How to Stop a Dog From Eating Mulch?

How To Stop A Dog From Eating Mulch? +[What Happens When They Do]

My dogs were constantly sick, so I had to watch them. I later discovered that they were devouring compost mulch that I had placed in the backyard. As a result, I needed to figure out how to get rid of this new habit.

So, how to stop a dog from eating mulch? 

Training is the simplest way to stop a dog from eating mulch. The main reason dog eats mulch is due to the mulch aroma. When a dog eats mulch, it would probably get sick. Why? Dogs can’t digest wood chip mulch.

This article explains how to keep your dog from eating mulch in detail. It also discusses why dogs consume mulch and which mulches you should avoid if you have pets.

Also Check: Is Rubber Mulch Safe For Dogs?

Also Check: Best Mulch For Dog Poop Area

How to Stop a Dog From Eating Mulch

One of the most effective ways to keep your dog from eating mulch is to train her. So, how do you do the training?

Firstly, if you notice your dog attempting to eat mulch, you can instruct her to stop. The most commonly used commands are: leave it and drop it. So, when the dog is about to consume the mulch, use the command, “leave it”. Employ the latter when the mulch is already in her mouth.

When yelled at, dogs may ingest the mulch rather than spit it. As a result, you must be soft not to startle the dog when giving the “drop it” instruction.

Secondly, while you’re walking your dog, you can use a leash to draw her away from the mulch. Also, you can put her on a leash when you’re away from home. This would prevent her from roaming into the garden.

Finally, you could use positive reinforcement. Call the dogs off the mulch, and congratulate and reward her when she does. Also, reward your dogs when they avoid the mulched area entirely and ignore them when they go over it.

If training doesn’t work, try the following methods:

1. Construct a Temporary Physical Barrier

If your dog refuses to learn, you might need to put up a physical barrier. So, create a barrier between the dog and the mulched area with a tiny fence. You could as well use stones to create a barrier.

2. Allow the Dog to Play in Mulch Free Area

If the dog violates the barrier you’ve set up, you’ll have to remove her from the mulched area entirely.

3. Distract Your Dog

No matter how hard you try to stop them, dogs love chewing. If you keep the dog’s mouth full by using chew toys, she won’t be able to pick up mulch. However, you’ll need to try a variety of chew toys to find their favorite.

You may keep your dog active with various activities to keep her from wandering into the mulched area. Taking her out for a walk or to the park to play with other dogs are examples of activities.

4. Use Repellent Sprays

You may create a spray with vinegar and water. Due to the pungent odor that dogs abhor, this spray would deter dogs from eating the mulch.

You don’t have any vinegar on hand! Don’t worry. Even something as simple as a citrus spray or Cayenne pepper does the trick. The harsh taste of these sprays deters dogs from devouring anything you spray on.

Of course, there are over-the-counter insect repellents available at drugstores. However, it would help if you always tried these DIY solutions first. Why? Because they aren’t only natural but also inexpensive.

But not every smell is suitable for your dog, for example, I wouldn’t encourage the use of ammonia. Here’s why. 

Although the smell of ammonia would deter dogs, you shouldn’t use it. Ammonia has the potential to irritate your dog’s eyes as well as his respiratory system.

5. Reduce Boredom through Exercise

We find dogs eating mulch for various reasons, one of which is that they have nothing else to do. So, play fetch with her or go for a run to burn off their extra energy.

When the dogs become exhausted from these activities, they won’t have time to explore the garden.


Why Does My Dog Eat Mulch?

Your dog eats mulch because: 

  • The smell of mulch is one of the critical reasons dogs enjoy it: You would, therefore, notice them sniffing around mulch and may eventually want to taste it because they love its smell!
  • Young puppies are particularly intrigued about things they have never seen before:  They’ll sniff various things and then try to eat them since they’re trying to find out what to eat or not.
  • Not being well exercised or stimulated: Therefore, she’ll have to find her means of amusement or release extra energy. This entails munching your backyard’s mulch.
  • Deficiency: Dogs who are deficient in nutrition sometimes chew wood chip mulch.
  • Pica: Pica can cause dogs to chew mulch in some circumstances. 
  • Teething in puppies: Certain dogs to relieve toothache chew mulch. You may solve this problem by giving your dog a chew toy.
  • Enticement by wood chunks: Mulch with huge shreds or chunks of wood may entice dogs just as much as that stick you’re trying to get them to fetch.

Will Eating Mulch Hurt My Dog?

Yes! Eating mulch hurts your dog. Also, the sort of mulch they eat determines the impact and effect of the mulch. Cocoa is the mulch that has the most negative impact on dogs. This sort of mulch contains toxins that cause the pets to vomit. In addition, if ingested in excessive quantities, it can cause death.

Also, the molds that grow on the damp mulch can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Pesticides and chemicals used on the natural mulch also have a similar effect on your dog if consumed.

Furthermore, mulch that takes too long to digest causes stomach obstruction. This makes your dog have stomach pains due to bloating. In some cases, it may lead to starvation due to stomach blockage. 

Mulch with sharp tips may perforate the dog’s mouth or, even worse, the linings of the gut. This would make the dog sick due to bacterial infections. 

What Happens if a Dog Eats Wood Chips?

Splinters from wood chips could penetrate the dog’s mouth or stomach. This could be pretty painful for your dog, causing him to be unable to eat correctly. As a result, malnutrition may occur. 

Furthermore, if the wound isn’t treated, it may cause infections, causing discomfort.

On the other hand, large wood chips may become stuck in the stomach. This causes discomfort and indigestion. In severe circumstances, the dog might require surgery to clear the blockage.

Is There a Dog Repellent Spray?

Yes, dog repellent sprays are available in drug stores or pet stores. Havahart Critter Ridder is a commonly used repellant. It’s composed of oil of black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin.

To keep away animals, including dogs, from a given location, it repels them through taste and odor. Although, it doesn’t affect humans.

It’s water-resistant; hence you don’t have to worry if it has been washed away when it rains. In addition, its effects last up to 30 days if properly applied.

Is Coconut Mulch Safe for Dogs?

No! Coconut mulch isn’t safe for dogs. Dry coir expands when it absorbs water. If the dog eats dried coir, it might expand in the digestive tract and obstruct the pet’s intestines.

What Is the Safest Mulch for Dogs?

The most common mulch safe for your dogs is pine and cedar. If dogs consumed this type of mulch, it would easily digest.

Even so, for most dogs, rubber mulch also has no delicious aroma, so it rarely tempts the dogs to eat it. As a result, rubber is a safe choice.

Will Dogs Eat Rubber Mulch?

Dogs chew rubber mulch from time to time out of curiosity, but they rarely swallow it. However, there is no harm caused to their body if they do.

Rubber mulch doesn’t hold moisture; hence mold and fungus wouldn’t grow on them. Therefore, if consumed, they wouldn’t cause any infection to your dog.


Can Dogs Die From Eating Mulch?

Yes, eating mulch can kill your dog – it, however, depends on the type of mulch and if there are any chemicals, such as dies added to it. For instance, cocoa plants contain chemicals that cause seizures, which, if not controlled, might result in death. 

Also, pesticides contained in the mulch may poison your dog. If not treated on time, they may end up dying.

What Mulch Is Toxic to Dogs?

Any mulch containing fungus, molds, insecticides, or other chemical is toxic to your dog. So, unless your mulch doesn’t contain the above, keep your pet away from the mulched zones.  

Is Black Mulch Safe for Pets?

We make black mulch by dyeing wood chips using black. The dye is usually carbon-based, which isn’t toxic to dogs.

Although, the wood chip itself is dangerous to your dog. He may hurt his mouth or even puncture his gut.


Out of curiosity, dogs would like to taste anything with a sweet smell; this includes mulch. Not all mulches are safe if consumed; some might even kill your pets. Therefore, there is a need to prevent them from eating mulch.

The simplest way to deter a dog from eating mulch is to keep them away from it altogether. You can achieve this by creating a barrier, using a repellent, diverting your dog. Also, you could train your dog to stay away from the mulch.

It’s worth noting you can make a dog repellent at the comfort of your home using vinegar.

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