10 Best Mulches for Dogs – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks
As a dog owner, you want your pet to be safe inside your yard. Unfortunately, dogs and gardening don’t always go hand in hand. One particular area of concern is the type of mulch we use in our garden. Not only can dogs destroy your gardening efforts, but also the type of mulch used can have serious health implications, especially if it contains toxic substances.
Besides adding beneficial nutrients to the soil, mulch can also be applied on pathways as a soft ground cover to make it easier for the dog’s joints and paws while running. Both synthetic and natural mulch for use near pets retail in the market today; however, you must look for a non-toxic version that is organic and free from metals and pesticides.
In this article, we will highlight the best mulches for dogs that will help improve the aesthetics of your outdoor garden while keeping your dog safe.
Is Mulch Safe for Dogs?
Before we highlight the best mulches to use near your dogs, you should first find out if mulch is safe for your pets. Mulch is a necessary addition to a yard or a home garden when you want to eliminate weeds, make healthy soil or beautify an area. Yet, as a pet owner, you can only use mulch that is safe for use near your pets.
Usually, most mulch varieties are safe to use around your dogs. However, some varieties, like cocoa mulch, are toxic to dogs causing seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, and worse, death.
For the safety of your pets, you should look for alternatives like cedar, hemlock, or pine mulch varieties. Granted, pine is a worthwhile mulch option because it has higher ground coverage. However, the sharp tips of the pine needles can cause intestinal punctures if your dog consumes a lot of them.
Another alternative would be to use synthetic materials like rubber mulch. The mulch is easier to clean and is more durable. Sure, it may not have that natural appearance, but you can always look for color variations to match your preferences.
No matter your choice of mulch, always first check the label before purchasing. Many brands tend to specify on their labels whether their mulch is safe for use near pets and children.
A Quick Comparison of our Favorite
|Longleaf Pine Straw Roll for Landscaping||
|100% Natural Cedar Chips||
|Amish Aromatic Cedar Wood Shavings||
|EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch With Tack||
|Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets||
10 of the Best Mulch for Dogs
1. Longleaf Pine Straw Roll for Landscaping
The Longleaf Pine Straw Roll for Landscaping is a favorite mulching option among gardening pet owners due to its dual functionality. It helps beautify your garden while ensuring your dogs are unharmed. It is also easy to apply in flower beds and home gardens because it rolls out as per your direction. This will, in turn, save you time and energy expended on the project because you won’t have to cover every inch of your yard manually.
If you are environmentally conscious and prefer sustainable products, you will definitely appreciate this mulch. No trees need to be felled to make this mulch. Better still, it is also safe to use near your dogs. However, as earlier mentioned, it’s wise to monitor your four-legged friends around pines because they can easily rupture their intestines if consumed in large amounts.
- Easy application
- Environmentally friendly
- A time-saving mulch type
- Features 100% natural materials
- Can potentially harm your dogs if consumed in large quantities
2. 100% Natural Cedar Chips
This type of mulch is specifically obtained from western red cedar trees. It is 100% natural because no chemicals or additives are used in its production. You will not have to worry about your dog’s safety even if your plants are indoor-grown.
This mulch retails in a zip-able bag that allows the mulch to retain moisture and its cedar scent if you don’t intend to use all the mulch in one setting. Sure, it may be safe for your pets, but the mulch bag is only less than five quarts. So, it’s best suited for small areas rather than large garden spaces.
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- Retails in a zip-able bag to retain freshness
- Features 100% natural cedar chips made in the USA
- Not suitable for use in large areas
3. Amish Aromatic Cedar Wood Shavings
If you are looking to create a stunning landscape in your front yard, the Amish Aromatic Cedar Wood Shavings will get the job done. Unlike the cedar chips, this mulch type is packaged in a volume that can handle a wider perimeter. Besides adding mulch to your plants, you can also apply the shavings in your dog’s kennel for use as bedding.
As the name suggests, this mulch type has a very pleasant smell. Therefore, the wood chips take longer to get saturated with the unpleasant odor of dog urine and feces.
Unfortunately, if you use these wood shavings near a washroom area or any other spot with high moisture content, ensure that you replace the shavings every so often. If you don’t, you might encourage mold, which presents health complications to your family and pets.
- Good for masking odors
- Features an aromatic scent
- Makes good pet bedding
- Can encourage mold and bacteria growth
4. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch With Tack
The EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch With Tack is one of the most popular straw mulch retailing in today’s market. It is a suitable mulch for gardeners looking for bedding for a dog’s outdoor area. It is also an ideal mulch if you want to regrow an area of grass in your yard.
This mulch type can cover up to 50 feet of land, thus giving you a lot of bang for your money. It also features a tackifier that helps it to remain compacted to protect the plants and seeds after application. Besides being beneficial to plant life, it is safe for use near pets and children. Also, since it’s a biodegradable mulch, you need not bother yourself with clean-up duties after using it.
Unfortunately, this mulch type was designed for seeding purposes and not for decorative use. So, if you are looking for mulch that can improve the aesthetics of your yard, you should consider other mulch options on this list.
- Safe for use around pets and kids
- Covers up to 500 feet
- Includes tackifier to hold mulch together
- Not ideal for decorative uses
5. Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets
As mentioned earlier, if natural and organic mulch options are unsuitable for your yard, you can use synthetic materials. Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets are one such option. This synthetic mulch is ideal for use in high traffic, kennel and play areas.
It is water- and weather-resistant and very easy to clean after application. It doesn’t disintegrate, fall apart or fade away. This mulch type is also a popular synthetic option because the rubber in the mulch is shock absorbent. Therefore, it can protect your dogs in case of falls or accidents.
These rubber mulch nuggets also retail in several color choices, allowing you to match the mulch with your surrounding environment. Each color used in the mulch can last up to 12 years without requiring replacement. Moreover, the rubber used on the mulch is made from recycled tires. Therefore, it lacks 99.9% of heavy metals.
Unfortunately, Playsafer rubber mulch may have a rubbery scent, but it is not strong enough to mask the smell of pet waste.
- Does not disintegrate
- Features different colors that can last up to 12 years
- Shock absorbing properties
- Lacks a natural look
6. Kaytee Red Cedar Mulch for Dogs
The Kaytee Red Cedar Mulch for Dogs is a biodegradable and completely natural mulch variety that features a clean scent that most pet owners will appreciate. It retails in a 6.6-pound bag and is not only suitable for use around your dog’s area but also suitable for application in pet cages if you keep mini pets like hamsters.
This mulch is derived from the oriental red cedar tree blocks. The company even goes further by filtering the blocks to make them ideal for use around dogs that may have allergies. Cedar oils not only add freshness to your yard but also help repel unwanted bugs like ticks and fleas.
After application, this mulch type typically expands up to three times its volume. Moreover, the Kaytee Red Cedar Mulch is 20% more absorbent when compared to other mulch brands, hence offering excellent value for the price.
Unfortunately, the chips on this mulch tend to be larger, therefore, not ideal for use near small puppies. However, the chips are not a problem for an adult dog.
- Helps prevent muddy feet in dogs
- Use it for gardening and canine run
- Fresh aroma to mask the smell of pet wastes
- Can be a choking hazard for tiny puppies
7. Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings
The Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings may have various applications in your garden or backyard, but it also has indoor uses. It can promote the plant growth of your potted plants, cat litter for dogs, and as a non-toxic air freshener. The shavings from this mulch also produce an earthly scent that acts as a natural insect repellent. Simply spray the curls around your dog’s kennel to deter flies and fleas. It retails in a useful resealable bag for added convenience.
- Outstanding earthly scent
- Easy and straightforward to use
- Acts as an insect repellent against fleas and flies
- The volume is too low for the exorbitant price
8. Cedarcide Insect Repelling Cedar Mulch
The Cedarcide Insect Repelling Cedar Mulch is a popular mulching option because it is free of artificial additives, GMOs, and toxic chemicals. It also features a cedar aroma that is great at masking odors from your dog’s waste excrement.
This mulch option is especially popular among most gardeners because it retails in a large bag with enough mulch to cover an extensive area. Besides that, Cedarcide also ensures that it produces high-quality products that are safe to use near pets and children. The mulch is also hypoallergenic and safe on the skin.
Unlike other mulch varieties, this one uses grains instead of chips. Therefore, it has a finer texture and is easier to use. It is derived from cedar trees; therefore, it features cedar oil scents that are effective at keeping pesky pests such as ticks and fleas at bay. Once you apply it next to your dog’s kennel, the place will retain the cedar smell for up to eight weeks.
Furthermore, once applied on your garden, lawn, or flowerbed, it can also prevent weeds from taking over your yard.
- Great cedar smell
- Safe to use next to dogs
- Functions as an insect and pest deterrent
- Smell may not be suitable for all dogs
9. International Mulch Company Ns8rw Redwood
Besides masking nasty odors from your pets’ beddings, mulches are also a great way of helping keep your dog safe and comfortable. They can help keep your mutt cool in summer and warm during the harsh cold winter months.
This mulch from the International Mulch Company Ns8rw Redwood ensures pet safety by utilizing toxin-free recycled rubber. It is a suitable mulch for the environmentally conscious pet owner who cares about the planet while ensuring their dogs have the most comfortable lifestyle that an owner can avail for their pet.
It is safe for use near dogs of all ages and sizes, with additional benefits for dogs suffering from allergies. It also helps minimize mold growth and dust build-up as well.
- Doesn’t deteriorate, hence more durable
- Helps deter pets like termites and other wood parasites
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Might find steel shavings in your mulch
10. Pet’s Pick Cedar Bedding
This mulch features impressive odor control properties that will help keep your pets’ outdoor space clean and pleasant smelling. Besides the natural cedar scent that is an effective pest repellent and odor neutralizer, the chips in this mulch have excellent water retention capacity.
The shavings used in this mulch are usually oven dried to eliminate any lingering bacteria on the wood and improve the ability of the wood to absorb moisture. Furthermore, the shavings are triple-shielded to remove excess dust that could potentially irritate your pets, thus making the mulch ideal for use as dog bedding.
Apart from being safe for use near your pets, this mulch is also an excellent addition to your plant life because it also helps deter harmful insects from your garden.
- Wonderful smell
- Helps keep pests at bay
- Straightforward to use and reapply
- Features tiny pieces that can easily blow away
Mulching is an excellent way to beautify your yard, add nutrients to the soil and make a comfortable and safe place for your dog to relax no matter the weather. Choosing the appropriate mulch for your dog is essential. However, we understand that with the many mulch brands retailing in the market, choosing a pet-safe mulch can be overwhelming.
A few mulch varieties, like cocoa bean mulch, can be very dangerous to your dog, with adverse health complications. The chemical compounds in the mulch can induce tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea. Even some dog-friendly mulches made from rubber can create digestive issues, while others contain chemical additives and pesticides that are toxic to pets.
Fortunately, mulch made from 100% natural hardwood trees, softwood shavings, and soft rubber mulch is safe enough to use near your furry friends. In fact, most gardening experts believe that the more natural and organic a product is, the safer it is to use near your pets. So, you can opt for mulch made from grasses, straws, or untreated wood. However, ensure that the mulch particles are tiny enough for your dog to digest.
- Related Read: Rubber Mulch vs Wood Mulch
Featured Image Credit”: Joseph Thomas Photography, Shutterstock
- 1 Is Mulch Safe for Dogs?
- 2 A Quick Comparison of our Favorite
- 3 10 of the Best Mulch for Dogs
- 3.1 1. Longleaf Pine Straw Roll for Landscaping
- 3.2 2. 100% Natural Cedar Chips
- 3.3 3. Amish Aromatic Cedar Wood Shavings
- 3.4 4. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch With Tack
- 3.5 5. Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets
- 3.6 6. Kaytee Red Cedar Mulch for Dogs
- 3.7 7. Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings
- 3.8 8. Cedarcide Insect Repelling Cedar Mulch
- 3.9 9. International Mulch Company Ns8rw Redwood
- 3.10 10. Pet’s Pick Cedar Bedding
- 4 Conclusion