Rapeseed Oil – Risky or Safe for Dogs?
‘I just read your tale. just wanted to share that i listen to a lot of health experts, and got the message that they were all recommending rapeseed oil as something great before, however, because of they way that it is made are no longer for health reasons (and so i have been avoiding it myself now for that reason and in dogs’ foods just fyi’
We received this message today from Michelle who was on our site investigating feeding their dog Bonza.
Reading the information available on the internet that may have led them to this conclusion, I revisited the research we undertook and our reasons for including rapeseed oil in our vegan dog food. I thought writing a post would help others to correctly assess the risks and benefits of rapeseed oil for dogs.
This was my reply:
Thank you for your mail.
There has been a lot of conjecture surrounding rapeseed oil and its safety for both humans and animals, including our companion animals particularly since supply chains for sunflower oils were disrupted courtesy of the war in Ukraine .
Whilst researching our ingredients, and aware of this, I did discuss rapeseed oil with our own head nutritionist and a number of other independent nutritionists as well as with academics from Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph in Canada.
The European Commission requested the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to conduct an investigation in 2016 into Erucic acid ( 22:1ω9) in feed and food and its safety, or otherwise, for humans and animals. A subsequent analysis was also performed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in 2022.
Erucic acid is found in rapeseed, mustard seed and seeds from kale, cabbage, turnips.
The investigation was to determine the level of dietary intake of Erucic acid that may lead to Myocardial lipidosis, identified as the critical effect for chronic exposure to erucic acid.
The EFSA’s, and FSA, findings were as follows:
- In rats the No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) ranged between 0.7 and 2.6 g/kg bw/day, and the Low Observed Adverse Effect Level (LOAELs) ranged between 1.0 and 7.1 g/kg bw/day. In the study in piglets the NOAEL was 0.7 g/kg bw/day and the LOAEL was 1.1 g/kg bw/day
Although no studies have been performed on dogs, they have been on humans and it is expected that mammalian tolerable daily intakes for (NOAELs) are 0.7g/kg bw/day.
We conduct fatty acid analysis on our food (see attached) and the level of Erucic acid is 0.11%. For every kilogram (1000g) of food the level of Erucic acid is 1.1g.
The amount of Bonza dogs of varying weights should be eating and the level of Erucic acid that weight of food contains is shown below:
2kg – 63g (containing 0.0693g of Erucic acid)
4kg – 102g (containing 0.1112g of Erucic acid)
10kg – 204g (containing 0.2244g of Erucic acid)
15kg – 277g (containing 0.3047g of Erucic acid)
25kg – 406g (containing 0.4466g of Erucic acid)
50kg – 683g (containing 0.7513g of Erucic acid)
Given the studies findings that No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) ranged between 0.7 and 2.6 g/kg bw/day for rats and 0.7g/kg bw/day for pigs and infants the following is the level of Erucic acid its is estimated dogs of varying weights could consume and have No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs)
2kg – 1.4g/day
4kg – 2.8g/day
10kg – 7g/day
15kg – 10.5g/day
25kg – 17.5g/day
50kg – 35g/day
Dogs eating Bonza intake levels of Erucic acid fall significantly below No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) findings in both EFSA and FSA findings.
Based on these findings, and that rapeseed oil also confers many benefits for both humans and animals – see here, we chose to include non-GMO rapeseed oil in our recipe
I know this is very technical but I thought your mail deserved a full explanation.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
So, in answer to the question ‘Is rapeseed oil safe for dogs’ the answer is yes as long as the levels fed, and the levels of Erucic acid consumed daily by bodyweight, do not exceed the levels found so safe as to be considered by the governmental food safety authorities that the risk is classified as ‘Negligible – so rare that it does not merit to be considered’
From the above you can see that our plant-based dog food contains levels of Erucic acid by an order of magnitude (20-46 times) less than the levels considered as No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) for the risk of myocardial lipidosis.
In formulating Bonza we took the utmost care in selecting our ingredients ensuring they were human-grade, safe according to all the science and approved by vets and nutritionists.