Why Does My Dog Eat Mulch

Why Does My Dog Eat Mulch (Main Reasons & How to Stop it!)

Mulching your garden paths, flower beds, and yards efficiently retains moisture and provides nutrients to your soil.

However, the possibility of your four-legged pal eating anything, including mulch, might be challenging to handle. So, why does my dog eat mulch, and importantly, is it possible to tame this peculiar behaviour

Many individual are always concerned about why does my dog eat mulch. In most cases, dogs chew mulch out of curiosity or boredom. However, sometimes the reason can be severe, like extreme nutrition deficiency and stress.

Eating mulch is a very unfamiliar trait in a dog. You cannot simply ignore it. Oddly enough, it’s also said that dogs enjoy the taste of the mulch as much as they enjoy their regular food. 

But that’s not an exact answer to why and how! You have to know to keep your dog from eating mulch. Additionally, some types of mulch can be harmful to dogs, so it’s essential to understand the potential risks and take steps to prevent your furry friend from eating it.

Apart from keeping it away from the mulched places in your yard, you should also try using the methods mentioned below in our article. Keep reading to find out.

Why Does My Dog Eat Mulch?

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Lonely pups feel stressed and let out their struggle by chewing on things. It helps them release the tension and feel better. They prefer chewing on sticks as they feel good on their gums, and they like the smell of wood.

However, it becomes an issue when they choose to chew on mulch which is nothing but large wood chunks. Sharp and large pieces of mulch scrape their throat, damage the windpipe, causing havoc in their abdomen, and obstruct their bowels.

When they ingest mulch, it is not digestible, and they end up puking. Do not try experimenting at home with its health and take them to the veterinarian immediately to assess the seriousness of the situation. If you delay, the splinters can turn into infections, and the obstructions can become life-threatening.

 Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Mulch

Understanding the underlying reasons why dogs eat mulch is essential for addressing this behavior. While curiosity and boredom are common factors, other potential causes include extreme nutritional deficiencies and stress. Some dogs may also simply enjoy the taste of mulch.

By identifying the root cause, you can develop effective strategies to prevent your dog from eating mulch and ensure their well-being.

My Dog Goes Towards Mulch – Why?

Mulch smells different. Dogs love to sniff and explore stuff. They are like infants exploring the world around them, trying to understand it better. However, they never seem to grow up and stay in that stage forever.

That’s the reason every little new thing arouses their curiosity. Mulch is not only enticing but also feels good on their gums as they chew, making it more attractive to them. It smells just like their favorite toy you throw at them, the wood sticks, and they are stuck on that memory.

Also, the smellier versions, such as cocoa bean mulch, are more attractive, but the caffeine compounds are harmful. Just like chocolate, they cause poisoning leading to vomiting and tremors.

My Dog Ate Mulch – Is It Dangerous?

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Your dog can experience various issues ranging from gum irritation to surgery when it eats mulch. Once they ingest wood into their digestive system, they have abdominal pain and vomiting. Their health becomes delicate when the wood reaches the small intestines.

The seriousness depends on what kind of mulch and how much they eat. For instance, mulch containing small sticks can cause oral cavity splinters. If they eat large volumes or large pieces of mulch, it produces a more severe outcome.

It leads to obstructions in the gastrointestinal area, which requires immediate medical attention. Take the dog to the vet immediately. The dog might require surgery to clear that blockage, and not doing so in time can have dire consequences.

Sometimes, the pesticide residue and mold cause seizures and tremors. Another important note is that dog owners should avoid using Cocoa bean mulch in their gardens as it is toxic for dogs.

Potential Risks of Dogs Eating Mulch

Eating mulch can pose various dangers to dogs, ranging from gum irritation to more serious health issues. Sharp and large pieces of mulch can damage the throat, windpipe, and cause blockages in the gastrointestinal tract. Ingesting mulch that contains pesticide residue or mold can lead to seizures and tremors.

It’s crucial for dog owners to be aware of these risks and take appropriate measures to prevent their pets from consuming mulch.

Training Techniques to Stop Dogs from Eating Mulch

Implementing effective training techniques can help deter dogs from approaching mulched areas. Negative reinforcement, such as saying “no” or pulling the dog away when it shows interest in mulch, can be useful. On the other hand, positive reinforcement, such as praising the dog when it avoids mulch, can encourage desired behavior.

Additionally, using citrus scent or anti-chew sprays can be effective deterrents. Consistent training and creating a positive association with mulch-free areas will help modify your dog’s behavior.

My Dog Is Eating Mulch – How To Stop It?

There are specific training techniques to keep your dog from going towards the mulch sprinkled areas.

  • Negative reinforcement by saying no when it tries to go towards the mulch
  • Pulling it away when it is walking towards the mulch
  • Saying positive words and praising it when it chooses not to go to such areas 

Citrus scent keeps them away from the mulch. You can try some lemon juice squeezed into the water in your spray bottle before spraying it on the mulch. This tip keeps your dogs from digging in the mulch that can save you from loads of potential issues.

Addressing Nutritional Deficiencies to Prevent Mulch Eating

Anti-chew sprays are available online if it becomes tough to manage through training alone. Sprays are ideal when you have only small patches in your yard.

Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to a dog’s tendency to eat non-food items like mulch. Brittle nails, dry skin, and pica behavior may indicate a lack of essential nutrients. Consulting with a veterinarian to ensure your dog’s diet is nutritionally balanced is crucial.

By addressing nutritional deficiencies, you can reduce your dog’s cravings for non-food items, including mulch.

My Dog Loves Mulch – Is It Nutrition Deficient?

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Brittle and soft nails along with dry skin show that your dog is nutrition deficient. Lack of nutrition also dries out the hair. Pica-affected dogs swallow non-eatables such as wood, dirt, rocks, cardboard, plastic, or clothing.

They suffer from vomiting and diarrhea symptoms. If you see these signs and your dog indulges in mulching, fixing its nutrition could be one of the first steps in solving this issue.


Proper training and avoiding places that have mulch can keep your dog from the dangers of ingesting mulch. The citrus scent does not attract them enough to explore to be another excellent solution.

Check on their nutrition and adjust it properly from time to time to keep them from craving non-food items. Finally, shower it with loads of love to keep it from stress. Finally, shower it with loads of love to keep it from stress, and you will stop wondering why my dog eats mulch?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which Mulch Is Safe For My Garden If I Have A Dog?

Cedar, pine, and cypress are all dog-friendly mulch options. Wood-based mulch is safer than others. Avoid cocoa bean mulch as it is highly toxic to dogs.

When choosing a wood-based mulch, make sure it is not treated chemically. Also, ensure that it is free from fungus, as wood chips and damp bark are likely to contain them. Colored mulch is supposed to be safe for pets. The red mulch uses iron oxide, and the black mulch comes from carbon black. We find both in our daily use products.

Why Does My Dog Like To Chew On Sticks?

Sticks are like bones in size and shape. They have a fun gathering and fantasizing about the sticks as bones. However, they do not think of the sticks as bones, contrary to popular belief.

Dogs can quickly tell apart and identify the bones from sticks. It’s just their playful way of having fun. Most dog owners agree sticks are their dog’s next favorite things after bones. They just play with the sticks.

What Mulch Can I Use For My Dog Run?

Pine mulch is a safe and comfortable option for covering the ground. It is soft, natural, and good at absorbing feces and urine. However, natural mulch needs regular replacement, which can be costly and tedious. Apart from that, it offers an excellent ground cover.

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