No Trip to the Beach: Popular House Plant Toxic to Pets

Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 11:15am

Are you daydreaming of a sandy beach and palm trees? Paradise, right? Not so fast, says Fido. Though palm trees evoke relaxation of the highest order, Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)—a stocky member of the Cycad family of plants—can be downright dangerous to our furry companions.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Illinois, pet poisonings from the increasingly popular Sago Palm are on the rise. A native of Southern Japan, the plant is a common addition to outdoor landscaping in sunny climes, and in recent years, has emerged as a trendy houseplant in northern states. Though attractive with its dark green leaves and hairy trunk, Sago Palm is highly toxic to cats and dogs. Common signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure.

Many pet parents may not be familiar with the toxic effects of Cycad Palms and assume only the seeds or nuts are poisonous—but all parts of the plant are toxic.

As always, pet parents should guard against any mishaps and place Sago Palm well out of the way of their animal companions. Or consider a non-toxic alternative—it will brighten your home and keep the dog days of summer cool and carefree.