Dog owners in the South Hams are being warned after reports of large quantities of palm oil have been washing up on UK beaches. Whilst ingestion is not fatal for humans, it can be toxic and sometimes fatal to dogs. Google Trends shows a 5,000% increase in searches for 'is palm oil toxic for dogs' so this information is actively being researched and concerned pet owners want to keep their dogs as safe as possible.

Dog experts Kennel Store have provided an expert comment, explaining the risk palm oil poses to dogs when ingested, what to do if members of the public see palm oil on a beach, and the symptoms of poisoning.

“When walking on beaches, keep an eye out to ensure your dog isn’t consuming palm oil accidentally. Palm oil is often found in a semi solid state, meaning it can pose a risk to dogs and can cause blockages in the digestive system.

If you believe you have spotted palm oil on the beach, it's advised that you dial 999 and ask for the coastguard to make a report. Once a report has been made, it will be investigated by the local and relevant authorities.

Palm oil is semi- solid and appears in white lumps and is waxy in appearance. It has a distinctive smell; similar to diesel.

Symptoms of palm oil ingestion are diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, intestinal blockage, lethargy and in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

Due to the solid state of palm oil, it’s important you contact a vet as this could cause an intestinal blockage. This is considered a veterinary emergency and needs to be dealt with quickly. In some instances, when consumed in large quantities dogs have suffered from kidney damage and liver failure, so medical intervention is vital.

Even if your dog has consumed a small amount, monitor your dog closely and if they show signs of becoming unwell, contact a vet as soon as possible.”