How Safe Is Canola Oil for Pets?

April 16, 2015

Many commercial dog and cat foods today use canola oil in their products and until recently, I thought it was an ok ingredient.  Like so many products that manufacturers consider safe but really aren’t, canola oil has a very checkered past.

According to the truthaboutpetfood.com website, canola is not safe for pets.  It is a genetically modified product derived from rafeseed oil, which is predominantly used in China, Japan, and India.  In Canada, plant breeders developed a genetic manipulation of rapeseed oil to make it a more palatable and supposedly safer product, and the name was changed to canola oil.  (truthaboutpetfood.com/canola-oil-in-pet-foods-is-it-healthy/)

However, that website mentions an article by the Weston A. Price Foundation quoting several studies about the negative effects of canola oil on the cardiovascular system and that it caused a Vitamin E deficiency, undesirable platelets and shortened life-span in stroke-prone rats when it was the only oil used in their diets.  They also considered it to retard growth, which is why the FDA doesn’t allow the use of canola oil in baby formula.

There were other studies that also declared canola oil not safe, including stating that canola oil is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an approved pesticide.  (http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/index_cd.htm#c)

And yet, in 2006, the FDA permitted the United States Canola Association to claim they have permission for the following:  “Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 ½ tablespoons of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in canola oil.  To achieve this possible benefit, canola oil is to replace a similar amount of unsaturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day….”
(http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qhccanol.html)

According to www.naturalnews.com, canola oil can have a “detrimental effect on your health, especially the genetically modified canola oil that Monsanto so conveniently manufactures for the masses to consume…”

Rapeseed does not magically turn into canola oil as we know it.  It is cleaned with a chemical component. “The Omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed during the deodorizing process into trans fatty acids.”   The erucid acid which rapeseed oil and thereby canola oil contain is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.

So…if canola oil is not good for humans, it certainly isn’t good for our pets.  I learned something new with this that could impact my family’s health and I certainly want to keep my pets safe.  No canola oil in this house in the future!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

TinaB February 8, 2016 at 4:43 am

Among any facts, you have regurgitated some long-held misconceptions, misinformation, and myths about canola oil. The Weston A. Price site was a major contributor to undeserved negative propaganda and consumer “panic” regarding canola oil. The following post by “a veteran of holistic veterinary medicine and nutrition” has provided a balanced analysis of canola oil that you might find quite helpful: http://vetnutrition.blogspot.com/2012/10/canola-oil-safety.html

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Carol North February 8, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Tina, the holistic vet who wrote the article you share above clearly says that ” I am convinced of the safety and sustainability of the oil as long as it comes from a reputable organic producer (which is admittedly harder and harder to find…” The average consumer is not going to hunt down an organic source for canola oil. He also says ” I am convinced of the safety and sustainability of the oil as long as it comes from a reputable organic producer (which is admittedly harder and harder to find.” I stand by the information presented in my original article because most consumers, myself included, will buy their canola oil from the supermarket. Thank you for your comment and I always welcome information related to anything I write. Carol North

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Ali June 30, 2017 at 1:49 am

Is canola oil not better than chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)? I was under the impression that chicken fat in pet foods was rendered, which was pretty terrible, so canola oil was a better alternative. Not sure what to think but curious as to what you think about that.

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Carol North June 30, 2017 at 2:17 am

Ali, not all rendered foods are bad. It depends on the process used, the regulations followed by the manufacturer and ingredients that go into making the pet food. True organic manufacturers will use clean processes that assure you the food did not derive from a rendering plant that allows dead pets, supermarket wastes and more to go into their vats. That said, chicken fat is ok. If the fat is a named fat, no problem However, if it said “poultry fat,” that would not be acceptable. The article says it all about canola oil, but let me emphasize that most canola oil today derives from genetically modified plants. GMO plans are sprayed with poisons to control the weeds and insects. This is also true of most of the wheat and corn grown in the U.S. Humans can eat a bowl of cereal and won’t be bothered by GMO grains. But dogs and cats eat the same food twice a day for all their lives and there has to be a build-up in the body of what they consume. I would be very concerned about my pet eating a food using canola oil, as well as other GMO grains.

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