Puppy dies from eating Sago Palm

Animal Welfare Specialist
Cathy has worked in the animal welfare field for more than 25 years. As a Director of Public Relations for local and national animal welfare agencies, Cathy developed and managed public relations programs, wrote press materials, and prepared staff to handle media interviews on animal issues.


In my hometown, San Antonio, Texas, sago palms are a frequent plant in the landscape. In fact, my neighbor has a huge one at the entry way to their front door. Because they can grow rather large here, I considered buying one and putting in a large clay pot for my patio. Now I am having second thoughts about this altogether after learning about a puppy who chewed on a sago palm and died.

Early last month, according to the ASPCA, the Woytek family discovered Amber, their lab mix, had eaten parts of a sago palm plant. Unbeknowst to even me, the sago palm is highly toxic to both cats and dogs.

Immediately ill, Amber suffered seizures, jaundice, and liver failure.  The family had to make the tragic decision to euthanize their dog. Sadly, Amber’s story is more common than one might think. I let my neighbor know because she has two little dogs.

Since 2003, the ASPCA has seen an increase by more than 200 percent of sago palm and cycad poisonings, and 50 to 75 percent of those ingestions resulted in fatalities. According to Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, veterinary toxicologist and vice president of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, all parts of the plant are toxic, not just the seeds or nuts, and common signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure.

Before you put plants in the house or landscape, check to make sure the plants are safe around pets.

3 thoughts on “Puppy dies from eating Sago Palm

  1. Wow… this is extremely sad.  Do you happen to know if there are any websites that have lists of commonly poisonous plants?

  2. Hello,My name is Vince and am including a link I encourage all pet lovers to see: http://www.mo-driver.com/sago-palm-plants-kill.htm I lost my cat in April, 2009. She died a slow and painful death from Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta). Since I was at fault for bringing the plants in from the cold, my cat consequently died. Since then, I have launched the above web page to get the word out about this plant. Also, there is petition link where people can send a message to retailers to urge them to label this poisonous plant with warnings. I hope people will sign the petition and perhaps we can save hundreds of cats and dogs from being poisoned each year.Thanks,Vince

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