Following reports a dog had to be put down after contact with giant hogweed, find out what you should do if you spot it.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Stuart Good described how his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Ella, suffered after touching the toxic plant.

During a walk in Port Sunlight River Park in Wirral, she suddenly cried out in pain and ran from underneath the vegetation.

Mr Good said: "She went in the undergrowth and let out a little yelp. She shot out as if something had spooked her and let out a little yelp.”

At home , Mr Good spotted a blister under Ella’s leg "the size of a pound coin" which proceeded to double in size.

Seeking medical help, Mr Good said a vet confirmed the cause of the injuries saying, "that's definitely giant hogweed, we can prescribe pain killers but there's no cure for this”.

Unfortunately, Ella’s condition continued to worsen, and Mr Good made the difficult decision to have his beloved pet put to sleep.

How to spot giant hogweed

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, you can find the weed in gardens and allotments and  adjacent to woodland, heathland or common land.

Seen from spring to autumn the stem of the tall plant is thick and bristly and often purple-blotched.

The flowers, which resemble UK native species cow parsley, are white and held in flat-topped clusters facing upwards. The flower heads can be as large as 60cm across and the plant itself can reach a height of 3.5m.

PDSA giant hogweed advice for pet owners

A relative of cow parsley, the invasive species can cause burns and blisters and even blindness if the sap comes into contact with the eyes.

A spokesperson for pet charity, PDSA, said: "This plant can cause serious problems in both pets and humans.

"The stems and leaves of the plant contain toxins that can lead to skin burns and blisters, and the toxin is further concentrated in the sap which is released when the plant is damaged or broken.

"Although pets often have some protection from their fur, hairless or thin furred areas (such as the ears, mouth and belly) can be affected.

"If the sap is licked off the coat or goes into the eyes, it can cause even more damage.

"It’s important to contact your vet if you think your pet has come into contact with Giant Hogweed.

"If you’re worried about yourself, or someone you know, contact your doctor or the NHS for help."

Giant hogweed map – UK sightings

If you want to find out where giant hogweed has been spotted in your area, garden building retailer WhatShed has published an interactive map.

The company is also asking for help tracking the spread of what has been dubbed "the most dangerous plant in Britain".

A spokesperson said: "WhatShed have created this interactive map that shows all the locations for Giant Hogweed sightings in the UK.

"We have also created a simple form below the map where we ask people who have seen this dangerous plant to enter the details of the sighting so an expert can verify it."