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NZ Vets Issue Serious Warning – Karaka Berries Are Fatal For Dogs


At least three dogs have died recently in New Zealand after eating poisonous Karaka berries.  As the summer progresses (January – April) in New Zealand, the native Karaka tree berries start too ripen and drop down onto the ground, easy for dogs to access.

Karaka berries can kill a dog

New Zealand vets are warning dog owners to stay clear of Karaka trees while out and about walking their dogs during the summer months, when the Karaka tree is fruiting.

This tree is quite easy to spot: It has a greyish colored trunk, thick dark green leaves, grows about 15 – 20 meters high, and has bright orange berries – during the summer months.

To see what a Karaka tree looks like – See video about this tree at bottom of page.

Karaka trees are often found in domestic gardens, forests, and many public areas such as: side walks, parks, play grounds and reserves.


If you plan on taking FIDO for a walk where Karaka trees are during the summer – KEEP HIM ON A LEAD!

The Karaka berries are attractive to dogs when ripe, and many dog owners may not even be aware their dog might like to eat them.

The kernel inside the Karaka berry is severely toxic to dogsWhile the fruit of the berry is safe to eat, the kernel (pip, seed,nut) inside it contains the highly toxic neurotoxin and the powerful alkaloid poison – karakin.

Veterinarian Dr Mark Robson from the Veterinary Specialist Group in Auckland said…

“Owners whose dogs eat berries need to take it ‘Extremely seriously’, and take it to a vet clinic as soon as you possibly can”.

Signs Your Dog has been Poisoned by
Eating Karaka Berries

Please NOTE:  For some dogs these symptoms below may be delayed for a day or two.  If your dog isn’t showing any symptoms, BUT you suspect your dog has eaten Karaka berries – Seek veterinary treatment urgently.

Early Signs:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness

The early signs QUICKLY PROGRESS to…

  • Severe gastrointestinal problems

Neurological problems that include:

  • Pacing
  • Limb rigidity
  • Paralysis
  • Crying
  • Seizures, convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

The New Zealand Native Karaka Tree

Glen Vickery from New Zealand gives an over view of what the Karaka tree looks like, what parts of it are toxic, and a bit of history about the NZ Native Maori and the Karaka tree.

Featured images sourced from You Tube

Article written February 2017

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