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Warning to dog owners about 'toxic' palm oil

Warning to dog owners about 'toxic' palm oil

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 1:29pm 15th October 2019.

Photo: Stock image of palm oil on a Cornish beach. Credit: Friends of Portherras Cove

A warning has gone out to dog owners after palm oil washed up in north Cornwall.

Vets say that the substance can be highly toxic to dogs and was found on several beaches around Bude.

Penbode Pet Veterinary Surgeons is urging people to keep their pets away.

They posted on Facebook: "*** WARNING TO ALL DOG OWNERS***

"LARGE QUANTITIES OF PALM OIL washed up on Summerleaze and Upton beaches in Bude.

"Palm oil is highly toxic to dogs - please DO NOT allow your dog to eat it and avoid areas where possible."

Penbode Pet Veterinary Surgeons

What is palm oil and what does it look like on the beach?

Vets Now says: "Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the pulp of the fruit of African, American and Maripa palms. It is used in processed foods, toiletries and as a biofuel. Large ships also use palm oil as a tank cleaning agent".

Its website also says: "Palm oil washed up on beaches is often white, yellow or orange and looks like waxy pebbles or boulders. These so-called blobs typically smell like diesel and may be contaminated with other waste products".

Vets Now

Is palm oil safe for dogs?

"While palm oil is not poisonous to dogs, it does have a laxative effect and, if eaten, can cause sickness, diarrhoea, dehydration and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

"It can also cause blockages in the gut due to its semi-solid state.

"Some dogs have become seriously ill after ingesting palm oil.

"Much of the risk from palm oil is thought to derive from other toxic products mixed in it such a diesel oil from ships".

Vets Now

Can palm oil kill dogs?

"Palm oil has resulted in serious complications in a small minority of dogs. One study of 60 dogs who had ingested palm oil found fewer than half displayed symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or loose stools.

"One case developed pneumonia after inhaling vomit and another had significant gastrointestinal signs and elevated liver enzymes.

"However, all of the dogs recovered and there was no evidence to suggest that palm oil ingestion in dogs can be fatal".

Vets Now

What should I do if my dog ingests palm oil?

Read more advice from Vets Now, including articles on owners whose pets have eaten palm oil.

If you see palm oil on the beach people are asked to report sightings to 0300 1234 141.

You can find more information from Cornwall Council here.

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