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This Plant Will Kill Your Dog (and maybe your kids)

October 3rd, 2007 tony Leave a comment Go to comments

We were letting our dog play outside all day Sunday and upon checking on him found that he had yanked a small houseplant off of the deck and was chewing on the root of it. He chews on all kinds of plants in the yard and I thought of tossing it over the fence but figured he would just try to dig under to get it so unfortunately I let him keep it.

A couple hours later we let him in the house and he’s foaming yellow froth, drooling, and shaking. 20 minutes later we are in the emergency vet and are told the prognosis is not good and he’ll likely die.

The plant is called a Sago Palm and its highly poisonous to both pets and humans. A chemical in the plant called cycasin is toxic and often causes permanent liver damage as well as neurological damage if enough of the poison is absorbed by the body. The seeds are the most poisonous part of the plant and the effects on humans are seizures, coma and death.

Of course you and I wouldn’t just yank off a chunk of this plant and gnaw on it but the seeds are colorful so if you have kids and Sago palm in your yard educate them on the danger or get rid of the plant.

Fortunately our dog was one of the lucky ones. I later discovered that our dog vomited the plant in the yard soon after swallowing it, and after 2 days in the vet on IV, and having a ball of charcoal inserted in his stomach, a test revealed that his liver was recovering and he came home. Sadly few people are aware of how dangerous this plant, many have lost their dogs, and even many veterinarians are unaware. This plant doesn’t carry a warning label and is becoming popular in Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot so spread the word.

Best advice I’ve read: Don’t let your animal chew on any plants.

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  1. June 5th, 2008 at 22:53 | #1

    I really think you guys are a little hard on Erin. I don’t think we should start banning things just because people don’t keep an eye on there animals or kids.

    Sorry you guys were mean to Erin. Thats why we live in the USA because we
    have freedom of speech!!!!!

  2. June 12th, 2008 at 17:32 | #2

    Please inspect your yard for this toxic plant. Even if its not in your yard, nuts can be carried by squirrels from neighbors plants.I’m so sad to report that my Tulip didn’t make it. She fought really hard but we had to put her to sleep on Monday morning. We spent all day getting rid of the sago palms and still couldn’t find any seeds. We were so confused as to where she could of gotten them. Later that day our other dog, Bammer, was found chewing on a large one on the kitchen floor!!! Six of us searched the yard and found nuts lined up on our back fence from the squirrels.

    We rushed him to the hospital and they pumped his stomach and started the treatment. We were well aware of the consequences and the amount of money we would have to spend for him not to make it anyway. He is home with us but we have to watch for signs of liver and kidney failure. He seems OK but the affects of the poison can show up suddenly in a week or several months. THIS PLANT IS DEADLY. Even though he made it through the acute stages he will likely die in the near future.PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell everyone you know that SAGO PALM IS HIGHLY TOXIC!! It looks like a palm tree bush. EVERY part of the plant is poison. The seeds are the most concentrated. They can range in size depending on the plant. They have a bright red raisin like shell and the inside looks like a macadamia nut.

    Go to Google to see several images.

    Help me help others. Our animals are our family. Protect them.

  3. Betty
    June 13th, 2008 at 23:13 | #3

    i have been working at wal mart 11 years now and 9 of those are in the garden center and did not know about the sago palm i am so greatful for this info and i will be telling custermers and the danger it holds will not recommend to any that has children or pets i have 3 on my land and my daughter lives next door she has a cat and 2 dogs and a 5 year child and i think it is time to get rid of the palms one sago is next to her house and her child plays around it now i am worried she may get hurt by it thanks again

  4. Jillian
    June 23rd, 2008 at 18:18 | #4

    My 8 year old son wanted the “cool looking” tree from Home Depot. He has been helping us around the house and as a reward we bought the Sago Palm. This posting has been eye-opening to say the least! We have many children and pets. We will be exchanging this plant for a less threatening one. Thank you for the warning, I am a gardener who has taken college botany and still was uninformed regarding Sago Palm.

  5. Laura
    July 9th, 2008 at 19:50 | #5

    Even though it’s sad an animal could die from eating a certain plant,that does not mean we should “boycott” the plant as someone said. Plants are often endangered and need to be protected as well. Most animals know to avoid poisonous plants. Yes, it’s a good idea to keep your dogs away from certain plants, but to say we should encourage people not to plant something is ridiculous.

  6. Tom
    July 18th, 2008 at 14:39 | #6

    Erin, you are a buffoon.

  7. TJ
    July 21st, 2008 at 09:20 | #7

    I lost my dog last night due to a neighbor’s SAGO Palm. Even the leafs can caused a dog to die. I wish I had know about this before. Now, I know it can also kill children. So, I will definitely make sure my 4 & 6 year olds know about this. We will also research other plants and become aware of the dangers.

  8. J
    July 24th, 2008 at 12:29 | #8

    TJ…I lost my dog July 21st. It is worth sharing to add legitimacy to a not well known fact. I also share your sadness. j

  9. AK
    July 25th, 2008 at 16:53 | #9

    Dogs CAN MOST DEFINITELY be trained NOT to chew and bite things. Hire a professional dog trainer! I have two Boxer dogs, they don’t chew anything they aren’t supposed to…and I have two Sago Palms in the front yard.

    For those of you who want to ban these beautiful trees…you better get busy on these as well, here’s a list of poisonous plants to pets:


    Aloe Vera
    Apple (seeds)
    Apricot (pit)
    Asparagus Fern
    Autumn Crocus

    Bird of Paradise
    Black Locust
    Black Walnut
    Bleeding Heart
    Boston Ivy


    California Poppy
    Calla Lily
    Castor Bean
    Cherry (seeds, wilting leaves, and pit)
    Chinese Evergreen
    Christmas Rose
    Corn Plant
    Crown of Thorns
    Crown Vetch


    Devil’s Ivy
    Donkey Tail
    Dumb Cane
    Dutchman’s Breeches

    Easter Lily
    Elephant Ears
    English Ivy

    Fiddle-leaf Fig
    Florida Beauty
    Four O’Clock
    Fruit Salad Plant


    German Ivy

    Hurricane Plant



    Jack in the Pulpit
    Japanese Yew
    Jerusalem Cherry
    Jimson Weed


    Lamb’s quarter
    Lily of the Valley


    Marigold (Marsh Marigold)
    Mexican Breadfruit
    Morning Glory
    Mother-in-Law plant
    Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
    Mountain Laurel



    Oak Tree (buds and acorns)

    Peace Lily
    Peach (wilting leaves and pits)
    Pencil Tree
    Poison Ivy
    Poison Hemlock
    Poison Oak
    Poison Sumac
    Potato (all green parts)
    Precatory Bean


    Ribbon Cactus
    Rubber Tree

    Sago Palm
    Shamrock Plant
    Snake Plant
    Snow on the Mountain
    Star of Bethlehem
    Stinging Nettle
    Swiss Cheese Plant


    Taro Vine
    Tomato Plant (entire plant except ripe fruit)

    Umbrella Tree


    Water Hemlock
    Weeping Fig


  10. tony
    July 25th, 2008 at 20:55 | #10

    You have a Boxer. Not a Fox Terrier. You have no idea. Fox Terriers are great dogs and are intelligent and can be trained but they are also wild and crazy and if you put them in a lot with a new dog that has never been trained and is willing to get into everything, your professionally trained Fox Terrier will misbehave. Thanks for the lecture though. :(

  11. LM
    August 1st, 2008 at 09:37 | #11

    Here’s a list of plants poisonous to pets (listed above by AK) http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pro_apcc_toxicplants, check it yourself. I have a small dog, and have quite a few of these plants in my yard, luckily he really isn’t a chewer, but now that I know which ones are dangerous, I’ll be watching more closely. Oleander in particular is very popular here in Florida, and very poisonous with few symptoms until it’s too late.

  12. Concerned Citizen
    August 13th, 2008 at 14:50 | #12

    I have recently purchased a Sago Palm (beautiful Plant)and came upon this site. I must say all the bashing of Erin is probably due to the state of America today. Too many people want the Government to be our parents. It appears we as people cannot think for ourselves or check the status of a plant we buy if we have pets or children.

    I personnally do not want BIG Brother, take back control of your life, ask questions, educate yourselves.

    We must be active and participate not just try to eliminate everything out of fear or ignorance.

    Write your Council man about why the price of gas is so high and Exxon has posted the biggest profit of all time.

  13. tony
    August 14th, 2008 at 10:59 | #13

    The answer why the price of gas is so high does not lie with Exxon but with the supply and demand of oil in the world which is manipulated by the few that control the supply.

    Exxon posted a 7% profit. What is so evil about that? How much is too much profit for a business to earn? If we go down that path then your own salary is fair game for scrutiny and additional taxation. Don’t fall victim to class warfare.

  14. rebecca, RVT
    August 19th, 2008 at 18:45 | #14

    Tony and Erin, I appreciate your attempt to educate people of this toxic plant. To the negative, nasty idiots, I feel sorry for their pets. I have been an emergency veterinary tech for many years in Florida, and I can’t tell you how many dogs have died and have had to fight for their lives because of this plant. Please educate me how you teach a dog not to chew, especially a puppy, on something that tastes good? That would be a good trick. I suspect all the nasty jerks on this sight are uneducated, and have never been the one performing CPR on someone’s pet while the owner watched, cause that sago palm was on sale at Lowe’s. Not even my parents believed me until we rushed their 10 mo. old dog to my hospital. I treated him while enroute and 3 MONTHS later he was able to eat a solid meal again. Again, Tony and Erin thank you for your attempts, any real pet owner also appreciates your efforts. The rest of you can piss off.

  15. Lola’s Mom
    August 20th, 2008 at 23:48 | #15

    Response to: Concerned Citizen

    Individualism and profit concern many in today’s society. If we humans were more like dogs, we would have time to stop and explore the world. However, humans are experiencing information over load on this plant. I agree knowledge is power but sometimes we need waste time playing.

    My dog died because a bird brought the Sago nut onto my balcony, which is an uncontrollable variable. Either way, I glad she had a short life full of walks, chasing balls, surfing, smelling butts and love verse one in which she didn’t explore and embrace the world. In closing, I thank all the individuals, who have help brought about awareness on this issue.

  16. Jessie
    August 24th, 2008 at 00:06 | #16

    I think that they (people of the world) should do something about this plant or take it off the market.

  17. Mikimu
    September 10th, 2008 at 18:30 | #17

    I just purchased 2 of these plants from IKEA yesterday and came upon this article as I was searching for decorative ways to display them in my front yard. I did not know about the toxicity of this type of plant as there is no label anywhere on the plant stating this. I found this information to be very useful even though I don’t have small children or a dog.

    Thanks for posting the information!

  18. Ren
    September 26th, 2008 at 08:40 | #18

    Erin ajd Jessie, please go hide in a closet, and don’t come out till your IQ has risen about 100 points. Thank you.

  19. Cheryl
    October 4th, 2008 at 12:30 | #19

    We have several sagos (both male and female) in various sizes and are beautiful. We also have a 15 yr old lab and she does not bother the plants. I concur that being aware of what your plants are and if they are potentially a hazard to your pets or self is important– no need to be too wound up. Just sharing the info is good and let all decide for themselves. We all need to take more responsiblity for ourselves and not point elsewhere.

  20. RJJ
    October 15th, 2008 at 13:23 | #20

    Ok… yes the plant is toxic and can harm dogs and children.

    Should the plant be banned?… an emphatic NO!!!

    Each of us has a responsibility to know what we are bringing into our home…do your homework before buying plants or you shouldn’t buy them in the first place. We need to take responsibility for our own actions. If I put a sago palm in my yard or home and my dog or child gets sick because of it thats is my own fault not the plant’s. By that same token if I have a sago in my yard and your dog gets into it then it’s your fault as the your dog shouldn’t have been in my yard in the first place.

    We all need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our own actions

  21. Donna
    October 16th, 2008 at 00:11 | #21

    First, to the person who posted this blog….sorry this accident happened and very glad your doggie survived! I think if this happened to my pup, I’d feel like the plant should be banned too, but that would be my emotions talking, not my brain.
    I think a warning label would be a prudent and helpful thing so people could make informed choices. I think it’s a good idea to put labels on as many dangerous goods as possible…..to try to get the information to the people.

    However, the unpredictable does happen sometimes and it is tragic.

    How dare any of those here who did so…..blame the dog’s owner and lecture anyone about being responsible (try to shame and lay guilt on this person)!!!

    YOU must be perfect (you shamer/blame layers)!! I get it! You’re the type(s) accidents DON’T happen to eh? YOU will do BETTER by your pets and children, right?

    Ya right.

    I’m glad this person bothered to share what happened to help the rest of us be more careful but the bottom line is:

    Stuff happens sometimes. Please forgive yourself (and be glad you’re human and capable of imperfection, unlike some who think of themselves as above you. Nacissistic is so very unbecoming eh?)

  22. Susan in Houston [Susan Linnstaedter]
    October 20th, 2008 at 20:52 | #22

    We’ve had 2 sago palms on either side of our front steps since we moved into this house 25 years ago, but it’s only now that I have noticed strange red things in the middle of one. With Hurricane Ike last month, one of these was apparently blown across the steps and into the other plant where I could grab it. This sent me into a Google search on sago palms and to your blog.

    I now know more about sago palms than I would have believed. Apparently I have one male and one female plant. This is the first time the female has shown seeds, although the male has sent up several cones over the years.

    When they were planted they were much larger than houseplants, would have been very difficult to pull up and had very prickly leaves that kept people and animals at bay. Now their trunks are about 4 feet tall and thus leaves and seeds are mostly out of reach.

    Nevertheless, I’m going to make sure that as the seeds loosen, they are picked and disposed of safely. I have 2 chihuahuas who just might find them interesting.

    Thanks so much for the warning!

  23. Judie
    October 31st, 2008 at 13:10 | #23

    My two year-old German Shepherd has gnawed on these since he was 6-weeks old and did not vomit or ever act sick. His sister did the same. The male is now very ill and has cardiomyapathy and liver failure-the female has no symtoms. We are afraid that we will loose him.

  24. laura
    November 2nd, 2008 at 22:53 | #24

    Lola’s Mom…..best post ever!

    “Response to: Concerned Citizen

    Individualism and profit concern many in today’s society. If we humans were more like dogs, we would have time to stop and explore the world. However, humans are experiencing information over load on this plant. I agree knowledge is power but sometimes we need waste time playing.

    My dog died because a bird brought the Sago nut onto my balcony, which is an uncontrollable variable. Either way, I glad she had a short life full of walks, chasing balls, surfing, smelling butts and love verse one in which she didn’t explore and embrace the world. In closing, I thank all the individuals, who have help brought about awareness on this issue.”

  25. Mike
    November 3rd, 2008 at 18:13 | #25

    It’s no wonder America is in the state it is in when you read some of the hateful messages on this blog. The original blogger did a wonderful thing by warning people about this plant and suggesting it carry warnings. Apparently America believes in freedom of speed, that also extends to calling people idiots etc when you don’t agree with them. Soon China and Europe will leave you as a crime-ridden backwater. Enjoy it when it happens. You’ve deserved it.

  26. Laura
    November 4th, 2008 at 13:45 | #26

    This is for Richard and the other Sago Fanatics:


    Get a clue and a soul!!

  27. Robin
    November 21st, 2008 at 22:16 | #27

    My little dachshund of 3 months ate some seeds this morning at 10 am. I had about 20 seeds we were going to plant around the house. About an hour ago he passed away at the vets.
    I have a 2 year old dachshund going through the treatment now. Hopefully she didnt eat the seeds. The seeds are very lethal, this is true unfortunatley. I miss my little Frankie so much already.

  28. tony
    November 23rd, 2008 at 14:28 | #28

    Robin I’m so sorry to hear about Frankie.

  29. Julie
    December 10th, 2008 at 13:53 | #29

    Robin, I am so sorry to hear about Frankie. I hope your 2yr old is recovering. We just lost our little 10 month old female mini dachshund to the Sago Palm as well. The plant was low to the ground and I never dreamed she would get in there a pluck out the fruit. We immediately took her to the ER and she stayed in the hospital for two weeks on IV fluids, etc. and they even inserted an NG tube to get nutrition into her. But the toxin continued to damage her liver to the point that the vet told us that there was no hope. So we had to make the decision to put her down last Monday. We miss her so much. She was a very special little girl. My condolences to you and prayers that your female recovers from this horribly toxic plant.

    By the way, I know there are many “poisonous” plants out there, but the Sago is fatally toxic. Very few animals survive it’s effects, even with immediate treatment. It’s horrible! And very very few people understand this — it doesn’t just make the animal sick and nauseated, etc. It’s a seriously dangerous plant. Actually the specialist we had her with said that about 5% of dogs who ingest any part of the Sago plant survive. Many leave the hospital and go home for a while, just to return within months with irreversible liver failure.

  30. Julie
    December 10th, 2008 at 15:43 | #30

    For all of you that have lost your beloved pets to this nasty, nasty plant, my heart goes out to you. We recently lost our 10 month old mini dachshund “Razr” to the Sago. It was a horrible experience. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks, but was losing the battle and we had to make the decision to put her down Monday a week ago. She was our little sweetheart. I wish I would have come across this page a few weeks earlier.

    Julie in Houston

  31. Julie
    December 10th, 2008 at 15:51 | #31

    Nate, educate yourself. Poinsettias are not dangerous to pets, and certainly not lethal.

  32. Lola’s mom Meta
    January 6th, 2009 at 12:39 | #32

    Robin and Julie,
    First, I want to say my heart goes out to you Robin for the loss of your little Frankie and Julie your loss of your beloved Razr. Second, I lost my little girl to the Sago too but I cannot understand your losses for these little or big fur balls are full of amazing gifts. These gifts differ from person to person. It is my opinion that these angels on earth have insight greater than humans. Ironically, I believe that their insight is simplistic for it is solely based in unconditional love or unconditional positive regard. It is also my opinion that only those who have been touched by the gift unconditional love can fully appreciate these angels. Therefore, I have learned to forgive the naivety and sometimes mean spirited comments I have seen on this page. Since I suspect, they have been written by those, who have not been touched by such beautiful, inspiring, warm and compassionate love.

    I still cry occasional and miss my little angel but I am thankful that she was in my life for she reminded me to live each day to fullest and cherish the world, even those we do not understand. The following statement is probably too much information but here I go anyway. Since my parents died, I lost sight of the feeling of unconditional love but my little red-nose, stinky-butt, bent-ear Lola reminds me of its beauty. What a wonderful gift!

    In closing, my sympathy for your losses and no words cannot lighten the saddest that you ladies feel. Nonetheless, I hope that the spirit of unconditional love brought by these angels help you find a hopefully peace. And to Lola and all her furry friends, THANK YOU!

  33. Bob
    January 8th, 2009 at 21:01 | #33

    Your all dumb(except a few). we get the point of the plant. i have 2 horses and they know about not chewing on toxic plants and there not as smart as dogs(according to scientist even though i believe they have more common sence).erin you made my day with your stupidity.:)jk not really. have a nice day everyone

  34. Kate
    January 21st, 2009 at 15:28 | #34

    rebecca RVT….thank you for your comment….when I first started reading some of these posts I was getting pretty upset. When I realized what killed my 5 year old lab, my emotions were running so high I would have completely agreed with the post saying we should ban these plants. Anyone who has lost their pet this way can sympathize with that sentiment. However, it has been a little over a year now since losing Ashley, and I know banning these plants is not practical nor is it necessary. There are many evils in this world and you can’t protect your loved ones from everything…though not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could have protected my little girl. No, banning is not the answer…the answer is to do your best to inform those around you. In addition to the word of mouth, I feel it is also the nursery’s responsibility to inform their clients of these potential toxic plants. I went to my local nursery and was very clear that I know nothing about gardening but wanted an easy-to-manage plant to put in my backyard so that my Grandma with Alzheimers could have something to look at as she would sit out there all day long. I remember even telling him how cool it was to watch my Grandma interact with my dogs as he was interested in her disease and how it affected me. He knew I had dogs, yet he picked the sago palm. Though this might be an isolated incidence of ignorance on the nursery owner’s part, I cannot help but feel angry that I was not given some warning regarding the Sago Palm. Though I am unsure how to go about getting warning labels put on these plants, I continue to make those around me aware of Ashley’s story. I tell them of the day I lost my best friend.

  35. Jessica
    January 25th, 2009 at 00:11 | #35

    I know of two little yorkies that are now fighting for their lives because of the Sego pine. I do believe there should be a warning on this plant. Many plants are considered poisonous, but most not to the extreme that the Sego pine is. Thank you so much for the important information and for those of you who come on here with your snide and stupid remarks…shame on you. My heart goes out to those who have lost a precious pet.

  36. Lisa
    February 3rd, 2009 at 02:58 | #36

    I’m sorry to hear about people’s dogs suffering or dying after eating this plant. I did already know that this plant is poisonous, but houseplants are a hobby of mine, so I had done some reading.

    It’s hard to know everything, and while I was waiting for my kids to be born, I found out about some hazards I never would have imagined. Honey can make babies under one year old sick – I would not have guessed that by myself. It kind of freaked me out and I wondered what other dangers there might be that I didn’t know about. I try to inform myself and use some common sense rules (don’t eat the houseplants, don’t get into a car with a stranger, etc.) Vigilance is essential, but I don’t assume it prevents all problems.

    My kids are now old enough that I would be amazed if they started eating the houseplants, so I was thinking of getting a sago palm. After reading Tony’s story and the others about how sick this can make your dog (and presumably a person), I think I won’t tempt fate.

    I also wanted to thank people who mentioned (a year and more ago now) Peterson’s Guide to Poisonous Plants, Dale Pendall, and http://www.squidoo.com/PoisonousPlants/ I will look into these for more information.

  37. February 11th, 2009 at 13:21 | #37

    My nine year old dog/lab who has been exposed to alot of stuff in her lifetime is suddenly deathly ill, been on IV for several days and I’ve spent a couple thousand so far. I had never heard of this until the Vet told me. For all those who left insensitive messages about this….all we are saying is that the plant retailers need to put a warning on the plant so that people will know. We’re not saying to ban the plant, just let people know so they can take precautions!

  38. Julie
    February 19th, 2009 at 12:26 | #38

    “Your all dumb(except a few). we get the point of the plant. i have 2 horses and they know about not chewing on toxic plants and there not as smart as dogs(according to scientist even though i believe they have more common sence).”

    Bob, You’re an absolute idiot. Did you teach your horses the dangers of consuming toxic plants? HA!

    I too lost my 10 month old mini dachshund to the sago palm. It was the most horrible thing to witness. We tried to save her, and for two weeks she fought for her life. But she had eaten the seed, which apparently is the most toxic.

    My heart goes out to all of you that have lost their pets. The plant is so extremely toxic, I believe nurseries should warn of the dangers too. I share Razr’s story to others as well. Especially those with pets and small children.

  39. Dylan
    March 17th, 2009 at 21:24 | #39

    Gosh, I’m very sorry to all those who lost their dogs.
    As for those who think that boycotting the plant is a good solution, well, sorry for the bashing that you are taking. This blog is interesting, and it is a sorry thing that anyone might lose their beloved pet. While boycotting a plant when there are so many other things to be banned (not saying that this isn’t a serious complication), or wasting your time being rude to others who are simply taking advantage of their freedom of speech might not be the most productive things to do, perhaps we should spend our precious time bringing awareness to others about this deadly plant.

    Thanks for posting this Tony, and really, sorry for those who are rude to you when you are just trying to correct the problem that almost killed your dog.

    As a side note, sarcasm isn’t outdated, but it can be used nastily. :)

  40. LoneStarAsh
    March 21st, 2009 at 19:07 | #40

    I didn’t read all the responses…enough to know that some people do indeed want a nanny state…some people are cruel and call names…and most can’t spell. It is up to the individual to acquaint themselves with possible problems of things that they bring into their own environment and I’m not sure that it is practical to have warnings on everything that is harmful because almost anything can become toxic given a high enough dose. Orange oil is a wonderful organic concoction to kill ants with but it becomes an explosive if concentrated enough. Let’s just all be adults…and take resposibility.

  41. jomomocomo
    March 29th, 2009 at 11:11 | #41

    A simple solution to this problem is not to go all out and ban sago palms, that is a little extreme, they are a valuable landscaping tool, we happened to have 6 car sized sagos around our house, which were here before we purchased the house, we also have 3 dogs, so I am always vigilant, picking up the seeds as they fall. The solution is for places selling them to have a warning label attatched, like a poisonous skull guy with cross bones, that way the consumer can make an informed decision.

  42. CR
    April 11th, 2009 at 14:16 | #42

    This morning I read an article in the Los Angeles Times (4-11-09, Home Section, pg E4) that highlighted some dangerous plants. The article mentioned Sago Palms so I went straight to my computer to look it up as one of my cats has been chewing on the leaves of my indoor palm. I was relieved to find out it isn’t a Sago. In my search I found this blog. Thought you all might be interested in the book highlighted in the article, “Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities” by Amy Stewart.

    And my condolences to all who have lost pets. My little boy Newton was sick in January with a persistent infection in his chest cavity. He cheated death after over two weeks in the hospital. We have no idea what made him so sick. He is doing great now.

  43. Steve
    April 15th, 2009 at 12:51 | #43

    We had almost the exact experience when our Boston Terrier ate one of the red “fruit” from a sago. She threw it up about an hour later, then just kept throwing up every 30 minutes or so. We took her to the E.R., she spend one night in the E.R., then 2 days on I.V. at the vet, and about $1500 later she survived, but it was quite an experience. Like you said, it’s usually fatal for the dog.

  44. Marcus
    April 25th, 2009 at 20:31 | #44

    I just brought home a $28 dollar plant because it looked great in the store. Before planting it I Googled it only to find this site. Thank you to all of you who bothered to warn me of this plant, I wish my store had been as considerate.
    I agree banning the plant is not necessary, but proper labeling would have saved me $28 or another trip back to the store. Most dangerous products are well labeled and I thought I knew most poisonous house plants. Sago Palm was in my ignorance zone until this search.
    My little dog Chloe has been trained not to chew on plants, but I’m a long time pet owner and school teacher.

    Those of you who think you can reliably train a dog or a child not to do dangerous things are amazingly naive and inexperienced. I see my kids at school doing, eating and drinking dangerous things all the time, and they are in high school. I remember watching a Sam Donaldson news program years ago where assorted young children both with and without gun safety training were told there was a gun in the closet and they should stay away from it. Hidden cameras revealed that every single child climbed up into the closet to play with the gun. The child safety training the gun owning parents did with their kids had absolutely no effect. I don’t think my dog is any brighter than most young children.

    Also as a teacher, I believe sarcasm is a lazy and mean type of humor, especially when directed at people who lost or almost lost family members. We adults can and should be able to disagree without insults or mean undertones.

  45. Vince
    April 26th, 2009 at 12:19 | #45

    I think people are entitled to an informed decision about Sago Palm Plants. There should be a 2 pronged approach to this reoccurring and avoidable problem. Firstly, get our Vets to post the ASPCA’s 17 most dangerous plants. If this is done in a poster form (with plant photos and risks), pet owners would be warned as they bring their pets in for their annual check-up. I believe Vets would not oppose this, because they want the best for our pets.

    Secondly, ask our lawmakers to come up with a Model Ordinance (a law free of flaws). The mandate of putting these posters out in the open where Sagos and the other 16 dangerous plants are sold would be great. Putting warning labels on each plant would be too hard to police. Ideally, the laws would start at the bottom where cities and towns would be the first to draft these model ordinances.

    The key is to just give pet owners an even break. Unfortunately, we live in a money driven society. There would probably be opposition from the retailers and growers. Something has to be done. There has already been too much suffering of pets and their owners!

  46. justmehk
    May 2nd, 2009 at 03:14 | #46

    Imagine when the cave women were out picking berries. Trial and error. It doesn’t hurt to spread the word about these things. But then again, we’re in the twenty-first century and there are still stupid people who feed their chihuahuas beer.

  47. Noel’s Owner
    May 3rd, 2009 at 18:47 | #47

    I just want to thank whomever thought to post this. My dog also ate the plant, the leaves only, and got extremely sick. I spent 2 hours at the vet (she spent 2 days) and 700 dollars later, I think she is going to be fine. If it were not for your article, I probably would have lost my “best friend” and my 3 year old son’s companion. Thanks again

  48. Katie
    May 8th, 2009 at 23:46 | #48

    i just moved to florida from california because of family..i had no idea it was poisonous..i have a 8 month old pug… skittles. shes trained fairly well.. but sometimes a puppy will be a puppy people.. i would be devastated if this happened to her.. i thank tony.. not point out the flaws or mistakes in this.

    i was just looking up the plant on the internet and found this. its making a big cone in the center and being from a small town in california.. i have NO idea what it is. and i know a LOT of plants are threatening to our pets..

    i just dont see why people need to be so rude?? i thought that it was helpful.. i have 9 or 10 of these palms, azaleas, and a bunch of other plants growing OUTSIDE..

    luckily my baby dog hasnt chewed on this or any other plant..
    i feel so much for the people who lost their loved pets.. as some of these postings made me cry.. i love dogs and want to be a vet someday (im in college)

    however some of the comments were extremely rude and unnecessary.. why say something to put down someone who has just spoke their mind.

    i mean come on.. im sure erin knows they wont ban the plant.. but didnt know that so many rude people use the internet and feel the need to made stupid comments such as “wack job or idiot” and much more..

    posting an entire list A-Z?? trained horses? the perfect pet? take responsibility?? too much..come on.. accidents happen to EVERYONE.. sarcasm can be so nasty.. its easy to say mean things when no one knows who you are.. whoever you are.. think about youre precious pet dying from something you have no idea about… are not familiar with.. or didnt think about.. (because we all make mistakes) how do you feel? and dont respond to this and say “i have the common sense to teach my kid/pet not to eat that” because it happens to everyone and its reality. face it and quit being rude.

    if you have nothing nice to say.. dont say anything. just dont be rude and tell the person who posted this they should control a puppy! and have you thought of the people who cant afford to put their pets through PROFESSIONAL TRAINING??? be realistic. not everyone is rich. especially not me.. the 19 year old college student training her puppy good ‘ol way.

    he eats random things all the time.
    grapes, which are supposed to be poisonous, are his favorite.. he ate bunch after bunch at our california home. he was fine. so much for that. it depends on the dog if you ask me..

    oh and last year around christmas.. my families 4 year old chesapeake bay retreiver, Gunner got salmon poisoning. we have a fenced yard, and he no access to it. we had no idea why he wasnt eating..losing weight and being violent. after a midnight trip to the 24 hour emergency room up in oregon.. numerous IVs, pills, discomfort and about $1400.00 (we arent rich at all.. that hurt the wallet) he lived. he is a very strong stubborn dog, but this was serious and we almost lost him. we did home IVs and i did them myself.. now i want to be a vet and help all animals who get sick. i love my dogs and would do anything for them..
    a hateful neighbor threw it over the fence because they didnt like us for some reason and knew that he would eat it. he eats everything.
    TELL ME THATS BEING IRRESPONSIBLE? it was like i was losing a brother, hope you never have to feel that way.ever.

    and seriously.. look at the dates on these comments. put your “im never wrong and know everything and youre just a wackjob” attitude aside and stop making comments about erin and grow up.

    i am so sorry about your lost pets

  49. Chiwawamomma
    May 11th, 2009 at 17:24 | #49

    I have a 4 year old Chihuahua, weighed 14 lbs and has dropped to 10 lbs. She ate the Sago Plant, sead and all about 3 weeks ago. She was doing good, but doesn’t want to keep her food down, she keeps throwing up, she is back at the Vet, they are running more test on her to see if her stomach is blocked. She doesn’t seem to be in pain and is always wagging her tail. We are hoping for the best, so please pray for Gidget.


  50. jc
    May 14th, 2009 at 15:57 | #50

    I am 42 years old and very strong bodied. While pruning one of the 7 sago palm I have in my yard, my knuckle touched a sharp barb at the base of the plant. Immediately I felt a sharp traveling pain go into my finger and through my hand. It took me 15 minutes to shake off the pain. 2 days later the pain was so severe I was shaking and crying. No blood was drawn and no obvious puncture was visible but the doctor said I must have gotten an infection of some sort from it. After 3 days on antibiotics I returned to the doctor in worse condition. After a second opinion from another doctor, it was decided that this was an envenomation not an infection and was immediately placed on steriod treatment. This is no joke, it is the same as a snake bite or orther poisonous insect. Liver damage, neurological problems and in some cases respiratory failure and cardiac arrest can occur. Injsetion is not the only way to be injured by this plant.

    I love my sago plants and have no plans to remove them. But I know now how to be safe around them. Education is always the best plan.

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