Worthing Borough Council warns dog owners today (Wednesday February 19th) to watch out for white lumps that look a bit candle wax being washed up on beaches. It is likely to be congealed and rancid Palm Oil.
It smells rotten but dogs seem to like it and will often eat it if given the chance. It may make them very ill. Pieces are still being removed by Worthing cleansing teams but there are reports of ill dogs being taken to vets after being on the beach.
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service told us: “We have received a number of emergency enquiries about dogs that have eaten it. The main problems are vomiting and diarrhoea and these can lead to dehydration, particularly in young or small dogs. We do not think it is the age of the oil that is causing this, as fresh oil would cause the same problems. There is also a potential risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) which can result in vague, non-specific signs including vomiting and diarrhoea. This is a risk in dogs that eat a large amount of any fatty or oily food substance. There have been reports of blockages of the gut in dogs that have eaten palm oil washed up in Cornwall.
We would suggest anyone with a dog that has eaten palm oil contact their vet for advice, particularly if the dog is already unwell. There is no specific treatment but the dog may need medication to control vomiting and intravenous fluid to treat or prevent dehydration. The main thing owners can do it prevent exposure.”
Dog owners are advised to keep their eyes out for the lumps and keep their dogs away.