Auckland Council is warning dog owners about the risk of berries from karaka trees. The berries are highly toxic to dogs and consumption can be fatal.
Karaka trees are native to New Zealand and are abundant in public places throughout Auckland including parks and reserves, private properties and street plantings. The trees pose the greatest threat to dogs between summer and autumn, as the berries ripen and fall to the ground.
The karaka tree has bright orange berries up to 4cm long, making it very distinctive. It can grow up to 15 metres and has thick dark leaves. Residents should be aware that there may be karaka trees in their area and make use of alternative locations when walking dogs.
Signs of karaka berry poisoning include confusion, weakness, vomiting, hind leg paralysis and convulsions. There can be a delay of 24-48 hours between berry consumption and symptoms.
If you suspect your dog has ingested karaka berries, contact a vet immediately.
Information and advice about poisonous plants is available on the New Zealand National Poisons Centre website.