Dog owners are being advised to exercise caution when walking their dogs, after a number animals have come down sick after eating solidified palm oil that has washed up on a South Ayrshire beach.

Owners have been telling of sick pets and vet visits after their four-legged friends feasted on the potentially toxic stuff washed up on the beach, a product of ships out at sea cleaning machinery and dumping the oil afterwards.

The problem substance has been reported sighted around the kids play area of Prestwick Beach.

Chris Reid, who was out walking his two hounds on Monday night said: "Initially I wasn’t sure what it was, I didn’t realise palm oil came in solid form, I thought palm oil was when there was foam on the water.

"My one-year-old cocker spaniel and seven-year-old lab both ate a piece. They were sick during the night and the lab again this morning. After looking it up online sure it was palm oil, chunks around the size of golf balls. Both appear to be fine now."

Chris took to Facebook to warn others. But it seems it was too late for some, with one Facebook user telling how her pup took a liking to the stuff and gobbled it up, leading to the poor thing needing vetrinary treatment.

She said: "My pup ate it last night and ended up at vets.

"By the way the palm oil our pup ate was caught up in seaweed on the beach in front of ‘Kids Play’ although assuming tides will have moved it somewhere different by now."

A council spokesperson advised that they are working to clear the palm oil.

They said: "We are aware of some palm oil deposits at Prestwick Beach and we are removing it.

"Unfortunately these deposits do wash up on our shores from time to time. We would advise pet owners to keep their dogs away from such deposits and under control to minimise the risk."