I don’t know about you but I’ve always loved the yellow carpeted fields of rapeseed. They seemed cheerful & inviting, a true sign of spring.
Then I had my dogs & had to re-think the whole “romantic part” completely.
Rapeseed (Brassica napus) turned out to be one of the worst toxic plants for dogs because it contains glucosiolnates & S-methyl-L-cysteine-sulfoxide (an analog of alliin found in garlic, leeks & onions also known to cause haemolytic anaemia in dogs). It’s so bad, the pups don’t even need to digest rape to experience the ill effects.
And here’s why…
The entire plant is toxic if eaten. It can cause haemolytic anaemia (read, death sentence for ALL dogs), blindness, breathing difficulties & digestive problems. It can damage the nervous system, too.
Worst, rapeseed has another way to attack our dogs thanks to the plant’s natural “defence mechanism”.
Rape comes from the Brassicaceae family that can protect themselves by attacking any pests with what is known as “the mustard oil bombs”. Any damage to the plant activates the enzymatic response & causes rapeseed fire out a bunch of chemicals (nitriles & isothiocyanates) to repel the offender. It is suggested that it is the “bomb” that causes burns and skin reactions in any dog who comes in contact with the plant.
Third reason not to let your pup anywhere near the rapeseed is the level of herbicides & pesticides that the crops are sprayed with several times during the growing season. The chemicals are unlikely to be fatal to dogs, but they can cause issues and, if the dog is exposed to them regularly & for a period of time, lead to serious health problems in the future.
As I was preparing this post, I noticed two polar opinions about the rapeseed. Some research, toxicity manuals and dog owners claimed that the plant must be avoided. The other camp, mainly of growers and manufacturers, said that the quantities of the toxins are so low, the dogs would not experience any ill effects whatsoever.
Personally, I am not prepared to take risks. And I am posting this today to make you aware of both opinions, so the final decision is yours.