Coastguards urge sense over palm oil fears

Rancid palm oil - which can be deadly if dogs eat it - has been found on Rossall beach in Cleveleys
Rancid palm oil - which can be deadly if dogs eat it - has been found on Rossall beach in Cleveleys
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Fleetwood Coastguards have reassured dog owners it is safe to walk dogs on beaches – despite sending out a warning over wash-up of palm oil on the Cumbria coast.

The chunks of oil have littered parts of that county’s coastline as a result of recent storms and the Coastguards wanted residents to be aware in case it washed up on the Fylde coast.

It has since come to light that a small amount of the substance, which can be harmful to dogs if they swallow it, has been found at Knott End.

But Fleetwood Coastguard Mark Sumner says some Facebook users in the port and along the Fylde coast have taken things a little too far and are so worried they have urged people to stay away from the beaches altogether.

He says that people staying clear of the sands is unnecessary and simple common sense needs to apply.

Mr Sumner said: “There have been a lot of comments on social media saying people shouldn’t be taking their dogs on the beach at all. We are not saying keep off the beach, we would just advise people to use caution and care and keep their dogs on leads. I think its a case of Chinese whispers which is causing a misunderstanding. Palm oil is a natural substance, it’s in food we eat but once its been in the sea it becomes rancid with bacteria and it is that which would cause illness.

“We are just asking dog owners to act with caution, keep them on leads and not let their dogs run off.”

Palm oil isn’t unique to the Fylde Coast, it is washed up on beaches up and down the country. It appeared on Fleetwood beach last year and at that time residents were advised to ensure their dogs didn’t try to eat it.

The pale, chalky substance was first discovered on English soil in October 2013 in Cornwall, and Cornwall County Council warned some dogs had died after eating it.

If a dog is believed to have eaten the substance they should be taken to a vet within 30 minutes, experts say.