Karaka berries are ripening and falling to the ground from January to April. The kernels of the berries contain a highly toxic alkaloid that can be fatal when ingested.
Signs of karaka berry poisoning include confusion, weakness, vomiting, hind leg paralysis and convulsions. There can be a delay of 24 to 48 hours between berry consumption and symptoms, so if you think your dog has eaten even one, don’t wait – contact your vet clinic immediately.
It is also important to note that the berry kernels remain toxic for a long time, so dogs can be poisoned by eating 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 and 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.