Council warns karaka berries toxic, even fatal, for dogs

The bright orange berries from karaka trees are highly toxic to dogs. - Photo: Auckland Council

A single dog has already been poisoned twice this summer after eating karaka tree berries, the Auckland Council says.

The berries from karaka trees are highly toxic to dogs and the council is reminding owners to take extra care.

Karaka trees are native to New Zealand. They are found all around Auckland, in parks and other public areas, as well as on private properties.

The bright orange berries can be up to four centimetres long.

They're most dangerous to dogs between summer and autumn, when the berries ripen and fall to the ground.

Simon Randall from Auckland Council says depending on how many berries are consumed, they can be fatal to dogs.

"Our advice to dog owners is during the drop season, be cautious around karaka plants and when going near them, keep your dog on leash," he says.

The council has already had one complaint this year about a dog being poisoned by karaka berries.

The dog in that case survived.

Signs of poisoning include confusion, weakness, vomiting, hind leg paralysis and convulsions, and there can be a 24 to 48-hour delay between berry consumption and symptoms appearing.

Dog owners are advised to contact the vet immediately if they suspect their dog has eaten karaka berries.

Mr Randall says the council assesses the risk posed by the trees every year and puts up warning signs.

"We would like to think that it's becoming more under control as people become more aware of karaka berries," Mr Randall says.

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