Dog owners are being warned about the deadly dangers washing up on storm-lashed beaches.
Potentially fatal palm oil lumps were found on the sands at Arbroath and, with reports of it coming ashore on beaches along the UK’s east coast, locals have been advised to keep pets on leads to avoid the risk of inquisitive animals eating the white substance.
Concerns have also emerged that dogs could succumb to paralytic shellfish poisoning if they are tempted to eat creatures which have also been washing up in large numbers.
Beach palm oil is a natural product used mainly in food processing and can legally be released into the sea by ships.
However, it can be contaminated with fuel waste and other toxins and although it poses no danger to humans, can prove toxic to dogs.
The waxy lumps may also contain other harmful bacteria and pets which eat them can develop symptoms including sickness within a very short time.
In extreme cases, further potentially deadly complications might arise.
A sharp-eyed owner spotted white lumps on Arbroath beach and, although the tides have washed obvious signs of the substance away, community groups have posted warnings that the palm oil could return.
Our East Haven Facebook page posted: “Dog walkers beware — palm oil was washed up on to Arbroath beach.
“It has now disappeared but could wash up again on to any of our beaches in the high tides just now. Very dangerous and can kill dogs, so watch out for it.”
Animal welfare charity PDSA advice states: “The rancid palm oil found on British beaches appears as white waxy lumps and some dogs will be tempted to eat it.
“So if your dog likes to scavenge when out walking, it’s best to keep them on a lead when they are on the beach for the time being.
“If a dog has eaten the bacteria-laden palm oil, the symptoms will develop within 15 minutes of eating it and sickness is the most common sign.
“If you suspect your dog has eaten contaminated palm oil, contact your vet immediately.”
Reports of palm oil have also emerged in recent days on English beaches in locations including Norfolk and Suffolk, leading to pancreatitis in at least one reported case.