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Dog-owners warned to keep pets clear of deadly palm oil washed up on a Sheppey beach

By John Nurden

Rock-sized chunks of palm oil deadly to dogs have been washed up along the coast of the Isle of Sheppey.

The white waxy blocks smell like diesel but dogs love it. However, even a small taste can kill them.

Sheppey’s Coastguard rescue officer James Crane said: “As far as we know, we have removed most of the blocks but dog-owners should be extra vigilant.

A block of palm oil deadly to dogs washed up on Leysdown beach on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: Yvonne Joyce
A block of palm oil deadly to dogs washed up on Leysdown beach on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: Yvonne Joyce

“If they see their pet taking an unusual interest in a patch of beach and believe their dog has eaten any of this they should take their dog to get it checked by a vet immediately.

“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this palm oil can be to dogs.”

The palm oil, sometimes described as “fat-bergs”, is covered in killer germs. It has invaded British beaches after travelling thousands of miles across the Atlantic following storms in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad.

A block of palm oil deadly to dogs washed up on Leysdown beach on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: Sheppey Coastguards
A block of palm oil deadly to dogs washed up on Leysdown beach on the Isle of Sheppey. Picture: Sheppey Coastguards

Two Coastguard officers discovered it on Warden and Leysdown beach on Monday afternoon after members of the public raised the alarm.

A temporary cordon was put around the substance to prevent dogs getting close and staff from Little Groves Holiday Park, working with Swale council, used a digger to clear the beach and dispose of the blocks.

Mr Crane said: “There were some signs of dogs having scratched at it. We would advise any dog owner who thinks their animal has come into contact with it to seek veterinary assistance.

HM Coastguard volunteer James Crane
HM Coastguard volunteer James Crane

“Palm oil seems to be particularly attractive to dogs. But there have been many instances of dogs becoming gravely ill or even dying after eating or licking it.

“Palm oil is very toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea but can also cause kidney damage and liver failure.”

Resident Janet Holland posted on Facebook: “I understand the large chunks of this have now been removed. But please be aware that sometimes small pieces, the size of pebbles, can be washed up, too.

Leysdown and Warden Bay beach
Leysdown and Warden Bay beach

“This can happen at any time on any beach so dog-walkers need to be extra vigilant. If your dog becomes ill after walking on the beach and possibly ingesting this substance, you need to take it to the vet without delay.”

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