Landscaping Your Backyard? These 3 Items Can Harm Your Dog

You're redesigning your backyard, and while your landscaping needs and wants will certainly top the list of the most important items, so should another very important thing—your dog. Your furry, four-legged friend is going to be spending a lot of time in your backyard. Because of this, you'll need to make sure that your landscaping choices are pet friendly and safe. You probably didn't know it, but there are several landscaping items, such as mulch and plants, that can make your dog sick and even kill him, if he eats them. Here are three of them.

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch is an attractive, sweet smelling mulch that many homeowners find appealing. Made from cocoa shells, it enriches the soil as the shells break down, providing plants and gardens with nutrient nitrogen.

That's a great benefit—if you don't own a dog. Cocoa mulch is poisonous to your furry friend. Just like chocolate, the mulch contains two chemicals, theobromine and caffeine. With its sweet, chocolately smell, it's quite enticing to your pet, but it can cause several health problems if it's eaten.

These include

  • irregular heartbeat
  • stomach upset
  • seizures
  • hyperactivity
  • frequent urination
  • death

Because this type of mulch can harm or kill your dog, it's much safer to use mulch that is made from cedar, which won't harm your pet.

Deadly Plants

When landscaping your backyard, you'll no doubt want to add some plants and greenery to give your yard a pleasant atmosphere. Plant life can be a great addition to your yard, but it can also be a deadly one. In fact, according to, over 700 types of plants can harm your pet.

Although the ASPCA lists all of the plants you should avoid, the list is quite exhaustive. Here are five of the most common to avoid.

  1. Tulips
  2. Chrysanthemums
  3. Lilies
  4. Ivy
  5. Hyacinths

If you don't see your chosen plants listed here, you can check with your vet or the ASPCA's list of toxic plants before adding them to your yard.

Small, Sharp Rocks

If you wish to add decorative stone to flower beds or backyard walkways, you'll need to be particularly mindful about the type of stone you choose. Always keep in mind that your dog will be sharing your backyard with you. Avoid rocks that are

  • sharp—these can cut your dog's paws
  • too small—small rocks can be easily swallowed, creating digestive problems for your pet

When selecting your decorative rock, pick sizes that can't be swallowed (larger than your pet's mouth). Also, remember to choose smooth, flat stones to decrease your pet's risk of injury.

If you avoid these three landscaping mistaking, you'll not only have a backyard that looks great but is also safe for your furry friend. Visit a site like for more information.

About Me

Children and Remodeling Projects Can Co-exist

When my family realized that we were "outgrowing" our home, we decided to peruse the local homes for sale, but didn't find any suitable for our family. We didn't want to move too far, because our children were thriving in our local schools. We then decided that remodeling our current home was a much better option, but we weren't sure if we could still live our daily lives normally while the work was being performed. We also worried that our littlest ones would pester the workers or end up in hazardous situations. When the project started, we quickly learned that it would be much less chaotic than we expected. Our little ones loved watching the workers, and it turned out to be a great learning experience for us all! I decided to start a blog to help other families considering home improvement projects, so come back soon for tips!


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