This just came to my attention on the possible canine mail list
While this is an old (2003) article, there's still a reason for concern and caution since the product is still widely sold, and does not have a warning on the package according to the email i got this morning.
It's a garden mulch that smells like chocolate and is sold in places like Home Depot and Walmart and others, and it has killed and sickened dogs who have eaten it. It contains the chemical present in chocolate that is toxic to dogs. It's made by the Hershey company. Here is what Hershey says on its website FAQ ( http://www.hersheys.com/mulch/faq.shtml ):
Is it true that Cocoa Mulch is harmful to dogs?
It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it.
Why would a dog eat Cocoa Mulch?
It smells GREAT! . . . . so it must taste GREAT, right?
I find it disturbing that they would give it to dogs in order to test it. I bet they dont' give it to their own pets.