Our Top 3 Picks
Any responsible dog owner wants to keep their furry friends comfortable and safe. Many pet owners will use the best mulch for dogs to cover areas of the backyard, the dog house, or a dog run.
When doing so, you get an absorbent material that keeps the pup warm in winter and cool in summer, but the question lingers – is mulch safe for dogs, and if so, what type of mulch is safe for dogs?
Not all materials are ideal for pets, so let’s have a look at some of the best products for the dog owner who wants to provide a safe and comfy resting place for their fur friend.
You might be interested in: 10 Best Igloo Dog Houses & Beds in 2022.
- Certified content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.
Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM
Notes from our DVM, Sara Ochoa: “When first using mulch make sure your dog isn’t sneezing. Certain mulches will make some dogs sneeze due to the strong smell.”
View The Best Mulch For Dogs Below
1. Pet’s Pick Cedar Bedding
- Brand: Pet’s Pick
- Mulch Type: Cedar
- Item Size: 24L
Pet's Pick Cedar Bedding is ideal for covering the inside of a dog house or as ground cover for the yard. More importantly, it is produced with your dog’s well-being in mind.
It is a dog-friendly mulch that has been carefully kiln-dried to remove dust (which could cause allergies). Make sure to keep your pet safe in a clean environment using this cedar bedding with ultimate absorption and odor control. Your dog will love to curl up in this, keeping them warm, comfortable, and dry, and the chips are lightweight and easy for both owner and dog to deal with.
+ All-natural cedar wood chip
+ Lightweight and odor-free
+ Carefully kiln-dried to remove harmful bacteria
+ Keeps the designated area dry and warm
+ For dogs, horses, and livestock
– Small bag
Why We Like It – This pet-friendly mulch is made especially for dogs and other animals. It is processed to fit the needs of our furry friends. Not only is it toxin-free, but it is also extremely absorbent and comfortable for pets to lie in.
2. Cedarcide Natural Insect-Repelling Cedar Granules*
- Brand: Cedarcide
- Mulch Type: Cedar
- Item Weight: 8 pounds
Cedarcide Natural Insect-Repelling Cedar Granules is a wonderful natural solution for your garden or yard against insects and pests. These cedar granules work best to fight ticks, fleas, ants, mosquitos, and others except for beneficial bugs or insects like bees and butterflies. It’s sourced from organic cedar trees, and you can use it as dog bedding or as a pest-control treatment for your garden.
+ Covers up to 3,500 sq. ft.
+ No harsh chemicals
+ Prevent and repel unwanted bugs
+ Pet-friendly and no downtime needed
+ Doesn’t affect beneficial bugs
Why We Like It – Cedar is one of the best mulch options for gardening and animal bedding. It has bug-repellant qualities that other mulches don’t have. Many reviews say it has helped their garden and yard be bug, insect, and pest-free. Not only that, it also keeps their pet safe and free from ticks and fleas. A big win for our furry friends and us, dog owners!
3. Amish Aromatic Red Cedar Wood Shavings
- Brand: Woodchucks Wood
- Mulch Type: Red Cedar
- Item Weight: 4 pounds
Mulch and dogs make a great combination, as it is a material that keeps bad odors at bay while also providing a comfortable resting place for your pup. This red cedar log product is made by the Amish – hence produced in the United States. It is 100% natural and environment-friendly.
Amish Aromatic Red Cedar Wood Shavings has no preservatives and no chemicals, great for keeping harmful insects and bugs away. Why invest in artificial materials when you can provide your furry friend with real quality wood chips?
+ Made by the Amish
+ 100% biodegradable
+ Produced in the United States
+ Naturally keeps bugs away
+ Great to use as a pet bedding
– Smaller volume than expected
– Overpriced for the quantity
Why We Like It – A natural product such as this US-produced cedar wood chip is a good bedding material for your dog. It is all-natural, biodegradable, and kind to both your dog and mother earth!
4. Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings
- Brand: Four Winds Trading
- Mulch Type: Cedar
- Item Size: 8 Quart
This is a safe mulch for dogs that is great for outdoor and indoor use. It has a long-lasting smell, and it keeps the area smelling fresh. Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings can be used as garden mulch, arts and crafts, animal bedding, or why not as an air freshener?
The versatility of wood shavings makes it ideal for any home, with or without pets. We also guarantee that it will benefit dog owners since their pups will love to sleep on it. The size of the shavings is small enough to create a comfortable sleeping space.
+ Small, medium, and large bags
+ Good sized wood shavings
+ Great for keeping the air fresh
+ Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
+ No mold, moist, or bugs
– Pricey with a small quantity
– Weak cedar scent
Why We Like It – An advantage when buying this mulch product is that it can be used for your dog. You can also use any leftovers for decorative purposes indoors, as they give off a pleasant cedar scent while also looking rustic and charming. It also comes in a convenient bag with resealable packaging to keep it away from moisture.
5. Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets
- Brand: Playsafer
- Mulch Type: Rubber
- Item Weight: 40 pounds
- Colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Red, Natural Black (Unpainted)
Using mulch for dogs is an excellent way to keep them warm during winter, chilly during summer, and overall comfortable and at ease. This Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets is made with recycled rubber and it’s safe and non-toxic to dogs.
This type of mulch is also great for garden use, especially on soil. You may not know this, but rubber mulches prevent weed growth, making them extremely beneficial for your yard or garden. It doesn’t decompose so it lasts longer and reapplication is not necessary.
+ Doesn’t decompose or compress easily
+ Non-toxic and 99% metal-free
+ Ideal for play areas or playgrounds
– It’s not as nugget-sized as advertised
Why We Like It – Do you have trouble keeping weeds away from destroying your beautiful garden at home? These Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets are the solution. They are eco-friendly and made from recycled tires. Use it as a protective covering on playgrounds, dog runs, or gardens, so your home is vibrant and safe for dogs.
6. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack
- Brand: EZ Straw
- Mulch Type: Straw
- Coverage: 500 sq. ft.
Perfect for dogs, cats, rabbits, and even children, the EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack is a biodegradable straw that’s easy to apply to any space or grass area. It uses a bonding agent called Tackifier, so it can survive heavy washouts, windy blowouts, and destructive animals. More good news, it’s also mess-free as it helps prevent your dog from tracking mud all over your backyard.
+ Easy to spread and clean up
+ Protects grass seed from heavy washout or wind
+ With bonding agent to hold straws together
+ Safe for pets and children
– Contains some weed seeds
Why We Like It – EZ Straw has made it easy for fur parents with destroyed yards to redeem their backyard from what it used to look like. No more muddy pawprints all over the house. Just layer this down on your yard, and it will cover up any muddy area. It’s also great for gardening, so that’s a bonus!
7. Wood Smith 100% Natural Cedar Shavings
- Brand: Wood Smith USA
- Mulch Type: Cedar
- Item Size: 4 Quart
Get a bag of these Wood Smith 100% Natural Cedar Shavings, and you can have a natural air freshener with cedar scent. Take note that it’s shredded finely, so if that’s not your style, this is not the one for you. You can place it on your dog’s litterbox as it can absorb foul odors effectively. Or you can also use it on your potted plants to decrease soil erosion.
+ 100% natural cedar
+ Natural subtle cedar scent
+ Use as a pet bedding or air freshener
+ Absorbs smelly odor
+ Great for indoor or outdoor use
– Little scent or aroma
– Fine wooded chips
Why We Like It – Use this as your dog’s bedding or place it on their litter to absorb any bad odor of pee or poop. You will also love the cedar scent it gives off, and it will be pleasant for you and your beloved pupper.
Dog Mulch Buyers Guide
Using mulch as ground cover for your dog’s play area is always a good idea. It protects the soil below, is surprisingly comfortable to lay in, and does not require much maintenance. Not to mention, it’s gentle on the paws.
Knowing what mulch to get is another question. Most mulch is okay for dogs, but not all are safe. That’s why knowing which type is best for pets is the number one thing you should know.
Types of Mulch That Are Dog-Friendly
Is mulch toxic to dogs? The answer is simple – it depends on the type of mulch.
A quality product will be completely free of toxins, all-natural, and comfortable for your pup to sleep in. Other than that, it aids the growth of plants by retaining moisture as well as protecting the plant from both cold and heat. The same applies to dogs, and it works well to cool them down during hot summer months and to keep them cozy and warm in winter.
Pine Bark Mulch
Mulch made from the bark of pine trees (pine bark mulch) is a commonly used bedding material for dogs. An interesting fact is that pine nuggets take longer for nature to break down than thinner pine needles or shavings, and the result is that you won’t have to change the mulch as often. They are safe as long as your dog won’t get the urge to ingest them. Since they come in larger chunks, they can be a choking hazard.
Untreated Wood Mulch
Untreated wood mulches are also a safe option to keep any pet safe. These are mulches that didn’t undergo chemical treatment such as pesticide or dye. The only downside about untreated wood mulch is it can attract termites and other pests.
Is cedar mulch safe for dogs? Yes, it is, and it is known to have natural bug-repelling qualities! Unpleasant insects like the much-disliked ticks and fleas do not enjoy cedar as a place to reside, and they tend to avoid it as much as possible.
This can be hugely beneficial for dogs that spend a lot of time outside. It is highly unlikely either of these two bug types will thrive in such living conditions.
While these chips are not toxic in any way, they may at times cause an upset stomach if consumed, so cedar might not be the best option for puppers that like to chew. Some cedar mulch has been dyed red, and this dye is entirely harmless to pets.
Cypress mulch is another popular type of mulch that is widely used in landscaping. More importantly, they are totally safe and not toxic at all for any pet. However, if your dog ingests them accidentally it could be a problem.
A big advantage of rubber mulches that you might not have considered is that they are less attractive for a dog to chew on when compared to wood mulches. More than that, they are also incredibly easy to clean and can even come in various colors. So if you’re looking to add color to your yard or dog’s play area, this is the best option for you.
Rubber does not absorb moisture, and you can hose it down to get rid of puppy urine and dirt, and then your mulch will be as good as new! Another benefit is that rubber mulch will often last much longer, and you won’t have to waste time and money on changing it quite as often.
If your dog eats anything they come across, rock mulches may be a safer alternative for them. Unlike other types of mulches, your dog will less likely be inclined to eat rocks. Mainly because pets know rocks are not edible, not to mention they don’t look very appetizing to eat, unlike cocoa bean mulch.
Another benefit of rock or stone mulches is they have no toxic chemicals, keeping your pet safe and sound. Although, they are very much still a choking hazard if accidentally ingrested.
Types of Mulch That Are Harmful for Dogs
If you have an enthusiastic pet that loves to chew on everything, even on non-food items, it’s better to avoid these types of mulches for their safety and health.
Cocoa Bean Mulch
As every dog parent knows, anything with chocolate can poison dogs. Just like dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, they shouldn’t eat cocoa mulch. Chocolate or cocoa beans contain theobromine and caffeine, poisonous for dogs to ingest.
This is one of the most crucial things to avoid if you own a dog, especially when cocoa bean mulch has a sweet smell that is very attractive for canines. Eating mulch made out of cocoa is a big no-no!
Pine Needle Mulch
You should also know that a type of pine mulch that may be harmful to your dog is pine needles. They are different from pine bark mulches that are typically larger chunks and can be considered safe for your pet unless ingested.
Meanwhile, pine needles are the ones you need to stay away from. Pine needle mulch poses a great choking hazard risk for any pet. Once your dog ingests these, your pet’s stomach lining can get punctured and cause stomach perforation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I buy mulch for my dogs?
For anyone who has ever been to a playground, you may have noticed that the ground is often covered in mulch. This has mostly to do with safety, as it is soft and comfortable to fall on, and this in itself explains why it might be beneficial for dogs.
Dogs and children are similar in many ways, and they like to run around, roll over and be a little silly. Mulch keeps the ground soft and cushioned, which prevents injuries.
When it comes to dogs, the best way to use mulch is in the yard where the dog spends time or inside your dog’s house or any of their designated resting area. It keeps their place warm in winter and cools in summer, and it helps lower the risk of tick and flea infestations.
My dog eats mulch, is that okay?
Dogs eat mulch due to several reasons. These reasons may include lack of exercise, nutrient deficiency, boredom, or curiosity. Anxiety can also lead to destructive behaviors, including chewing on non-edible materials such as mulch.
You might also want to consider providing them with chew toys and natural treats to have them direct their desire to chew elsewhere. Another solution is to see if they’re getting enough nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from their dog food. Otherwise, vitamin and mineral supplements may help prevent your dog from eating mulch.
Is dyed mulch safe for dogs?
Dyed mulch is commonly occurring, especially when it comes to cedar mulch which is often dyed red. The good news is that it is not harmful to dogs. The dye is safe and non-toxic and can be used for all types of pets and children.
There is no good reason for choosing a dyed product; however, you might want to consider going with a natural mulch instead. If you really want to ensure that the mulch you’re using is completely safe, look for the best mulch for dogs with the approval seal from Mulch & Soil Council.
Using mulch is a great way to prepare your yard for a furry friend, as it keeps them safe and comfortable at the same time, regardless of the weather. Choosing a quality product is essential, and you will find many good options when searching online. Give your dog a chance to roll around in softwood shavings or cushioned rubber mulch. Know that it helps them keep an average body temperature all year round.
If you are willing to change your mulch when needed and enjoy using natural materials, go with pine bark or cedar mulches. If you prefer mulch that does not need to be changed very often, on the other hand, and that can be hosed down easily – then recycled rubber mulch is the right choice for you.
Did You Know?
Mulch is a natural insulator for both plants and pets, and it works efficiently to protect from both heat and cold. Learn how to make your garden more pet-friendly.
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