Can Dogs Have Cinnamon?

Julia Henriques
can dogs have cinnamon

There’s nothing like a sprinkle of cinnamon to spice up your favorite dish or warm beverage. This spice has been long celebrated for its aromatic properties and unique taste. 

But what about your dog? Can dogs have cinnamon too? 

The answer is yes, dogs can have cinnamon in moderation. 

However, there are a handful of risks you need to know about before you share cinnamon with your pup. Read on to get the full scoop on cinnamon for dogs.

Is Cinnamon Bad For Dogs?

Let's get straight to the point: no, cinnamon itself is not toxic to dogs. 

However, you still need to navigate any food with some caution and understand the potential risks involved for your dog. Moderation and observation are always wise whenever you introduce new foods to your dog’s diet, and this spice is no exception.

We’ll walk you through some of the risks in a bit, but in moderation cinnamon is safe for the vast majority of dogs. In fact, it can offer some potential benefits. 

Benefits Of Cinnamon For Dogs

Cinnamon contains certain compounds that may offer health benefits for dogs. 

Here are a few ways that cinnamon may be advantageous for your pup’s health:

  1. Cinnamaldehyde: Cinnamaldehyde is the main active compound in cinnamon, and it’s what give it that distinct flavor and aroma. It also exhibits antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that cinnamaldehyde may help reduce oxidative stress and support cellular health. 
  1. Other Antioxidants: Cinnamaldehyde isn’t the only antioxidant in cinnamon. The spice also contains vitamin C, polyphenols,  and proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants can potentially eliminate free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. 
  1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some studies suggest that the compounds in cinnamon can help support a normal inflammatory response, which may benefit flexibility and mobilty.
  1. Blood Sugar Regulation: Cinnamon has been associated with improving insulin sensitivity and aiding in the regulation of blood sugar levels. This could be helpful if your pup has diabetes or is at risk of developing the condition. However, if you have a diabetic dog who’s on insulin or other diabetes medications, check with your vet first. 
  1. Freshening Breath: Let’s not forget: cinnamon's natural scent can help freshen your dog's breath! That’s why it’s a popular ingredient in certain dental products for dogs.

How Much Cinnamon Can A Dog Have?

While cinnamon can offer the potential benefits above, it's still important to use it in moderation, so be careful not to over-use it in your dog's diet.

As a general guideline, a small to medium-sized dog can typically handle around 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon per day,while larger dogs may tolerate slightly more. However, it's important to start with a smaller amount and observe how your dog reacts before gradually increasing the dosage.

Don’t give your dog more than 1 tsp of cinnamon. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, this amount can cause adverse reactions (see below). Remember, the appropriate amount of cinnamon for your dog depends on various factors, including your dog's size, overall health, and individual sensitivity.

Is Cinnamon Safe For Dogs? Risks You Need To Know

We don’t generally think of this lovely spice as being risky. And for the most part, it isn’t.  But … there are still a few things to keep in mind to ensure your dog's wellbeing:

How Much Cinnamon Is Too Much?

The Pet Poison Helpline warns that more than one teaspoon of cinnamon powder can cause reactions like coughing, choking or difficulty breathing. Too much cinnamon can also cause low blood sugar, digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting, and heart rate changes. While toxicity isn’t likely to be fatal, try to make sure your dog doesn’t get into the spice cabinet and help himself.

Allergies And Sensitivities

Dogs, like humans, can have individual allergies or sensitivities to certain foods. Although cinnamon allergies in dogs usually aren’t severe, it can be irritating to your pup. So introduce cinnamon slowly and watch for any adverse reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, or skin irritation. If you notice any negative symptoms, stop giving cinnamon and consult your veterinarian.

Artificial Cinnamon Products

Many people ask us: can dogs have ground cinnamon? The answer is yes! The best cinnamon for dogs is plain, organic cinnamon powder (ideally Ceylon cinnamon – see below), which you can add to whole foods like sweet potato, or to occasional treats like these safe fruits for dogs

But beware artificial cinnamon products. Avoid giving your dog cinnamon-flavored treats or foods that contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other potentially harmful ingredients. Stick to natural, plain cinnamon powder.

Essential Oils And Cinnamon Extracts

Never use cinnamon essential oils or extracts on your dog's skin or internally, and don’t let him sniff them either. These concentrated forms can be toxic to dogs and should be kept out of their reach. Both ingestion (including by inhalation) and skin exposure can be poisonous. Cinnamon essential oil is a “hot” oil that can irritate the skin, mouth, and digestive system, and could even lead to liver damage.

Because of these risks, many people ask: is cinnamon bad for dogs to smell? It’s generally safe for dogs to smell cinnamon powder or sticks, or foods with cinnamon in them. Many dogs are actually attracted to the warm and comforting scent of cinnamon. However, do not let your dog smell cinnamon essential oil, which is extremely potent. Just sniffing cinnamon essential oil can be harmful.

Some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain smells, including cinnamon. If your dog reacts negatively to the smell of cinnamon, don’t give it to him.  

Choose Ceylon Cinnamon

Buy Ceylon cinnamon if you can. It’s safer for dogs than cassia cinnamon, which contains higher levels of coumarin. Coumarin can potentially cause liver damage in dogs. So when using cinnamon for dogs, opt for organic Ceylon cinnamon to minimize the risk.

Nutmeg Is Toxic

Now that you’ve got the scoop on the pros and cons of cinnamon for dogs, you might assume all spices are safe for dogs ... especially if they're similar to cinnamon. 

Not so fast. Nutmeg, another common cooking and baking spice, often used in conjunction with cinnamon, is not safe for dogs. It contains myristicin, which in dogs can cause serious harmful reactions, including high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased heart rate, abdominal pain, or even seizures.

So just because cinnamon is safe for dogs, don’t assume that’s the case for other spices. 

Cinnamon For Dogs: Other Natural Health Uses

The benefits of cinnamon for dogs go beyond eating it.  Cinnamon can be used in a couple of other ways to benefit your dog:

Worm Prevention
There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that cinnamon may help prevent intestinal worms in dogs. But relying on cinnamon is not a standalone strategy for deworming. Instead, the best approach is to feed an optimized diet, and to combine cinnamon with other natural ways to get rid of worms.  

DIY Dog Treats
If you enjoy making dog treats, you can incorporate a touch of cinnamon into your recipes. There are numerous dog-friendly recipes available that include cinnamon as a flavorful addition. Just be mindful of the overall ingredients and avoid using excessive amounts of cinnamon.

Bottom Line | Can Dogs Have Cinnamon Safely?

So, can dogs have cinnamon? The answer is yes, as long as you feed it with caution and moderation.

Cinnamon's potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and breath freshening effects may benefit your dog. However, individual sensitivities, allergies, and the type of cinnamon you use are important factors.

Cinnamon essential oil is not safe for dogs, and should be avoided. 

Use cinnamon with caution, and you can safely incorporate this spicy delight into your furry friend's life!

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© 2024, Four Leaf Rover - The content on this website is not meant to replace veterinary advice. Please support the hard working holistic vets who make this information possible. To find a holistic or homeopathic vet near you or to find one who will do phone consultations, visit The Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy.