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Dog Run Mulch: Did RIOC Do Research or Create New Dangers?


RIOC boasted about covering the hazardous Southtown Dog Run with mulch. They did not consult with dog owners or say anything about the mulch in use. And as a least one vet advised, mulch is for landscaping and may be dangerous for dogs and anyone else exposed to it without protection.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Is Mulch Safe for Dog Runs?

The Southtown Dog Run thickly covered over with unidentified mulch.

After a resident posted a warning from her vet about mulch for dog runs, I researched it myself. Here’s what I found.

Mulch is a common material used in landscaping to cover the ground and add color. There are many different types of mulch, but not all of them are safe for dog runs.

Did RIOC do the research to find out which mulches are safe for dog runs before using it in the Southtown Dog Run?

The state agency that never gets it wrong isn’t saying, of course, but if they did, why not say so and soothe concerns? Depriving dog owners of information critical to their dog’s health is a serious error.


But according to one widely circulated article, “Mulches of any type could contain pesticides or molds that could be toxic to your dog if eaten. Cocoa bean mulch is susceptible to mold, and other mulch types may contain molds such as penitrem A and roquefortine that could cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors or seizures. A more severe toxic reaction could even be fatal.

There are several safe surfaces for dog runs:

Living, Dog-Friendly Ground Covers

  • Silver carpet (dymondia margaretae) …
  • Irish moss (sagina subulata) …
  • Elfin thyme (thymus serpyllum “elfin”) …
  • Miniature stonecrop (sedum requieni) …
  • Labrador violet (viola labradorica) …
  • Snow in summer (cerastium tomentosum) …
  • Winter creeper (euonymus fortunei)


We have no information as to why a safer material wasn’t used.


While dog run mulch may seem like a safe and easy way to keep your dog’s run clean and dry, there are actually some dangers associated with using it.

Mulch can harbor bacteria and fungi that can be harmful to your dog, and it can also attract insects like fleas and ticks. In addition, mulch can absorb urine and other waste products, which can create an unpleasant odor.

If you do choose to use mulch in your dog’s run, be sure to clean it regularly and replace it if it becomes wet or soiled.


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