Is sugar cane mulch safe for dogs? | 7 things you must know

Sugar cane is a natural mulch that absorbs dog urine and can be used in both flower beds and vegetable gardens. Dogs will rarely try to eat sugar cane mulch and can be a great options for vegetable gardens and flower beds in your yard with your dog. Sugar cane mulch is a low cost, easy mulch to apply that works well with your dog.

This article will cover all you need to know about sugar cane mulch and dogs.

Sugar cane makes great mulch for around fruit trees and dogs won’t be interested.

Top things to know about sugar cane mulch and dogs

1. Sugar cane mulch absorbs dog waste

Sugar cane mulch can be a great natural substance to put down in areas of your yard that your dog can access. Sugar cane mulch can make an appropriate cover for areas that your dog can use as a potty. It absorbs dog urine and is an easy cover that makes it easy to pick up and remove dog poo.

For more on great covers for dog potty areas, check out my previous article here. 

2. Some dogs are sensitive to mulch

While sugar cane mulch is considered a natural substance, any dog can have an allergic reaction to a substance. If you notice that your dog has any skin reactions or allergic response, remove it immediately and consult your veterinarian.

My Rhodesian Ridgeback has been living for 13 years in yards that have had lots of added sugar cane mulch. I always use it on my vegetable gardens, under fruit trees and in flower beds to stop weeds, feed the soil bacteria and keep moisture in.

My dog has never even noticed sugar cane mulch other than occasionally peeing on it and has not attempted to dig through it or pick it up in his mouth. I have found that sugar cane mulch is a good mulch for areas of my yard that my dog is in and forms a neat cover for my soil.

Dogs don’t find sugar cane mulch interesting at all.

3. Sugar cane mulch is bland and boring

Sugar cane mulch is a bland, dry mulch and my dog has never tried to eat it. Unlike larger mulches like bark which can contain large pieces sometimes including sticks, dogs can be attracted to these mulch types. 

Sugar cane mulch however is finely chopped, dry and a very boring substance that most dogs ignore. While dogs can walk through it and sometimes spread small amounts about, they usually ignore it completely.

4. Sugar cane mulch breaks down quickly

Sugar cane mulch is shredded finely so it won’t take long for it to start to break down and add goodness to your soil. This means that sugar cane quickly becomes a substance that is partly mixed with your soil and of no interest to dogs. While dogs might like to lay or pee on it they are otherwise likely to leave it alone.

5. It can be mixed with other mulch types

Use sugar cane mulch in areas of your yard as the bottom layer of mulch and top with bark mulch. This will help to build up your soil while not bothering your dog. Sugar cane mulch is a light mulch so works well when 1 inch of sugar cane mulch is topped with 1-2 inches of bark mulch. This holds it in place in heavy winds and avoids your dog kicking it about onto areas of paving.

6. Sugar cane mulch hides smells

Sugar cane mulch has the added benefit in yards with dogs of hiding the smell of urine and dog poo. It absorbs water quickly and can hide smells made by your dog. It is easy to pick up dog poo with a scoop of sugar cane mulch which will absorb the excess water and make it easier for you.

Sugar cane mulch can absorb smells from dog wee and can be used as a dog potty cover.

7. Sugar cane mulch can be used in pots

Sugar cane mulch can be used on the top of the soil of pots to protect your plants from dog wee. If you have a tall dog like me, adding sugar cane mulch to the top of the pot soil can protect your plants. Dog urine can damage plants over time so sugar cane mulch can be a great way to absorb it and keep it away form the roots of your pot plants.

Another great mulch to use is fine bark mulch which will also absorb any dog urine which might make it to the top of your pot.

Mulch and dogs – FAQ

What kind of mulch is safe for dogs?

Natural mulches that do not contain dyes like bark mulch, sugar cane, hay or pebbles all work well with dogs. Most dogs will ignore mulch completely but if large pieces of wood are left in the mulch they can sometimes chew and eat them. Remove any large wood pieces from tree mulch to avoid this problem.

What is sugar cane mulch?

Sugar cane mulch is shredded stems and leaves leftover from the sugar industry. Sugar cane is grown and the sugar ‘juice’ is extracted from the stems. What is left is the hard stems and leaves which is dried, shredded and compacted in bags to use as mulch. This can be a great way to use a waste product from the sugar industry and improve your garden soil at the same time.

Can mulch make a dog sick?

Mulch that is eaten by dogs can make dogs sick. This is particularly apparent when sharp or long pieces of mulch are eaten. Pine needles or large bark pieces are risky for dogs so avoid this in areas of your yard that your dog can reach. Better options include sugar cane or fine bark mulch.

Is sugar cane mulch any good?

Sugar cane mulch is great for vegetable gardens and flower beds. It breaks down quickly which will improve the soil, feeding soil bacteria and worms which break down and release the nutrients to your plants. It prevents weeds, is low cost and reduces the moisture lost from the soil through evaporation.

Is sugar cane mulch safe for dogs? – Summary

I have used sugar cane mulch in my yard with my dog for over 13 years and have not had any problems. The benefits of sugar cane mulch is that it can absorb extra water from dog urine and poo and help to reduce smells. Sugar cane has great benefits for your garden, improves the soil and prevents weeds.

Happy gardening.