Q The fields surrounding my village have been filled with oilseed rape, playing havoc with my hayfever, but someone told me recently that it can be really dangerous for dogs and can cause burns on their skin. Is this right?
Wolfgang Dohne advises…
Rapeseed (Brassica napus) is listed by Dogs Trust as a poisonous plant and symptoms include haemolytic anaemia, blindness, damage to the nervous system, digestive disorders and breathing problems. Thankfully, most of these rather alarming conditions are only of concern if your dog has eaten these agricultural plants in some quantities, which doesn’t happen too often.
There have also been reports of skin lesions having been caused by some very sensitive dogs, affecting their eyes and paws after they have been running through fields of flowering rape. As this is something that is unlikely to make you very popular with the farmer anyway, I would suggest you stay clear of these crops and keep your dog on a lead, especially if he is known to have sensitive skin. Washing with a mild shampoo might be helpful after a walk if contact has been made and if in doubt, consult your vet if skin reactions occur