Are Bamboo Palms Safe for Dogs?

by April Sanders

The long, graceful fronds of the bamboo palm (Chamaedorea elegans) add a tropical touch to almost any area. Not only is the plant attractive, but it is easy to grow, making it an excellent plant for a family to cultivate. And if you have curious furry friends who like to nibble on foliage, they likely will not suffer any repercussions because the plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs.

1. Appearance

Bamboo palms have multiple, slender stems topped with long, wide fronds. Each frond is lined with at least 12 pairs of leaflets. Indoor plants usually reach a maximum height of around 4 feet, while outdoor plants can reach a maximum height of about 6 feet. Home gardeners can't limit the plant's size by pruning and should only prune to remove damaged stems or fronds. If your dog does chew on a frond or stem, remove the entire thing.

2. Indoor Care

The bamboo palm is frequently called the parlor palm -- likely because it is such a popular houseplant. Its high tolerance of shade, root crowding and controlled temperatures makes it an ideal indoor container plant. Indoor bamboo palms grow best where they receive bright but indirect light, but they also adapt to low light conditions. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and choose a pot that has drainage holes on the bottom.

3. Outdoor Culture

Bamboo palms are hardy outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12. Native to Southeastern Mexico, it will not tolerate cold temperatures, and freezes will kill the plant. Home gardeners in colder climates should grow the plant indoors. Others can cultivate it outdoors, but should choose a location that is shady, with moist but well-draining soil, and is protected from strong winds.

4. Considerations

Although the plant is nontoxic, any plant can pose a health hazard to dogs. Some dogs may be allergic to the plant. Or, a dog may choke on a piece of the plant. If you think your dog has consumed part of a bamboo palm, call your veterinarian immediately. He may ask you to bring the dog, and part of the plant, for an examination just to be safe.

About the Author

I can write in a wide variety of styles, from academic to humorous (see links to my blog above).