Dogs are naturally inquisitive and are well known for eating things they shouldn’t! But what if your dog has eaten your sago palm? Let’s look at whether its plant is safe for dogs and what you should do if your pet has eaten any.
Dr. Rebecca MacMillan
Last Updated: August 1, 2022 | 6 min read
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A sago palm isn’t actually a palm tree but a low-growing plant known as a cycad. These tropical plants are native to warm parts of Japan and China, with many people keeping them as a houseplant in the US. It can also be found outdoors in other warm climates, including USDA zones 9 to 11 like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.
The plant has long, tough, green, spikey leaves which grow out of a short trunk. This plant is very slow-growing and may only reach 2 or 3 feet after several years. Unfortunately, this means they are often the perfect height for your pet to have a nibble on.
But is the plant a danger to your dog if they eat it? Let’s learn what signs and symptoms to look for and how to treat a dog who has recently digested this palmy, poisonous plant.
Is Sago Palm Toxic To Dogs? What Parts Are Poisonous To Dogs?
While there are many poisonous plants for dogs, the ASPCA lists the sago palm as being among the most toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. This type of palm contains cycasin which can cause liver failure and is thought to be the plant’s primary toxic mechanism. According to the pet poison helpline, all parts of the sago plant are toxic, but seeds (nuts) are the most concentrated and dangerous.
What Happens If A Dog Eats A Sago Palm?
If your dog eats it, he could develop the following symptoms –
- Abdominal pain
- Fluid in the abdomen
Initial symptoms can start within 15 mins to several hours after your dog eats the plant. They usually develop gastrointestinal upset first with drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Symptoms then progress over a couple of days, with animals developing central nervous system problem signs. Your dog may start tremoring, twitching, and even seizures, with liver failure very common. Your dog may start to have blood clotting issues and show signs of internal bleeding, generally noticed in dark sticky tar-like stools (melena).
My Dog Ate A Sago Palm. What Should I Do?
- Remove your dog from the area to stop them from eating any more.
- Try and limit the amount your dog eats by removing them from the area as soon as possible. Clean up any shredded plants to stop him from coming back to eat more. Try and establish how much of the plant he may have consumed so you can tell your vet.
- Check to see if your dog is okay. The onset of symptoms can be variable, and some dogs can develop acute stomach upset and start drooling and vomiting within 15 minutes of eating the plant. Others may take a few hours before they show problems.
- Contact your vet right away! Even if your dog seems okay and is currently asymptomatic, you must call your vet. Prompt treatment gives your dog the best possible chance of survival, so don’t waste time and contact your local veterinary hospital.
- Follow your veterinarian’s advice. If your vet tells you to come into the clinic, then make sure you do so as quickly as possible. Follow their advice regarding treatment plans, as it could save your dog’s life.
Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs: Treatment
Sadly there is no specific antidote or cure for consumption in dogs. Any treatment provided is usually aimed at relieving your dog’s symptoms and trying to stop further damage from occurring through decontamination.
The veterinarian will examine your dog’s mental status, heart rate, and abdomen for bloating and discomfort, amongst other things.
They may advise running additional tests, such as a blood panel to check their hematology for signs of infection or anemia and biochemistry to assess their liver, kidneys, and blood sugar. This blood work may be repeated over the coming days, in particular, to keep an eye on your dog’s liver parameters. If these are increasing, it could indicate damage is occurring.
Your vet may be able to give your dog an emetic which is a medication that makes them vomit. This is only effective if your dog visits the vet within an hour or two of having eaten the plants, so hence it is important to get your dog to your vet immediately. If the induction of vomiting is unsuccessful or your vet has concerns about any plant material remaining in your dog’s stomach, then they could recommend a gastric lavage. This involves anesthetizing your pet so that they can flush the stomach out with copious amounts of sterile saline to remove any bits of the plant.
Your dog will usually be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluid therapy, which helps maintain his hydration status and blood pressure, as well as support his liver. If your dog is having seizures or problems with blood clotting, he may require medications to counteract these.
Despite your vets’ best efforts, some dogs still die from sago palm poisoning. It’s been estimated that around half of dogs either pass away or need to be euthanized on welfare grounds if aggressive treatment is unsuccessful.
Why Is My Dog Eating My House Plants?
A lack of mental stimulation could cause dogs to showdestructive behaviorsas a way of alleviating their boredom or perhaps as a way of seeking your attention (albeit negative attention). This could result in them pulling out and chewing at your possessions, including your house plants. Some dogs also destroy household items due to separation anxiety.
Young dogs and puppies are usually just curious and explore the world through their mouths, resultingin chewing and eating things that they shouldn’t.
Try increasing your dog’s exercise regime to help keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. Exercise is a good way of burning off energy but just going out and giving them a change of scenery with new smells and sights is important. Giving your pet lots of good quality attention can be helpful, too, through grooming and play. Brain games can also be helpful to ramp up healthy mental fatigue.
Certain medical conditions can cause dogs to eat non-food items. Pica is where dogs eat non-food items, which could be plants or other items like soil, bedding, stones, etc. Ensure your dog is on a high-quality, complete-balanced pet food diet to ensure there are no underlying nutritional deficiencies.
Speak to your veterinarian, especially if your dog is showing any other abnormal symptoms. Polyphagia, or a general increase in appetite, can be seen with a variety of medical disorders. This can drive your pet to eat everything and anything! Your vet will examine your dog and discuss whether further tests are required.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating My Plants?
If your dog is generally showing an unhealthy interest in your plants, you should try and discourage this. Remove any toxic plants from your home to stop accidentswhile you implement training methods. This is particularly important if you have an inquisitive puppy that enjoys chewing things.
Training your dog to stay away from your plants is a good way of preventing problems. Using positive reinforcement, such as clicker training, work on his recall such that if he is approaching your plants, you can call him away from them again with ease.
Some dogs will destroy possessions when you are out of the house, which could be a symptom of separation anxiety. Calming pheromones may be useful and can be purchased to help support your pet’s anxiety. You can also work to train your dog to feel comfortable with being left for short periods at a time initially before building this up. A behaviorist or dog trainer may be able to assist you if you are struggling with your dog’s behavior.
Increasing your dog’s exercise and providing toys and games to improve their mental stimulation can also help reduce destructive behaviors, as a tired dog is a happy and less destructive dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Sago Palm Tree Poisonous To Dogs?
Yes, the tree is extremely poisonous to dogs. You must seek veterinary attention if your dog eats any part of this plant. Even with prompt and aggressive treatment, about half of dogs will die after eating sago palm, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Sago Palm?
If you suspect your dog has eaten any, contact your local veterinary hospital right away. Follow your vet’s advice regarding treatment, as it will give your dog the best chance of survival, even if your dog currently seems okay. Symptoms can take a few hours to days to fully establish.
How Many Sago Palm Seeds Will Kill A Dog?
All parts of the plant are toxic to dogs, but the seeds are particularly concentrated. One or two seeds could be enough to be fatal in a medium-sized dog. If your dog eats any seeds at all, it’s always best to get them checked out by a vet as soon as possible.
Sago palms are extremely toxic to dogs, so you should discourage your dog from eating them and ideally not keep them in the house at all if you have pets. If your dog has accidentally eaten one or part of these plants, then you should contact your vet immediately for advice and treatment.
If your pet is showing an unhealthy interest in plants, you should look to improve their mental stimulation and implement a training regime to work on their behavior and avoid dangerous accidents from happening.
The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.
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Can dogs recover from sago palm poisoning? ›
While sago palm poisoning is a very serious condition, pets that are given emergency treatment can make a full recovery. Dogs recovering from sago palm poisoning may be monitored overnight or for several days by a veterinarian.What do I do if my dog ate sago palm? ›
If you believe your pet has ingested sago palm, it is important to call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline, a 24/7 animal poison control center, at 1-800-213-6680 right away to have the risk of poisoning assessed.Can dogs survive sago palm? ›
Toxicity to pets
All parts of sago palm are considered poisonous, with the seeds (nuts) being the most toxic part of the plant. Sago palm contains cycasin, which is the primary active toxic agent resulting in severe liver failure in dogs.
The entire plant is toxic (this includes the seeds and fronds), so it's best not to keep these around pets if possible. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested the plant. Some clinical signs of Sago Palm toxicity to watch out for: Vomiting.How can I treat my dog's diarrhea at home? ›
A bland diet for 24 to 48 hours may help to resolve your pup's issue. Plain-cooked white rice with a little chicken and some canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) may help to make your pup's tummy feel better. Once your pooch feels better, gradually reintroduce their regular food.What's the best food to give a dog with Diarrhoea? ›
- Plain Rice. Plain rice is one of the best foods you can feed a dog with diarrhoea. ...
- Simple, Lean Protein (Eg. Plain Chicken) ...
- Potatoes (Either Plain/White or Sweet) ...
- Pumpkin. ...
- Porridge Oats. ...
- Carrots. ...
- Specially-Formulated Dog Foods.
Unfortunately, dogs, in particular, seem to find these plants very attractive and tasty, and sago palm poisoning in dogs is very common.How toxic is sago palm? ›
All parts of the plant are toxic; however, the seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin which causes gastrointestinal irritation, and in high enough doses, leads to liver failure. Other toxins include Betamethylamino L-alanine, and a neurotoxic amino acid.Are dogs allergic to sago palms? ›
Sago Palm Toxicity. Dogs are known to chew on and eat plants, and sometimes they unwittingly eat plants that have toxic properties to them. Sago palms are one of these plants. The leaves from the sago palm can cause severe damage to the liver and potentially death when they are ingested by dogs.Are male sago palms poisonous? ›
Contrary to popular belief, all parts of both male and female plants are toxic, with the seeds being the most lethal component of the sago palm.
What happens if my dog eats palm tree seeds? ›
The plant is poisonous to humans and animals, but dogs are most likely to ingest the toxic seeds and nuts. If you suspect your dog has eaten any amount of this plant, get medical help immediately, because death can occur within hours of ingestion.Why does my dog eat palm leaves? ›
The condition wherein dogs are compelled to eat non-edible items is known as pica, and it may be an indicator of underlying issues. Eating leaves may be a part of your dog's primal instincts, but the behavior could also be a sign of other medical issues, nutritional deficiencies, or even boredom.What is a sago palm look like? ›
The sago palm may look like a tiny palm tree with its glossy, stiff fronds, but it is not a palm tree at all. Sago palms are cycads, one of the most ancient of plants that has been around since prehistoric times. As a houseplant, it is easy to grow indoors, but be very careful because the sago palm is poisonous.How do you remove sago palms? ›
Pull Out the Sago Palm
When the roots are rotting and the tree is unstable, hooking the trunk up to a winch at the end of a truck may work to pull it out. You may have to attack the roots by hand, but doing so every couple of days should remove the remnants of the tree.
Yes they are poisonous (though not nearly as poisonous as something like an Oleander, Azaleas, Yew, Castor Bean, China Berry or even a Coral Tree).What soothes a dog's stomach and helps with diarrhea? ›
- Plain, canned pumpkin.
- Plain, unsweetened yogurt.
- Sweet potatoes.
Pepto-Bismol Dosage For Dogs: The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds, according to Dr. Klein. It can be offered to the dog every 6-to-8 hours, but if your dog still has diarrhea after a few doses, stop the medication and call your veterinarian.What stops diarrhea fast? ›
A diet known as BRAT may also quickly relieve diarrhea. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet is effective due to the bland nature of these foods, and the fact that they're starchy, low-fiber foods. These foods have a binding effect in the digestive tract to make stools bulkier.Do bananas help a dogs upset stomach? ›
Bananas are a gentle food for your pooch. This means they're great for calming a dog's stomach, along with sweet potatoes and oatmeal. If your dog has chronic upset stomach or just isn't feeling well, mash up a little banana into his regular meal to help his tummy settle.Does pasta stop diarrhea in dogs? ›
The perfect dog food to treat diarrhea includes a mix of: Boiled white potato or mashed potato (no milk or butter) Baked or boiled sweet potato, without skin. Boiled white rice, pasta, or millet.
What medicine can I give my dog for diarrhea? ›
Loperamide (Imodium®). This medication is a good treatment for diarrhea in a pinch and should be safe for your dog if dosed at 1 mg per 20 pounds of body weight. Only give one dose. If the diarrhea does not resolve, contact your veterinarian.Are sago palms poisonous to touch? ›
Please note that the Sago Palm is toxic to humans and animals, so keep well out of reach of children and pets. Wear gloves when working closely with your Sago and wash your hands after touching the plant.Which palm trees are toxic to dogs? ›
As it turns out, Sago Palm Trees are toxic to pets! They can cause serious issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, Jaundice, lethargy, black-tarry stool, and more! Even when pet poisoning by the Sago Palm is treated by a veterinarian, only about half of pets survive.Are all palms poisonous to dogs? ›
Luckily for those with both palm trees and pets, the leaves of a true palm are not considered poisonous to domestic animals. However, the popular sago palm (Cycas revoluta), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10, is extremely poisonous.What are the red balls on a sago palm? ›
Just recently, a red round ball appeared in the middle. What should I do with these? Reply: That is the "flower" of the cycad (or sago palm), and because it's effectively the female flower, it will soon produce seeds the size of large marbles.Are sago palms edible? ›
Toxicity. Sago palm is known to be poisonous and sago separation includes careful processes to remove these toxins, before they are edible. Intake of sago before proper processing to remove toxins can cause vomiting, liver damage, and even death.Can a dog get sick from sniffing a sago palm? ›
Unfortunately, this plant, which is found in many yards in states like Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, can be deadly to dogs. The sago palm produces three different toxins: cycasin, beta-methylamino-L-alanine, and a third, unidentified toxin.Can a dog have too much activated charcoal? ›
Potential side effects of activated charcoal in dogs include: Hypernatremia (excessively high sodium in the blood) Aspiration, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Vomiting.Is a dead sago palm still poisonous? ›
Yes they are poisonous (though not nearly as poisonous as something like an Oleander, Azaleas, Yew, Castor Bean, China Berry or even a Coral Tree).What happens if my dog eats palm tree seeds? ›
The plant is poisonous to humans and animals, but dogs are most likely to ingest the toxic seeds and nuts. If you suspect your dog has eaten any amount of this plant, get medical help immediately, because death can occur within hours of ingestion.
Is sago palm poisonous to touch? ›
Is It Dangerous To Touch Sago Cycads? There is no indication that it is dangerous to touch this plant, but caution is always wise. Wear gloves, eye protection, and long sleeves when handling.Can a dog have too much activated charcoal? ›
Potential side effects of activated charcoal in dogs include: Hypernatremia (excessively high sodium in the blood) Aspiration, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Vomiting.Why does my dog eat palm leaves? ›
The condition wherein dogs are compelled to eat non-edible items is known as pica, and it may be an indicator of underlying issues. Eating leaves may be a part of your dog's primal instincts, but the behavior could also be a sign of other medical issues, nutritional deficiencies, or even boredom.Are dogs allergic to sago palms? ›
Sago Palm Toxicity. Dogs are known to chew on and eat plants, and sometimes they unwittingly eat plants that have toxic properties to them. Sago palms are one of these plants. The leaves from the sago palm can cause severe damage to the liver and potentially death when they are ingested by dogs.What does a sago palm seed look like? ›
Seeds of the sago palm are usually bright orange to red in appearance. Like many large seeds, be prepared to wait patiently, as sago palm seed germination may take several months. To begin growing sago palm from seed, growers will need a quality pair of gloves, as the seeds do contain toxins.Are all palms poisonous to dogs? ›
Luckily for those with both palm trees and pets, the leaves of a true palm are not considered poisonous to domestic animals. However, the popular sago palm (Cycas revoluta), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10, is extremely poisonous.What is a sago palm look like? ›
The sago palm may look like a tiny palm tree with its glossy, stiff fronds, but it is not a palm tree at all. Sago palms are cycads, one of the most ancient of plants that has been around since prehistoric times. As a houseplant, it is easy to grow indoors, but be very careful because the sago palm is poisonous.How do I know if my dog ate sago palm? ›
Symptoms of Sago Palm Poisoning
If your dog displays the following symptoms after exposure to a sago palm, you may be looking at sago palm poisoning: Vomiting. Diarrhea. Nosebleeds.
Contrary to popular belief, all parts of both male and female plants are toxic, with the seeds being the most lethal component of the sago palm.What are the red balls on a sago palm? ›
Just recently, a red round ball appeared in the middle. What should I do with these? Reply: That is the "flower" of the cycad (or sago palm), and because it's effectively the female flower, it will soon produce seeds the size of large marbles.
How do you flush poison out of a dogs system? ›
One of the most common treatment options for poisoning in dogs is inducing vomiting. Other treatment may include medication to reduce pain and symptoms, overnight monitoring, or IV's for flushing out the toxins in the system. The cost of treatment can vary from $250 to $5,000.What can you give a dog that is poisoned? ›
If the poison was ingested, get a sample of the poison's container so your veterinarian can determine the best treatment. Give activated charcoal or Endosorb (as recommended by a veterinarian) for poisons such as chocolate or bromethalin.Can a dog recover from poisoning? ›
The ASPCA Poison Control estimates that 25 percent of poisoned pets recover within two hours. Even with treatment, one in 100 poisoned pets will die.