DOG owners have been urged to avoid beaches in the North East after becoming "inundated" with pets falling ill.

Yorkshire Coast Pet Care has warned that they are seeing high levels of dogs falling ill with sickness and diarrhoea after reportedly visiting the beach.

The group, which several practices up and down the coast, issued the warning as they this morning said the issue had become "more rife" than first expected.

In a statement, it urged dog owners to avoid the beach and report symptoms of sickness to the local authority in charge and inform the vet.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Picture: NORTHERN ECHOPicture: NORTHERN ECHO

'Seek veterinary attention'

It said: "I work within several practices up and down the North East coast and we have recently been inundated with dogs coming off the beaches with vomiting and diarrhoea.

"Personally until the local authorities have got to the bottom of it I would not recommend taking your pets on the beach for the foreseeable future.

"I have been in touch with governing bodies and they are currently looking into it.

"If your dog is showing symptoms please let the local authorities aware as well as seeking veterinary attention should your pet need it."

'Our puppy was ill'

Dozens of pet owners have been taking to social media to report the same symptoms in recent days across the North East.

One dog owner said: "My little dog goes to Redcar beach every morning, she’s been poorly since last Friday sick and diarrhoea.

"Very sleepy (and) not her usual self at all now."

Another said: "Our puppy was ill from Thursday, we never reliased it could be the beach.

"Until we walked him on South Bay, Scarborough again Saturday evening. Sunday he was ill with sickness and upset tummy again."

Thankfully, there have not been any reports of deaths.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Picture: NORTHERN ECHOPicture: NORTHERN ECHO

It has not yet been confirmed whether there are any problems with the North East's beaches, but the Environment Agency encourages people to report potential hazards.

It comes as the authorities are still believed to be investigating the death of thousands of crabs as they became washed up on the region's beaches last year.

Chemical pollution and sewage were ruled out as possible causes, but the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) said probes continued.

Since the death of the crabs, there has been no suggestion that dogs are at risk from visiting those beaches affected.

Mike Gubbins, head of the Fish Health Inspectorate at Cefas, previously said:  "We are continuing to investigate whether an aquatic animal disease has caused this mortality. 

"Our Fish Health Inspectorate has been analysing shellfish samples collected from the area for listed and other non-listed diseases, but none have been detected so far.  

“We will continue to work with partner agencies to try and find answers for the local community.” 

The D&S Times has approached the Environment Agency and the relevant authorities and local authorities for comment.