Palm Oil – The Dangers to Your Dog.


Toxic palm oil has been a problem for a number of years around the UK coastline. Sadly it has caused severe illness, or even death, in dogs that have ingested the substance. In this article, Holidays4Dogs provides some information for dog owners.

toxic palm oil

As recently as June this year (2023) a distraught dog owner’s pet died as a result of ingesting toxic palm oil from a beach in Pembrokeshire. The substance frequently washes up on beaches as a result of tankers swilling out their tanks at sea – an exercise that, sadly, the law allows.

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a natural product used mainly in food processing and it can legally be released into the sea from ships.  However, it is frequently contaminated with fuel waste and other toxins. In its solid form, it can be extremely harmful to dogs and wildlife.

There has been growing concern for some years about the effects of legally dumped palm oil, not only because of its impact on tourism, but also the effects on marine mammals.

What does palm oil look like?

In solid form, palm oil is a waxy, white, or yellow-coloured, substance which resembles a lump of fat, or, lard. It has an odour similar to that of diesel fuel.

The solidified white mass seems to be particularly attractive to dogs. As a result, there have been many instances of dogs becoming ill, or sadly dying, after eating or licking the substance.

What are the symptoms of palm oil poisoning?

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dehydration.
  • Intestinal blockage.

If you suspect your dog has ingested this nasty substance, it is important to seek veterinary attention straight away.

Vets advise owners to keep their dogs under close supervision when on the beach. This is particularly important, if dogs don’t have a good recall. In addition, it is especially important in warm weather to be vigilant. Warm weather creates bacteria which can cause the palm oil to become rancid.


Dumping waste into the ocean is an unfortunate problem that nobody seems to be able to take responsibility for. Therefore, it is up to dog owners to be aware of this recurring issue and be particularly observant when walking their dogs along beaches.

At Holidays4Dogs we are very mindful of dog walking safety. You can always be assured our carers have detailed knowledge about the areas where they walk guest dogs.