DATE: March 5, 2012
Cardboard Palms are familiar plants in South Florida, but their seeds, leaves and roots can be fatal to dogs and cats.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Mendheim, Public Education Coordinator
Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Section
Florida is home to a wonderful variety of plants and vegetation all year long, however, not all of these plants are “pet friendly.”
“Many people do not realize that many plants, even houseplants, can be toxic to your dog and cat. That’s why it is important to research the type of plant you bring into your home or the types of flowers and shrubbery you have in your yard, since it does not take much for your pet to get sick or even die from ingesting parts of plants that may be poisonous to dogs and cats,” said Dr. Tim Johnston, veterinarian, Broward County Animal Care and Adoption.
Of major concern are popular plants like the Cardboard or Sago Palm, which can be found throughout South Florida. Landscapers and homeowners often plant the Sago because it is attractive and requires little water and care. However, all parts of the plant, including the seed pods, are toxic to both dogs and cats and can cause vomiting, liver failure and even death.
In addition to researching the plants in and around your home, pet owners are encouraged to watch out for chewed leaves, roots or seeds, as well as any signs of vomiting, listlessness or diarrhea. If any of these symptoms occur, please seek immediate medical treatment for your pet! Pet owners are also encouraged to take the following steps:
- Do not allow pets to roam outside unsupervised.
- Do not allow your pet to lick water off of leaves or drink from bowls that might contain water from plants.
- Do not allow your pet to dig in or around any toxic plants.
- Do not bring any toxic plants into the home.
- Be careful when playing “fetch” with branches from toxic plants and do not throw balls or Frisbees in the direction of poisonous plants.
- Quickly clean up any seeds or flowers from toxic plants.
- Keep the number for poison control on hand.
- Immediately rush your pet to a veterinary clinic at the first sign of any symptoms. Some plants are fatal to pets, so time is of the essence.
Information regarding toxic plants and flowers has been posted on Animal Care’s website. The site also provides a link to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' website, which provides a comprehensive listing of plants and foliage, including symptoms and a poison control number to call.
Broward County's Animal Care and Adoption Center is dedicated to providing shelter for lost and surrendered animals as well as the successful adoption of pets. The agency also coordinates the licensing of dogs and cats and provides rabies vaccinations in order to encourage a healthier pet population.
For more information about other animal welfare programs, visit broward.org/animal, follow us on twitter@BrowardPetPals or "like us" on Facebook.