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The Sago Palm: Beautiful and Deadly to Your Dog

A wildly popular plant found in the yards of southern states and warmer climates, the Sago Palm is potentially deadly to dogs (and cats!).

sago palm

The Pet Poison Helpline classifies the Sago Palm as severely toxic to dogs, causing symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, unusual accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, loss of appetite, jaundice, and black tarry stools.

While all parts of the Sago Palm are considered poisonous, the seeds are the most toxic.

Sago palm contains cycasin, which is the primary active toxic agent resulting in severe liver failure in dogs. Ingestion results in acute gastrointestinal signs (e.g., drooling, inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea) within 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion. Central nervous system signs (e.g., weakness, ataxia, seizures, tremors, etc.) and severe liver failure can be seen within 2-3 days post-ingestion.

Since many dog owners are unaware of the dangers of these plants, people have been known to take the long seed pods produced later in the year and use them as fetch toys for their dogs!

If your dog has ingested, or even licked or chewed on, any portion of a Sago Palm – especially this time of year, when the palms are producing new growth – call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680 immediately. Aggressive treatment will be required to save your dog’s life. Still, even with immediate treatment, only about 50% of cases of dogs poisoned by Sago Palm will survive.

If you have a Sago Palm in your yard, make sure your dog cannot access the plant, or remove it completely. Advise neighbors and friends with dogs or cats to do the same.

And, while you’re at it, check the safety of ALL the plants in your garden using this handy guide!




  1. stephen

    Nov 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    what can i do for my dog to help him pull throw this i lost one to this and i need to no what i can do to help my other one plz tell me

  2. Linda

    May 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I have a 1 ½ yr old lab/Rottweiler mix dog that ate/chewed on seeds, I went on the website found out about the plant and how poisonous it was, so I took my dog to the vet right away.. happy to say she is fine now the vet took an aggressive treatment to her and it helped. I recently found out that it happened again to two more dogs which did the same thing, and due to the results of my dog she also put them on this treatment and so for they are doing OK. so if you get your dog to the vet ASAP there is a chance for them..

    • stephen

      Nov 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      can we do anything at home to help him out

  3. Will

    Mar 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I just put my 5 year old Springer Spaniel to sleep because of these incredibly dangerous plants. If you have pets, please take my word and do not take the risk. We have had them in our yard one week and now I am without my truly great companion.

    • Maria

      Jun 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Why did u have her put to sleep? What was wrong with her? How long after she ate plant?
      Mine ate one and was put on liver medication and still frequently throw up and still not eating the same.

      • Stephanie

        May 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

        Can you tell me how long it took for your dog to recover

  4. Smita Dikshit

    Oct 12, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I was not aware of this as we have five of these potted palms which we call as Cycas in India. I have eight dogs at home who generally cut the leaves and play with them occasionally chewing them also. None of my dogs has died of liver failure but to be on the safe side will be removing these palms. can you please inform about a specific antidote since one of my dog has a sluggish liver (though liver function test has come out to be normal) so that I may ask my veterinarian to look up more literature and diagnostics.

  5. jeff

    Oct 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    they are just as deadly to people
    especially kids

  6. Trini

    Aug 13, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I guess these come out of the back.

  7. Lance

    May 31, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Thanks for the info, spreading the knowledge..

  8. Joy Rowe

    May 24, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I never knew that sago palms were toxic to dogs and cats, I will tell everyone I know that owns pets. Thaks for letting us know!

  9. Ally

    May 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

    i will spread the word to everybody!

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