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Palm oil alert to dog owners - but why is it dangerous?
11:15am Tuesday 18th February 2014 in News
The oil, found in booulder-size chunks, is not dangerous to humans but can be to dogs.
Palm oil is grown across the world and used mainly in food, soaps, shampoos and biofuels.
When washed up on shorelines it can lead to boulder-sized chunks emitting a smell of diesel which are attractive to dogs and bird life who like to lick or nibble on the substance but leaves them writhing in agony.
Before Christmas palm oil began washing up on the shores of Devon and Cornwall and has been reported to be poisoning dogs in the area at a rate of one a day as more of the waxy, white substance is landing on the coast due to the recent storms.
Recent reports suggest the oil becomes glue-like when dogs eat it and it gets lodged throughout their body and leads to difficulty breathing.
The high toxin count also has damaging effects on the dog’s health and leads to vomiting and diarrhoea.
Swift treatment involving feeding charcoal to dogs to soak up the oil and induce vomiting is paramount.
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the reddish pulp of the fruit of oil palms and primarily comes from south-east Asia and Africa.
Many people use it in cooking in poorer parts of the world and human consumption is rocketing compared to levels in 2000, with demand predicted to more than double by 2030 and to triple by 2050.
Its use has been linked with heart disease and increase in cholesterol but some studies have suggested otherwise.