Walking Your Pet to New Destinations

Dangerous Plants for Your Dog in New Zealand

Written by Pacific Pet Transporters on May 7, 2019

One of the biggest concerns for pet parents when moving to a foreign country is to keep your dear pet safe. Everything is new, so what precautions should you take? For example, we don’t usually think of New Zealand as a dangerous place, but the truth is there are plants that could poison your pup. You need to know about this!

Some of them can be deadly.

SPCA New Zealand warns “you should especially watch out for Karaka tree berries whilst walking your dog during summer.” During this season (January to April in New Zealand), “the berries ripen, turn orange and fall off the trees – these berries can be FATAL if eaten by dogs.” The berries retain their extreme toxicity, so dogs can be poisoned even by last year’s fruit lying on the ground. Because symptoms may not show up for a couple of days, the SPCA urges dog owners to call their vet immediately if you even suspect your pup has ingested karaka berries.

Knowing a vet gives you peace of mind

Moving to a new country is complicated, to say the least, and you have a lot on your mind. But finding a vet in New Zealand should be a top priority. That way, if your beloved dog gets into something – poisonous plant or otherwise – you’ll know exactly who to call. You can actually get started on finding a vet before you leave home.

Symptoms of plant poisoning

Although a few plants can be deadly if ingested, most cause mild to severe reactions (and, in some cases, long-term internal organ damage). Typical symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Salivating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal urination (color, smell, or frequency)

What other New Zealand plants are toxic for dogs?

SPCA New Zealand specifically draws attention to this list:

  • Black nightshade
  • Deathcap mushroom
  • New Zealand tree nettle (Onga Onga)
  • Daffodils (especially the bulbs)
  • Foxgloves
  • Ivy (some species)
  • Rhubarb
  • Aloe Vera
  • Onions and garlic
  • Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila)
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Tomato Plant (green fruit, stems and leaves)
  • Wandering Jew
  • Barley Grass seeds
  • Lilies (most varieties)

Looking at this reminds us that some houseplants can be just as problematic as those that grow outdoors, either in our gardens or in the wild. So, as important as it is to be wary when you take your pooch out for a walk or hike in the countryside, it’s equally important to be vigilant at home. This site offers separate lists of New Zealand house plants and outdoor garden plants that are dangerous to dogs.

Ultimately, though, the list of native and ornamental plants that could be dangerous to dogs is quite long. And many of them are found in numerous locations around the world. Therefore, the American SPCA has compiled a list of plants worldwide that are poisonous to dogs.

That said, cats are just as vulnerable to plant poisoning than dogs. Some would argue that indoor-only cats are at the greatest risk because they have less stimulation and are, therefore, more likely to play with and chew on houseplants. Regardless, some plants are more poisonous to cats than dogs, and vice versa. For example, all lilies can be fatal to kitties but only some varieties are problematic for dogs. This is why the ASPCA has created a separate list of plants around the world that are dangers to cats.

It pays to know before you go

Reading up on flowers, trees, and shrubs that could harm your pet once you arrive in New Zealand hardly qualifies as soothing bedtime reading. But the effort you make to learn more about doggie dangers – and to start finding a vet – will certainly bring you greater confidence and peace of mind.


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Topics: Pet Care, Pet Travel, Pet Relocation