and vinegar. Moreover, spraying the mulch with a citrus scent can also be a great way to discourage dogs from eating mulch.

5. Introduce an Exercise Routine

Principally, dogs are less likely to cause problems if they get enough exercise. It’s a way to defy boredom and add an element of fun to their daily routine. Although it’s not a direct way to keep your pup from eating mulch, it’s definitely worth mentioning.

So, take some time to play with your floof as a part of your daily routine. For example, try playing a game of fetch or going on long walks. You can always experiment with other various exercise ideas if this doesn’t work.

Pug And French Bulldog On Leashes

Final Thoughts

Knowing the issues your dog can suffer from after eating mulch can be quite concerning. Just like children, those lovely creatures need extra care to stay safe. Luckily, learning how to stop your dog from eating mulch is simple.

You can find many ways to keep your precious pup away from mulch. Either by using deterrent sprays, training techniques, or high fences, protecting your dog from ingesting mulch is possible.

In all cases, as a considerate dog parent, your task is to find the method that works best for your dog. If you want more backyard tips, including recipes, how-tos, and more, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel.


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

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