Across UK beaches there have been reports of harmful oil being washed up on shore. So whether it's New Brighton, Hoylake, or Thurstaston you choose to walk your dog it's important to be aware of dangers.

Over the years there has been more reports of oil being washed up on beaches as contaminated clumps of fat.

Although the clumps have a strong smell and are harmful to animals, dogs often see them as food and may try to eat them.

While many owners let their dog roam freely on the beach, it is always important to supervise them so they do not eat anything that may harm them.

Here are some tips from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council to help you and your canine have safe fun on the beach:

  • Ensure you can always see your dog.
  • If you see your dog sniffing something untoward, distract them in the first instance, and then enthusiastically call them back.
  • Be calm. If you sound fearful or angry, your dog will be less likely to come back than if you sound welcoming and excited.
  • Show you have got treats. Give your dog an extra incentive to come back.
  • Reward them straight away, with a pat, praise words and the said treat.
  • Distract them to ensure they do not go back to the same place, where said food item might be.  Play fetch with a brightly coloured ball, stick or even a frisbee, or run with them, so they stay focused.
  • Keep repeating this strategy.  As with any habit, it can take a while to break. You will need to repeat this routine every time your dog is on the beach - keep training and you will reap the rewards.
  • If this does not work, but you still want beach walks, then keep the dog on a lead or consider a muzzle, so unearthed food sources cannot be ingested.
  • When you return home, wash your dog’s paws, especially if the beach is very sandy. If their coat is covered too, consider giving them a bath.
  • If your dog does unfortunately eat the oil from the beach, phone the vet straight away and if necessary