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Rapeseed toxicity in dogs

It might look pretty and provide the perfect photo opportunity, but running through rapeseed can have nasty consequences for your dog.

Rapeseed is just one on a long list of plants that are poisonous to dogs. It causes skin irritation and burns, and allergic reactions in some dogs.

Rapeseed (Brassicus napus), or oilseed rape as it is also known, is grown across the UK and used to make cooking oils, animal foods and even biodiesel. It's also an important food source for bees and pollinators.

The bright carpet of yellow flowers that cover the countryside each year, is a beautiful sight, not least because it signals that summer is finally on its way. It is not a welcome sight for everyone though, as many people report that it triggers their hayfever.

The potentially irritable effects of this plant don't just affect humans, but dogs too.

In 2019, emergency provider Vets Now issued a warning as a 3-year-old dog suffered a severe allergic reaction to rapeseed. They described how the he developed nasty sores around his eyes and ears after coming into contact with the crops. Luckily, Bruno made a full recovery after receiving emergency veterinary treatment.

The foliage and seeds don't just cause irritation and potential allergies on contact with the skin, but are also toxic if swallowed. Rapeseed can cause:

  • Anaemia

  • Blindness

  • Nerve damage

  • Digestive disorders

  • Breathing difficulties

It is possible that some dogs are sensitive to the chemicals in the plant and more likely to have an allergic reaction, than others.

Worried about your dog?

If your dog has been running through rapeseed fields, it is a good idea to rinse them off afterwards and monitor them for any signs of ill health. Get any concerns checked out by a vet straight away.

Avoid walking through rapeseed fields, especially when they are in bloom (usually late April to June) and keep your dog on a lead if the fields are nearby.


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