Before Molly Tuttle’s dog Sydney suddenly became ill, Tuttle had never even heard of Sago palm. Only after her vet asked about the plant, trying to determine the cause of Sydney’s vomiting and lethargy, did Tuttle realize that her Dallas backyard had Sago palms planted by the previous owner. Hours before Sydney grew ill, Tuttle had seen her dog chewing on a Sago palm root and taken it away from her. Despite intensive medical care, Sydney died two weeks later.
Sydney is just one of countless pets poisoned by ingesting Sago palm, a popular decorative plant commonly sold without any warnings about its toxicity. And Sago palm is among more than 700 plants that have been identified as poisonous (meaning they produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals).
Poisonous plants may cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death. Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant. Cats, for instance, are poisoned by any part of a lily.
Our list (PDF) of some of the potentially poisonous plants provides a guide to those plants that have been generally identified as being capable of producing a toxic reaction. We recommend that you print it and keep it in an accessible place.
Learn more about plants that could be dangerous to pets at the ASPCA's Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants page.