SOUTH Ayrshire Council have warned local dog owners about taking their pets down to Ayr beach after reports of palm oil causing them to be ill.

There were also reports of the substance being sighted in Prestwick.

It comes after many vets in the area flagged up to authorities that a number of dogs were falling ill and being sick.

South Ayrshire Council have now issued warning posters around Ayr beach highlighting the issue and urging dog owners to keep a close watch on their pooches and ensure they remain on a lead at all times.

Palm oil is a natural product that is mainly used in food processing and can be legally discharged into the sea by ships, however it can be contaminated by fuel waste and other toxins left in the waters, which eventually turns into a solid formation of a wax substance.

Even though palm oil is harmless to humans, the boulder-like lumps can emit a smell of diesel which is attractive to dogs and bird but leaves them in a lot of pain if they eat it.

It can be washed up on shores and cause a danger to animals coming across it as they can eat it.

It’s not poisonous, however it does have a laxative effect and if eaten can cause sickness, diarrhoea, dehydration. In extreme cases it can cause pancreatitis.

Dogs can become seriously ill if palm oil is consumed and cause problems after ingesting it. It can also be dangerous as it’s not uncommon for beach sightings of the substance to be mixed with other toxic products such as oil from ships.

Locals are asked to be careful when out with their dogs and to look out for palm oil on Ayr beach when visiting. It is often white, yellow or orange and looks like waxy material on pebbles or other parts of the beach. It would also appear as big boulders on the beach with being stuck to rock particles. It is most common to appear on beach fronts after ships have been in or near the area.

The council have asked if your dog becomes unwell after visiting Ayr beach then seek veterinary advice. Advise Waste Management on 0300 123 0900.