Wellington SPCA warns dog owners of fatal berries

Wellington SPCA has put out a warning to all dog owners about the Karaka berry tree. These berries can be fatal if your dog eats them, and 3 dogs have died already.


Please be aware of Karaka tree berries whilst walking your four-legged-friends this summer.

Throughout the warmer months (January – April) the berries ripen, turn orange and fall off the trees – these berries can be FATAL if eaten by dogs.

Although these are a staple in the diet of the native Kereru (Wood Pigeon), the kernels in the fruit contain the alkaloid karakin, which is very toxic if ingested by other animals.

Signs of Karaka berry poisoning include weakness, vomiting, confusions and convulsions.

These symptoms can be delayed by a day or two, so even if they are not displaying symptoms yet, if you are have any concerns that your pet may have eaten any please seek veterinary treatment immediately. It is also important to note that the berry kernels remain toxic for a long time, so dogs can be poisoned by eating even a previous year’s fruit.

The trees themselves are quite distinct and easy to spot; they have thick dark leaves and can grow up to 15 metres with the berries turning a bright orange colour during fruiting season.

These are native trees are a vital food source for Kereru so we advise that if you have spotted any in your local area, to keep your dog on the lead or take them to an alternative location for a walk.”

– SPCA Wellington

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