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Is Cypress Mulch Safe for Dogs?

Category Advice
Q: We have six dogs and my yard has a lot of trees with half dirt and half grass. I just bought cypress mulch to go on the dirt but someone said it was harmful to the dogs. Is this true and can you give me some dog friendly suggestions for the yard?

Thank you,
Pam from Scottsboro, AL

A: Pam,

The safest thing to do is ask your veterinarian, but most animal experts recommend using cypress (and other wood mulches) as a safe alternative to cocoa shells (which can be highly toxic in small amounts-especially when ingested by dogs). I'd like to add my two cents in here about the environmental impact of using cypress mulch and suggest that you select an alternative wood mulch (or straw, leaves, stones, etc). Much of the cypress harvested for mulch comes from the gulf coast. Harvesting it results in the destabilization of the coastal wetlands that would normally act as a buffer to storm surges and flooding. These wetland also provide homes to numerous wildlife species. As you know, since hurricane Katrina the entire gulf coast has continued to struggle with rebuilding. Some of the cypress mulch seen in garden stores this season has been packaged in such a way as to persuade the buyer that by purchasing it, they are actually helping to financially support the rebuilding of gulf coast communities. What people don't realize is that they are unknowingly promoting the destabilization of the area's only natural protection against the flooding brought on by hurricanes. For more information visit this website:



About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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May 23, 20060 found this helpful

I've never heard of this and I use cypress mulch all over my yard with two dogs. Granted they don't really appear to mess with it so I don't think they have tried to eat it or anything.

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May 24, 20060 found this helpful

You can see if the answer is available here:

or call a local vet. They'd rather help you by answering your questions than have to help your pets through a poisoning that is avoidable!!

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