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Can Dogs Have Cinnamon? All You Need To Know

Last Updated - April 20, 2022

Cinnamon is in many baked goods and savory dishes like chicken and lamb, so it's very likely that your dog might want a bite. It can be hard to say no to puppy dog eyes begging for a taste of your cinnamon roll. You may wonder, is cinnamon safe for dogs to eat cinnamon? Is cinnamon good or bad for dogs?

Below, we'll discuss whether dogs can eat cinnamon, what risks you should be aware of, and how to best go about adding cinnamon to your dog's diet.

Can Dogs Have Cinnamon?

Yes, it is safe and non-toxic for dogs to eat cinnamon! As long as your dog eats a small amount, cinnamon poses no major issues for dogs and even has many health benefits! But always focus on feeding your dog pet food and treat them with cinnamon once in a while. And there is one type of cinnamon that is preferable to others.

Two Types of Cinnamon

There are two types of cinnamon most frequently found in grocery stores: Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. 

Cassia cinnamon grows in China. It's dark brown, rougher in texture, and forms thicker cinnamon sticks. Ceylon cinnamon is from Sri Lanka, and it is lighter and tastes sweeter. Cassia cinnamon is cheaper and more common to find than Ceylon, and you typically have to turn to specialty food stores to find Ceylon cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon is the best choice for dogs because it has lower levels of coumarin. Coumarin is known to be toxic to a human's kidneys and liver if eaten in large quantities. It's unknown if coumarin is toxic to dogs, but if you have the option, try to use Ceylon cinnamon.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Not only is it safe to let dogs eat cinnamon, but it also provides many health benefits! A dog's diet is complete without needing to add cinnamon, but it does provide some nutritional value. Here are some of the benefits of cinnamon for dogs:

Anti Inflammatory Properties

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, with Sri Lankan cinnamon's most potent anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory properties can help ease sore muscles, reduce swelling, and alleviate joint pain. An old dog with arthritis may really benefit from a little cinnamon added to its food.

Antioxidants

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and may reduce the risks of many diseases. Including antioxidants can protect both humans and canines from neurological disorders while helping improve brain functions like focus and memory. 

Improve Heart Health

It has been shown in a study conducted specifically on dogs that cinnamon lowers their heart rate and systolic blood pressure.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Even just half a teaspoon of cinnamon added to your dog's food helps to lower insulin resistance and encourage low blood sugar levels. However, you should never use cinnamon to replace medicines used to regulate blood sugar, but they are a good help.

Anti Fungal Properties

Many studies have shown cinnamon has strong anti-fungal properties. The natural anti-fungal properties of ground cinnamon can be used to combat ringworm and yeast infections.

Antibacterial Properties

Since cinnamon prevents the growth of bacteria, adding cinnamon to leftover food before putting it in the fridge will slow down spoilage.

dog and cinnamon

The Downside of Eating Cinnamon

Cinnamon is safe for dogs to eat, but some things to keep in mind. All of these are minor irritations that will resolve themselves quickly.

Gastrointestinal Irritation

If your dog eats a large amount of cinnamon powder, it can have irritation in the stomach, cause digestive upset, and lead to diarrhea.

Mouth Irritation

Some humans and pets have skin that is sensitive to cinnamon. Inhaling cinnamon powder, cinnamon oils, or sticks can irritate the mouth. You may notice some skin irritation, presenting as a rash, around your dog's mouth. It will fade within a day or two. You can use various salves to soothe it while it heals.

Airway Irritation

If your dog inhales cinnamon powder while eating, it will result in a short-term bout of coughing, choking, and difficulty breathing.

Why You Need To Avoid Cinnamon Essential Oils

Cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder are safe for dogs, but the cinnamon essential oil is highly concentrated. It is very easy for dogs to eat too much cinnamon without even realizing it if it is ingested via essential oil. Symptoms of a cinnamon overdose include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Low blood glucose levels

  • Liver disease

  • Heart arrhythmia

If your dog has gotten into your essential oils and notices any of these symptoms, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.

How To Feed Your Dog Cinnamon

All you need is a half teaspoon added to your regular dog food to reap the health benefits of powdered cinnamon. It's as simple as that! Even for larger breeds of dogs, never serve more than one teaspoon a day. You can also find many recipes for cinnamon-baked treats specifically for pets. These baked treats will cut out the sugar, nuts, and other spices that human baked goods often contain, making them a healthy treat.

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Rolls?

Cinnamon may be safe for dogs, but all of the various cinnamon baked goods that pet parents enjoy should not be shared with dogs. Foods such as cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread, and cinnamon toast crunch cereal all contain ingredients and complementary spices that can be harmful and even dangerous to dogs. Some of these foods have high amounts of sugar, sugar alcohols, raisins, certain nuts, chocolate, cocoa powder, and nutmeg.

Avoiding Nutmeg In Baked Goods

Nutmeg and cinnamon are typically paired together in recipes. While cinnamon is safe for canine consumption, nutmeg is most decidedly not. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which can be toxic to dogs. A small amount of myristicin will only result in mild digestive irritation, but symptoms of myristicin poisoning include:

  • Disorientation

  • Increased heart rate

  • Dry mouth

  • Hallucinations

  • Abdominal Pain

  • Seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms of myristicin poisoning, you need to take your pet to the veterinarian straight away.

lara grisko the pet staff

About the Author

Lara Girsko

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

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