Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon? Here Are The Benefits!

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can dogs eat cinnamon

The short answer is yes! Dogs can eat cinnamon. Cinnamon is not toxic for dogs and there are some health benefits that can come along with it.  

As we move into the colder months, we typically see menus change into holiday-themed snacks and drinks. A commonly used ingredient is cinnamon.

But can dogs eat cinnamon without any potential risk? Just because it is non-toxic for our pets does not mean that they can have any type of food with cinnamon in it. There are still several things we have to consider. 

What Health Benefits Come From Cinnamon? 

Cinnamon is a beneficial spice for pets and humans. It can especially be useful to pets with joint problems, abnormal sugar levels, and weight issues.  

  • Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties 
    • Antioxidant 
    • Aids in heart disease
    • Aids in digestion and overall gut health
    • Good for obesity 
    • Good for joint pain/ arthritis 
  • Cinnamon can lower blood sugar
    • Can also lower blood pressure
    • Great for diabetitic pets 
    • Great for overweight or obese pets 
    • Weight loss 

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Safely? Is There A Catch? 

Of course, like everything, there is a catch. There are a few vital differences to understand.

First, there are essentially two types of cinnamon that we most commonly use, but only one is good for dogs. 

Ceylon is typically a lighter color and might be more difficult to find in grocery stores. However, it is the best option to give to our fur babies. 

Cassia cinnamon is the most commonly used one and can be found in nearly every grocery store. The problem with this variation is that it contains coumarin, which is toxic to dogs! Not so fun fact: cassia cinnamon has the highest concentration of coumarin in the diet [1]. A little of this stuff goes a long way. 

Coumarin has very severe side effects that can range from short-term to lifelong. The short term effects could be: 

  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea 

The lifelong effects can be: 

  • Damaged cognitive development
  • Liver damage
  • Promotes tumor formation and cancer 

Coumarin is also used in blood-thinning medications. If your pet has any blood-related disorder (Von Willebrand’s, thrombocytopenia, DIC, anemia, etc.) you want to especially stay away from giving them this kind of cinnamon! 

Ceylon Cinnamon (Yes!Cassia Cinnamon (No!) 

Second, cinnamon should not be served to a dog on its own. They shouldn’t be fed cinnamon sticks, powder, or in oil form.

Remember that cinnamon is a spice, which can be pretty intense for a dog to inhale directly. It can be tough on their nasal cavities, eyes, throat, and even their lungs.  

Cinnamon in the form of oil is the most irritable to a dog’s senses and should never be administered directly. Essential oils serve the greatest risk of lung and throat exasperation, choking, coughing, bloody nose, and dizziness. Although essential oils may be beneficial for us humans, it’s best we just stick to food for our dogs.   

Last but certainly not least, never give cinnamon to a pregnant dog! It can have adverse effects on their uterus. It would also be wise to consult your veterinarian before giving cinnamon to a puppy. 

Watch Out for Nutmeg! 

Nutmeg is toxic for dogs and is a commonly used ingredient with cinnamon. Notice how alike they look! It is imperative to know if there is nutmeg included in something you’re thinking about feeding to your dog. 

The toxin in nutmeg that affects our dogs is called myristicin. If small amounts are ingested, it could cause stomach issues like vomiting or diarrhea.

However, according to the Pet Poison Hotline, if large amounts are consumed, it can cause some extreme side effects such as:  

Symptoms of Myristicin Toxicity [2

  • Increased Heart Rate (Tachycardia) 
  • Increased Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Disorientation
  • Stomach pain
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Dry mouth

These symptoms can also last up to 48 hours. This is not a pain we want to put our pets through so it is best to be thorough and extra cautious with new snacks. 

SAFE Foods That Typically Have Cinnamon 

Since cinnamon is safe for our pups, there are several options to make them an easy, quick, nutritious snack. In the best-case scenario, making these snacks yourself is the healthiest choice to make.

Chop an apple, cook a sweet potato or mash a pumpkin and sprinkle some cinnamon on top! It’s as easy as that. They provide some wonderful health benefits too: 

  • Pumpkin
    • Aids in digestion
      • Fiber source
    • Great for a shiny coat
  • Sweet Potato 
    • Reduces risk of heart disease and cancer
    • Shiny coat
    • Good for stomach issues
    • Low in fat 
  • Apples
    • Vitamin A
      • Good for vision
    • Vitamin C
      • Boosts Immune system
    • Antioxidant
      • Reduces inflammation

Quick, Fun, Cinnamon Recipes To Try: 

You could add these mini-meals on top of their breakfast or dinner on a weekly basis or add them into their diet as an occasional enrichment snack. They also have minimal ingredients that can be used for multiple recipes! 

  • Chopped apples with honey and cinnamon
    • Remember to slice the apples into small enough pieces so that they can’t choke
    • Drizzle some honey and cinnamon on top
    • Serve! 
  • Mashed bananas with peanut butter and cinnamon 
    • In my opinion, any snack with peanut butter should be frozen to maximize your dog’s mental stimulation while they eat. Dogs like having a job to do! Especially when it involves food
    • Can freeze as ice cubes or popsicles, in a cup, on a lick mat, etc. 
    • Freeze for at least 12 hours  
  • Cinnamon apple and oat treats 
    • Oatmeal is a wonderful and healthy food to give to your dog. It is high in fiber and great for their stomachs. They do not need a lot though as it can be high in carbs. 
    • Make plain oatmeal (no flavors, sugar-free, etc.) by adding water and cooking
    • Simply add cinnamon into the oatmeal mix
    • Add sliced apples on top at the end 
    • You can also roll them into balls and freeze them for a fun and tasty task

UNSAFE Foods And Drinks Typically Associated With Cinnamon 

Due to the fact that cinnamon is not a main dish, it can be mixed with a lot of dangerous foods and drinks that our pets can get into. 

Crumb cakeCake in general is not safe for dogs. It contains too much sugar and dairy. This could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, obesity, diabetes and severe gingivitis, and dental disease.  
NutmegAs discussed above, nutmeg contains myristicin which is directly toxic to dogs. It has severe, long-lasting effects. 
Chocolate The chemical found in chocolate is called theobromine and is highly fatal to ingest. 
SnickerdoodlesCookies also contain high amounts of sugar as well as the butter and oils that go into baking them. A dog’s digestive system is not made for these types of additives and therefore will not tolerate them. 
CoffeeCoffee is very toxic for animals. Caffeine toxicity can start as soon as 30 minutes prior and last up to 12 hours [3]. It can be especially fatal for smaller and older dogs. 
EggnogEggnog is too thick of a drink for your dog to try. It contains heavy cream, milk, and butter that will cause severe indigestion. Not to mention if alcohol is added or not, which is absolutely not safe for your pet. 
Macadamia nuts  This specific kind of nut can do a lot of damage even when a small amount is ingested. They are high in fat and have symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness in the back legs [4].  
Sugar Sugar is very damaging to a dog’s overall dental health, which directly relates to their heart, kidney, and liver health as well. 

How Much Is The Right Amount To Give?

Now that we know that cinnamon is safe to feed, we have to wonder, what’s the limit? Referring back to the Pet Poison Hotline, a pet could face adverse effects after ingesting more than one teaspoon of cinnamon powder [5]. That’s not a very large amount to overdose on so it would be safest to use measurements when creating a treat. 

What Happens If My Dog Has More Than The Recommended Dose? 

Fortunately, cinnamon is not toxic to dogs so it is very unlikely for things to turn fatal. That would require an extremely high dose.

Worst comes to worst the symptoms of having too much cinnamon would cause indigestion such as vomiting and diarrhea, in severe cases, could lead to gastritis or pancreatitis. It could also affect your dog’s liver function and blood pressure. 

This occurrence is rare and you can always reach out to your local vet for questions and advice if you believe a real problem has arisen. 

The Bottom Line 

The bottom line is that cinnamon is a nice ingredient to add to your dog’s diet every now and then for some new flavor and health benefits.

Be mindful of what the cinnamon is added onto or mixed in with, especially nutmeg! Other than that feel free to occasionally treat your dog with some fun, yummy, easy-to-make snacks. 

Photo of author
Rachel Wood

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