- 1. Pet Poison Alert: Cocoa Bean Mulch Can Be Toxic for Dogs
- 2. ASPCA Happy Tails: The Long Way Home
- 3. We’re Honoring Moms with 25% Off in the ASPCA Store!
- 4. Animal Lovers “Go Orange” Across the Country
1. Pet Poison Alert: Cocoa Bean Mulch Can Be Toxic for Dogs
If your dog likes to spend sunny days lazing in the garden, his treat-seeking nose may lead him to one danger in particular: sweet-smelling but potentially harmful cocoa bean mulch.
Many gardeners are familiar with the use of cocoa bean shells, a by-product of chocolate production, in landscapingit’s especially popular for its attractive odor and color and eventual degradation into organic fertilizer. But many pet parents don’t realize that cocoa mulch, if eaten in large quantities, can be toxic to their furry friends.
“Dogs are attracted to the fertilizer’s sweet smell,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Animal Health Services, “but like chocolate, cocoa bean mulch can be too much for our canine companions.”
Ingestion of large amounts of cocoa bean mulch, which contains residual amounts of theobrominea methylxanthine found in chocolate and known to be toxic to dogsmay cause a variety of clinical signs. These typically start with vomiting, diarrhea and elevated heart rate, and if large amounts are consumed, they may progress to hyperactivity, muscle tremors and possibly other more serious neurological signs. Treatment includes administering medical-grade activated charcoal, bringing tremors under control with cardiac monitoring and preventing further exposure.
“We advise pet parents not to use cocoa mulch in areas where dogs can be exposed unobserved, particularly dogs who have indiscriminate eating habits,” says Dr. Hansen. He further recommends that pet parents consider using a nontoxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark. These will keep your poochand your gardenhappy and healthy.
If you suspect your dog has ingested cocoa bean mulch, please contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. For more potential garden and lawn pet hazards, check out our Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening.
2. ASPCA Happy Tails: The Long Way Home
A true model of patience and modesty, Willamina had the dubious distinction of being our longest resident at the ASPCA Adoption Centershe was with us for more than 800 days! Though we loved having the little fireball around, we all cheered loudly when she finally found her forever home with Brooklynite Dana Wagner on April 14. Below Dana describes the fortuitous events that lead to their meeting, which was most certainly meant to be.
ASPCA: How did you first hear about Willamina?
Dana: I first saw Willamina's bio and video on ASPCA.org over a year ago. I was immediately drawn to her, and kept noticing over the past year that she was still available for adoption.
ASPCA: When did you officially meet?
Dana: In early April, I was browsing the adoptable cats list online, not intending to adopt, when I saw Willamina again. I re-posted her page on Facebook and Twitter, but something stirred in me, and I felt perhaps she belonged with our family. I discussed it with my partner, Iris, and we decided to go to the ASPCA to meet her.
ASPCA: Was it love at first sight?
Dana: I knew right then and there that I would not leave without Willamina. I guess that her medical condition was the reason many potential adoptive parents had passed her up during her two years at the ASPCA, but it didn't deter us. She was so sweet and absolutely perfect. I knew that she belonged with us.
ASPCA: Do you have any other pets?
Dana: Yes, we have three other cats: Spanky (2), Kai (5) and Hershey (5)all boys. All were adopted as kittens from local animal rescue organizations.
ASPCA: How has Willamina settled into her new home?
Dana: She's assertive and has been curiously exploring the apartmentthe bedroom is her favorite place and she loves to cuddle at night. The boys have really welcomed her in, and Spanky, in particular, has been trying to get closer to her, but I think she's a bit shy when he gets too close.
ASPCA: Does she have any funny habits or behaviors?
Dana: Yes! When she gets playful, she will nibble at our hands like they’re toys, turn herself upside down on her back and start kicking wildly with excitement.
ASPCA: What does she mean to you and your family?
Dana: Willamina is a joy and a wonderful addition to our family. We're very happy to have found this sweet girl who was cared for by the ASPCA but couldn't find the right home. We know she was just waiting to come to ours.
Check out more stories of furry fate in our Happy Tails archive.
3. We’re Honoring Moms with 25% Off in the ASPCA Store!
Mother’s Day is Saturday, May 9don’t wait until the last minute to pick up a little something for the special ladies in your life! Mom will love that all purchases from the ASPCA Online Store directly support our life-saving programsand to sweeten the deal, we’re offering 25% off all jewelry, ladies apparel and accessories when you enter the code MOTHERSDAY25 at checkout (code is good until May 6). Be sure to order by May 3 to receive her goodies in time for Mother’s Day.
Mother's Day Gift Ideas
To celebrate her special day, the ASPCA Online Store is highlighting a slew of mom-friendly items for all tastes and budgets.
Travel: Pet Auto Barrier
Unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents each year. Help mom and her furry friends stay safe on the road with this backseat car barrier for pets.
Cat Toy: Turbo Track
Cats are wild for this interactive, expandable toy. An entertained pet is a happy pet, and happy pets make mom happy, too!
To see more fabulous items mom will love, visit the ASPCA Online Store.
4. Animal Lovers “Go Orange” Across the Country
This April, we asked you to join millions of animal lovers nationwide to honor Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and raise awareness of our collective victories on behalf of our four-legged friends. As we wrap up the month, we’d like to send a special shout-out to our supporters, who helped make this April one of the best and brightest ever. Check out some of the creative ways your fellow animal lovers “went orange” this year:
P.S. 30 Goes Orange: Public School 30 in Staten Island, NY, took part in its first “Go Orange” celebration on April 7, when students donned orange and donated dog and cat food to their local shelter. The children also took part in humane education lessons throughout the day to encourage compassion and kindness for all living things.
Zumbathon for Pets: On April 11, a fitness instructor who teaches Zumba, a form of aerobic dance, in Centreville, VA, hosted a “Zumbathon” to generate funds for animals and fun for those who love them. With 100% of the proceeds going to the ASPCA, the event was a rousing success and raised more than $600 for animals!
Buildings All A-Glow: Along with the yearly spectacle of the Empire State Building bathed in orange light, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, and the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane, WA, are just a few of the landmarks that joined the fun and went orange, too!
Party on the Block: On April 17, the great borough of Brooklyn hosted a festive block party on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library near Prospect Park. The day-long event, sponsored by Subaru, included performances by American Idol winner Fantasia and Grammy-nominated singer Maiysha, as well as free spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations.
Many thanks to all of our members for making April such a banner month!
Action Tip: Want to wear your compassion on your sleeve all year long? Spread the word that you love animals with an orange wristband!