Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?

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You might be surprised to find cinnamon when looking at the ingredients in your dog's favorite treats. Cinnamon is non-toxic for dogs and may have some health benefits when fed in moderation. Of course, too much cinnamon can lead to various GI issues. However, in general, cinnamon is safe for dogs. So can dogs eat cinnamon? Yes, they can, but that doesn't mean they should. 

Is Cinnamon Good For Dogs?

As a pet parent, it's important to learn what dogs can and can't eat, so you might wonder, "Can a dog eat cinnamon?" Cinnamon is a spice that's non-toxic to dogs. You likely use it for baking or adding a little extra zing to your morning coffee, hot cocoa, or tea.

Benefits of cinnamon

Too much cinnamon can cause digestive and skin irritation.1 However, in general, cinnamon is safe for dogs in moderation, offering the following potential benefits: 

  • Antioxidants: Cinnamon contains antioxidants that can prevent free radical damage that contributes to aging. In addition, these antioxidants support overall health. 
  • Anti-inflammatory: Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and inflammation associated with sore joints. Of course, this is only when consumed; you should never rub cinnamon directly on your dog because it's harsh on the skin.
  • Regulates blood sugar: Cinnamon can help regulate your dog's blood sugar by lowering glucose levels and insulin resistance. Because it slows the absorption of sugar, it may prevent dangerous shifts in blood sugar levels. Of course, you should always consult a vet before sharing cinnamon or other human foods and spices with your dog, especially if they have diabetes or suffer from another underlying health issue. 
  • Freshens breath: Cinnamon can help freshen dog breath by breaking down food particles stuck in their teeth and acting as a natural deodorizer. 

Of course, while these health benefits may seem like enough reason to share cinnamon with your pup, it's not recommended. Even though cinnamon in moderation doesn't pose any serious health risks, there's no real value in giving some to your dog since they should already be getting all the nutrients they need from their regular diets. Of course, if you check the ingredients of your dog's favorite treats, you may see cinnamon, so while it's not recommended for you to sprinkle cinnamon on your dog's food, some treats may contain this non-toxic ingredient. 

While there are a few potential benefits of cinnamon for dogs, there are also a few risks. Even though eating a large quantity of cinnamon should not cause poisoning, it can contribute to mouth and digestive irritation. Meanwhile, inhaling the powder can cause difficulty breathing, choking, and coughing.1 Therefore, keeping cinnamon powder away from your dog is best because it can contribute to health problems. 

If your dog consumes a large quantity of cinnamon, consult your vet immediately. While they shouldn't experience severe side effects, they may experience uncomfortable digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, dogs may experience a cinnamon overdose, depending on how much they consume and their size. There are risks associated with feeding your dog any foods that may contain cinnamon since it’s a common ingredient in baked goods. 

How Much Cinnamon Can Dogs Have?

Feeding your dog cinnamon is not recommended because it doesn't give them any real nutritional benefits. Instead, you can feed them treats for dogs that contain cinnamon as one of the many ingredients. 

In general, dogs can eat small amounts of cinnamon, but some dogs are more sensitive to it than others, resulting in GI upset. In most cases, a teaspoon of cinnamon powder should not affect your dog, depending on their size. Still, you should always consult your vet before feeding your dog something new. 

Cinnamon products to avoid

Cinnamon Products To Avoid

Cinnamon is one ingredient of many in different foods and household items. While cinnamon is safe for dogs in small quantities, there are products you should avoid at all times, including:

  • Baked goods
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Essential oils

Baked Goods

If you have a habit of feeding your dog table scraps or sharing snacks with them, you should consider the other ingredients in the food item. 

Cinnamon is typically a spice used in baked goods, including cinnamon rolls. However, while cinnamon is non-toxic, the other ingredients can be. Typically, baked goods and candy contain high amounts of other toxic ingredients, like chocolate, cocoa, added sugar, and sugar substitutes like xylitol, which are harmful to your dog's health and can lead to weight gain and toxicosis. 

You already know the harmful effects of chocolate for dogs, but one ingredient many people don't talk about enough is xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute in many household food products, including peanut butter and baked goods. Because there are benefits of xylitol for humans, it can be found in virtually anything. However, while xylitol is safe for humans, it's extremely poisonous to dogs. Signs of xylitol poisoning include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Tremors 
  • Coma 

Therefore, it's best to avoid feeding your dog any products that might contain xylitol or sugar substitutes. If you believe your dog has consumed any amount of xylitol, you should consult a vet as soon as possible because this ingredient can be deadly. 

Of course, many foods containing cinnamon also have other unhealthy ingredients and are full of fat and sugar. Therefore, you should avoid feeding your dog baked goods because they can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and associated health problems. 

Another ingredient to consider is nutmeg, which is often used in the same food and drink products as cinnamon. Nutmeg is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, dry mouth, fast heart rate, and difficulty walking.2 Nutmeg and cinnamon are common in baked goods, such as pumpkin pie and other pumpkin-spiced beverages or foods. Both contain myristicin, a natural compound in many herbs and spices, which has been used as an insecticide.3 However, when consumed in high doses, it can lead to harmful side effects. 

To keep your dog safe, avoid feeding them any baked goods because they may contain toxic ingredients. Cinnamon rolls and bread are especially dangerous because they may contain fat, sugar, butter, nutmeg, raisins, and xylitol. However, even without toxic ingredients like nutmeg and xylitol, baked goods aren't healthy for dogs because of their high fat and sugar content, which can contribute to various health issues ranging from diabetes to pancreatitis.4

Cinnamon Sticks

You might think that because cinnamon is safe for dogs that cinnamon sticks are. However, cinnamon sticks contain a lot of cinnamon that takes time to break down. Therefore, when you feed your dog a few sprinkles of cinnamon powder, they're not putting a large quantity in their mouth. However, cinnamon sticks are large enough to harm your dog's mouth and digestive tract. Since these sticks can be chewed on or held in the mouth, your dog will consume too much cinnamon at once, which may result in painful mouth and stomach irritation. 

Essential Oils

In addition to food products, you should never let your dog consume cinnamon essential oil, which can be toxic to them.1 Cinnamon essential oil is typically used topically on humans to alleviate aches and pains. However, it's not safe for dogs. 

This essential oil is one of the most toxic for dogs and should never be ingested or used on their skin. If you have any products around the home that may contain cinnamon oil, such as candles, diffusers, or even drinks, you should try to keep them away from your dog. In addition, inhaling cinnamon essential oils can irritate your dog's lungs, and applying it directly on the skin can result in burns. 

Cinnamon is nontoxic to dogs but should only be fed in moderation

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs have a taste of cinnamon?

Dogs can try cinnamon in small amounts, but you shouldn't feed it to them regularly. While cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs, there's no benefit to them eating it. We mentioned some potential benefits of feeding your dog cinnamon earlier, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and blood sugar regulation. However, if you're concerned about your dog's health, there are better, healthier proven alternatives. For example, if your dog has diabetes, they'll need insulin; using alternative treatments at home could be dangerous to them. 

Therefore, there's really no reason to share cinnamon with your dog, especially if it's just one ingredient in a food item that may contain several harmful ingredients. That being said, many dog treats contain cinnamon in small amounts that are safe for them and may offer some of the health benefits we discussed earlier. Other than that, there's no reason to sprinkle cinnamon on your dog's kibble. 

Can dogs eat cinnamon cookies?

Dogs should never eat baked goods, including cinnamon cookies, cake, or donuts. While cinnamon in baked goods may not be harmful to your dog, baked goods often contain several other ingredients that can be toxic, including raisins, nuts, cocoa, nutmeg, and xylitol. 

Of course, even if, for some reason, your cinnamon cookies don't contain these ingredients, they can still be harmful to your dog's health. Baked goods are high in fat, sugar, and carbs. Of course, your dog needs all of these things in their diet, but they should already get all the calories, carbs, fat, sugar, fiber, and other nutrients they need from their regular dog food. Giving your dog additional sugar and fat throughout the day can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and other potentially life-threatening illnesses. Therefore, it's always best to keep your baked goods away from your dog, even if the ingredients themselves aren't toxic. 

Pet owner petting her dog on kitchen floor

Final Notes

Can dogs eat cinnamon? Technically, yes, they can. However, it's not beneficial for them. However, if their dog food or treats contain cinnamon, they're safe for your pet. When asking, "Can my dog eat cinnamon?" it's also important to note that large quantities of this spice can cause digestive irritation, resulting in unpleasant side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. While cinnamon is safe for dogs, we don't recommend sharing any with them. Remember cinnamon is a spice often used to help make food taste better, but your dog doesn’t need their food to taste better. Instead, if you have a picky eater, you can try food toppers with beneficial ingredients. 

There are plenty of healthy human foods you can share with your pet, but you should discuss introducing new food into your pet's diet with a vet. Consult a Dutch vet to learn more about dog diet and nutrition to ensure you're feeding your dog a balanced diet and only sharing healthy food with them. 

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References

  1. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?” American Kennel Club, 9 Aug. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-cinnamon/.

  2. “When Pumpkin Spice Is Not so Nice.” ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/news/when-pumpkin-spice-not-so-nice.

  3. Reisen, Jan. “Can Dogs Eat Nutmeg?” American Kennel Club, 29 Nov. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-my-dog-eat-nutmeg/.

  4. “Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-cinnamon.

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