Dog walkers are being warned to keep a close eye on their pets after lumps of palm oil were found washed up on beaches in Norfolk.

According to Seal and Shore Watch UK, the substance was discovered on Sea Palling beach on Saturday 4 May, and walkers have also reported spotting it on the stretch of coastline between Happisburgh and Walcott.

Palm oil, which is legally allowed to be dumped into the sea by ships as long as they are more than 12 miles offshore, is dangerous for dogs to consume and is often found in big, waxy chunks.

Jon Sweatman has found lumps of the substance on the beach at Walcott. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Jon Sweatman walks along the beach at Walcott every day with his four dogs, and says the local coastguard have told him that the problem is worse that it's ever been in the area.

"This is the most we've seen locally," he told ITV News Anglia.

"Quite often you can walk the beach and find the odd little piece, but even the coastguard has said this is the most they've seen washed up.

"There's been so much of the palm oil over the Bank Holiday weekend and any research can tell you it can be very toxic for dogs.

"I'm very wary at the moment of this particular section because of the amount that is still laying about."

Consuming palm oil can make dogs seriously ill. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In most cases, consuming palm oil won't kill a dog, but it can make them very seriously ill and in rare cases, it can be fatal.

"It's an oil-based product, the dog absorbs the oil and it leads to a disease called Pancreatitis and it's that that causes the problems," Sheringham vet Michaela Bone said.

"We had a dog only a couple of weeks ago that was walking on Bacton beach. Luckily, the owners saw it had eaten the palm oil and realised it became unwell and brought it in."

"We can confirm that we have received reports of an unconfirmed waxy substance washing up between Walcott and Happisburgh beaches on the 5 May 2019. The Bacton Coastguard Rescue Team was sent to investigate the reports and they removed some of the substance. We informed our Counter Pollution team. "

Maritime & Coastguard Agency
  • What to do if your dog has eaten palm oil?

Owners concerned their dog has eaten palm oil should contact their vet as soon as possible - ideally within an hour.

Consuming palm oil can cause sickness, diarrhoea and dehydration so look out for any of those symptoms.

You should not attempt to make your dog sick yourself.