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Cocao Mulch


Alan Day
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This is nothing to do with concertinas, but any of you who have dogs,a warning has been issued to dog owners in the UK.

A Garden product called Cocao Mulch which is a new garden compost is killing dogs after they eat it.

Please do not use it in the garden if you have a dog.

Al.

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It's true that the stuff can be harmful to dogs if they eat a lot of it (as can chocolate), but it's unlikely to actually kill them. The current scare seems to be related to the over-hyping of a single fatality in the USA that may or may not have been caused by the mulch.

 

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008...ocoa_mulch.html

 

I've used cocoa shells in my garden for years, but dug in as a soil conditioner rather than a mulch, so that animals aren't attracted by the smell (which is very chocolatey!).

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It's true that the stuff can be harmful to dogs if they eat a lot of it (as can chocolate), but it's unlikely to actually kill them. The current scare seems to be related to the over-hyping of a single fatality in the USA that may or may not have been caused by the mulch.

 

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008...ocoa_mulch.html

 

I've used cocoa shells in my garden for years, but dug in as a soil conditioner rather than a mulch, so that animals aren't attracted by the smell (which is very chocolatey!).

Dave this warning was issued by Battersea Dogs Home (UK) who have had a fatality associated with it.

Al

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Alan - Most of the many cross-postings about this on the Net have attributed the warning to "Ali Taylor of Battersea Dogs Home" but none give an original reference. The website of Battersea Dogs Home has no mention of the scare.

 

This has all the hallmarks of a classic internet viral campaign ("please tell every dog owner you know") whereas the link I posted gives a much more measured evaluation of the problem. As with other successful scare stories, it spreads because it contains an element of truth. It's also been going around for at least three years, which is another clue to its probable status.

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A Garden product called Cocao Mulch which is a new garden compost is killing dogs after they eat it.

Please do not use it in the garden if you have a dog.

It's true that the stuff can be harmful to dogs if they eat a lot of it (as can chocolate), but it's unlikely to actually kill them. The current scare seems to be related to the over-hyping of a single fatality in the USA that may or may not have been caused by the mulch.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008...ocoa_mulch.html

I've used cocoa shells in my garden for years, but dug in as a soil conditioner rather than a mulch, so that animals aren't attracted by the smell (which is very chocolatey!).

Dave this warning was issued by Battersea Dogs Home (UK) who have had a fatality associated with it.

One ("a") fatality "associated" with the product doeesn't seem to me to be proof of a general danger. And some details are missing from Alan's report:

  • Was the dog just digging in soil which contained the "compost", or did it directly ingest a quantity of the product?
  • Were all other factors eliminated as possible factors in the death?

But does the product really have any significant advantages over other forms of mulch or soil conditioner? Aside from recycling what would otherwise be waste from the roasting of cocoa beans?

 

A quick google indicates that it's not "compost", which is organic matter that has been (at least partially) digested by bacteria and worms, but simply fragments of organic matter, a kind of "mulch". Mulch is sometimes mixed with soil, but often simply spread on top of the soil. The way the mulch is used could greatly affect the likelihood of dogs (or other animals) ingesting significant quantities.

 

The articles I've just scanned that discuss the concerns over this product seem to focus on a particular chemical it contains, theobromine. Theobromine is the principal "active" ingredient in chocolate! (And chemically, it differs from caffeine by only one methyl group.) So it seems that (as Dave indicates) dog owners should be at least as concerned about keeping chocolate rabbits, etc. out of reach of their dogs.

 

This is nothing to do with concertinas....

Ah, but many concertina players are also chocolate addicts lovers, as well. ;)

(No, I'm not promoting Cocoa Mulch as a tasty
high-fibre
snack.)

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The articles I've just scanned that discuss the concerns over this product seem to focus on a particular chemical it contains, theobromine. Theobromine is the principal "active" ingredient in chocolate! (And chemically, it differs from caffeine by only one methyl group.) So it seems that (as Dave indicates) dog owners should be at least as concerned about keeping chocolate rabbits, etc. out of reach of their dogs.

Chocolate is even poisonous to humans..if you eat enough...got that off a tv show. :)

 

This is nothing to do with concertinas....
Ah, but many concertina players are also chocolate addicts lovers, as well. ;)

(No, I'm not promoting Cocoa Mulch as a tasty
high-fibre
snack.)

mmmmmm......chocolate.... :P

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Most dog owners know that feeding chocolate to their pets can result in an upset stomach (hence the popularity of "Good Boy" choc drops for dogs, which don't contain any of the offending theobromine). Some of the available cocoa shell mulches contain a lot more of the stuff than an average chocolate bar, but a dog would still have to eat a very large amount before it came to real harm.

 

The fact that this *has* (very rarely) happened in the past is what has fuelled the current internet scare. It's just a shame that what should be seen as a sensible precaution to take where pets are concerned is blown up into something more by the sort of emotive language used in these viral email campaigns.

 

I'm certainly not criticising Alan, who was passing on the message with the best of intentions (and without the dramatic language used in the original), but it's definitely a good idea to cross-check when you're sent emails that implore you to give "the widest possible distribution" to their message .

 

The Organic Gardening Catalogue has been selling cocoa shells in the UK for a good 10 years without any reports of

dogs being harmed by the product:

 

http://www.organiccatalogue.com/catalog/pr...bcd53f74fb2a42d

 

There are certainly cheaper alternatives, though! I use it mainly in small raised beds to improve a very sandy soil (I can't easily get farmyard manure and cocoa shells are a lot more pleasant to handle).

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Dave this warning was issued by Battersea Dogs Home (UK) who have had a fatality associated with it.
This has all the hallmarks of a classic internet viral campaign ("please tell every dog owner you know") whereas the link I posted gives a much more measured evaluation of the problem. As with other successful scare stories, it spreads because it contains an element of truth. It's also been going around for at least three years, which is another clue to its probable status.

This raising a point which we should all be cautious about... crediting of sources:

Alan, you said that the warning came from Battersea Dogs Home, but unless you personally got the warning direct from there, that's an inaccurate attribution. You should have named
your
source, not quoted someone else's claim as if you knew it to be fact. (On the other hand, if you did get it direct from them, then it's puzzling to note that Google didn't find either the word "cocoa" or the word "mulch" on any of BDH's web pages.)

Most of the many cross-postings about this on the Net have attributed the warning to "Ali Taylor of Battersea Dogs Home" but none give an original reference. The website of Battersea Dogs Home has no mention of the scare.

A pity. It seems unlikely that Battersea Dogs Home and Ali Taylor (who apparently does, or at least did work for them) are unaware of the attribution. Whether or not they originated such a warning, it seems appropriate that they should clarify the situation on their web site.

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Chocolate is even poisonous to humans..if you eat enough...

True of just about anything. Even excessive consumption of water, if it sufficiently disrupts your body's electrolyte balance. Then there's drowning. :(

 

...got that off a tv show. :)

And yet you believe it? :o

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Chocolate is even poisonous to humans..if you eat enough...

True of just about anything. Even excessive consumption of water, if it sufficiently disrupts your body's electrolyte balance. Then there's drowning. :(

 

...got that off a tv show. :)

And yet you believe it? :o

I think it was on Braniac...or How2..one of those type of shows.

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I think it was on Braniac...or How2..one of those type of shows.

 

According to Wikipedia (unsubstantiated by a reference), the toxic dose for a human would be 10kg or 22lbs. Even *I* couldn't eat that much. I suspect that's been calculated by extrapolating from the fatal dose for dogs, as I can't find any evidence that any human has ever died from chocolate poisoning... :lol:

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...And according to a report in "New Scientist":

 

"There are no reliable figures for theobromine toxicity in humans, but based on caffeine toxicity an average adult would have to gorge on around 50 kilograms of milk chocolate in a single sitting to get anywhere near a lethal dose."

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg1962...-chocolate.html

 

The 10kg figure must be based on dark chocolate, which contains a lot more theobromine.

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According to Wikipedia (unsubstantiated by a reference), the toxic dose for a human would be 10kg or 22lbs. Even *I* couldn't eat that much. I suspect that's been calculated by extrapolating from the fatal dose for dogs, as I can't find any evidence that any human has ever died from chocolate poisoning... :lol:
...And according to a report in "New Scientist":

 

"There are no reliable figures for theobromine toxicity in humans, but based on caffeine toxicity an average adult would have to gorge on around 50 kilograms of milk chocolate in a single sitting to get anywhere near a lethal dose."

 

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg1962...-chocolate.html

 

The 10kg figure must be based on dark chocolate, which contains a lot more theobromine.

What about cocoa powder? High dosages of the fats/waxes, sugars, and other ingredients in waxy chocolate candy can also have harmful effects.

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Used the stuff years ago. Smelled funky. Cost a pretty penny as well. Obi snuffed his nose down into it, sneezed and then proceeded to heist his leg and gave it a good watering :( .

 

That was hell on the tomato plants, and I had to rake it all out because he kept comming back to make sure everything continued to stay well watered. Pissed on 'matters an' cucumbers ain't my idea of a tasty summer salad! <_< .

 

Ceder mulch held no interest for my bully-boy....

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...And according to a report in "New Scientist":

 

"There are no reliable figures for theobromine toxicity in humans, but based on caffeine toxicity an average adult would have to gorge on around 50 kilograms of milk chocolate in a single sitting to get anywhere near a lethal dose."

I might manage that on a bad week. ;) :blink:

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