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TRUE - White Lumps of Palm Oil Washed Up on UK Beaches Dangerous to Dogs


Circulating social media message claims that mysterious white lumps of palm oil being washed up on southern UK beaches can be deadly to dogs.

Facebook phising
© vitalytitov

Brief Analysis

The core information in the warning is valid and worth heeding. White lumps of a substance believed to be congealed and rancid palm oil have indeed been washing up on some UK beaches since around October 2013. Dogs who eat the substance can become very ill. Some dogs have died, and media reports suggest that vets have been attending to poisoning cases every day in some areas. However, almost all dogs recover, and the claim in the circulating message that the palm oil is 'killing a dog a day' is unfounded.


Mysterious white lumps called Palm Oil is being washed up on the beaches by the intense storms in the south of the UK. This is deadly to dogs. It has killed a dog a day so far in Devon and Cornwell, and is making it's way to the shores of Kent - particularly in Dover, Folkestone and Hythe. It's already been spotted in Rye and Camber Sands. Be extra cautious & please share!

White Lumps Palm Oil Dogs

Detailed Analysis

According to a warning message that is currently circulating via social media, dog owners should watch out for 'mysterious white lumps' of palm oil that are being washed up on some beaches in the south of the UK. The message claims that the substance is deadly to dogs and has been killing a dog a day in Devon and Cornwell. The message warns dog owners to be extra cautious and asks users to share the information with others.

The core information in the message is true and dog owners should indeed be cautious. The substance is certainly dangerous to dogs and can indeed be fatal. A number of news articles report that dogs have become ill after eating white lumps washed up on some UK beaches. Some dogs have reportedly died as a result. The contamination has been occurring since October 2013.

UK Health authorities have identified the substance as rancid and congealed palm oil. Dogs are apparently attracted to the lumps and may try to eat them.

However, the claim in the circulating warning that a dog a day has been killed by the palm oil is misleading. Media reports suggest that vets have been attending to palm oil poisoning cases every day for some periods, but almost all dogs make a full recovery.

The exact source of the palm oil remains unclear. It has been suggested that it may come from a ship washing out its tanks and dumping the residue at sea.

Dog owners should certainly be vigilant when taking their animals to beaches in the affected areas. If your dog does eat some of the palm oil, you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Last updated: February 19, 2014
First published: February 19, 2014
Written by Brett M. Christensen
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