Dogs love exploring the outdoors. Sniffing trees and power poles, saying hello to other dogs and eating any little scrap of deliciousness they can find on the ground. Unfortunately, when they find karaka berries or water algae, the results can be deadly.
Dogs & Karaka Berries Don’t Mix
Toxic karaka berries look harmless enough, but ingesting just one can prove fatal to a dog. Found from January to April, the karaka berries change from green to orange and begin to fall from trees. The berries contain an alkaloid poison karakin and a neurotoxin. The trees themselves can grow up to 15 metres tall and they have thick dark green leaves. The berries measure from 2.5-4cm long and when they are ripe, are highly tempting to dogs. The karaka tree can be found throughout New Zealand, but are especially prevalent in the North Island.
Symptoms of karaka berry poisoning are:
- Limb rigidity
Keep Your Dogs Safe by Avoiding Toxic Water Algae
Warmer spring and summer months are great times to take your dog to the river or lake for a refreshing swim. Unfortunately, these warmer months are also the time that toxic water algae blooms and increases in quantity, making a quick dip deadly. While the algae themselves are present all year round, they only produce toxins when the weather conditions are favourable during warmer months.
Water algae are known as cyanobacteria and are found throughout New Zealand waterways. Summer causes these algae to grow and bloom quickly, increasing the level of toxins in the water which can result in a serious illness or death for a dog. The blooms themselves look like brown or black thick mats and are often near the edge of a river or lake having come loose from the rocks or riverbed when they grew. But it is not only the blooms which are toxic to dogs, as the water will also contain tiny water algae particles which if ingested can cause death.
Symptoms of water algae toxicity can occur within minutes and include:
- Pale gums
- Bloody stools
- Difficulty breathing