DOG OWNERS are being told to be vigilant after a dog nearly died from eating a poisonous plant on a beach.

Kimmy, a one-year old black Labrador, was enjoying a walk on Highcliffe beach in Dorset before falling ill and convulsing as a result of ingesting water hemlock, a potentially deadly plant also known as Cicuta.

Kimmy’s owner Sarah Hammett, from Southampton, said: “Kimmy was doing her usual thing, running around and sniffing things. She picked up these roots and started eating them

“There were no leaves attached to it so I couldn’t work out what it was, so I took them off her.”

“We stopped at a café in Mudeford and she started to shiver. She did it again and again and I knew something was wrong.”

Water hemlock, considered to be one of the most toxic plants in the northern hemisphere, usually grows in marshy areas or on the side of riverbanks.

Although it is believed Kimmy ate the tuber roots of the plant, all parts of the water hemlock are toxic and can cause death in as little as 15 minutes.

Thanks to the quick-thinking actions of a complete stranger, who rushed Kimmy and her owner to Priory Veterinary Hospital in Christchurch, the canine was able to make a recovery.

Sarah added: “I started to Google local vets when a complete stranger came up to me and asked if I needed help. Without her help, I would have had to wait a lot longer and who knows what would have happened.

“The vets were outstanding. When we arrived, the lady at the reception remembered me from my call and there were two nurses there to take her off me.”

Emma Newton, Priory Veterinary Hospital director, said they have dealt with similar incidents in the past, including cows that could not be saved.

She said: “When Kimmy came to the surgery, she was shaking and struggling to walk. We gave her some diazepam which came back up and then we gave her a general anaesthetic to try and flush out her stomach.

“We would advise other dog owners to be careful when walking your pet near waterways. Labradors are notorious for not being very fussy when it comes to what they eat so look out for what they play with and chew on.

“If you are unsure of the area you are walking your dog in, we advise to keep it on a lead to be sure. You just need to be vigilant when you are out and about with your dog.”