Cinnamon is a decadent spice most of us enjoy in baked goods, holiday drinks, and even savory dishes. For humans, cinnamon has many health benefits like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and it can lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers. But, can dogs eat cinnamon, too?
Logically, it’s not a far leap to assume that your dog might benefit from these properties as well.
So, can dogs eat cinnamon?
Is Cinnamon Safe for Dogs to Eat?
No, dogs shouldn’t consume cinnamon. While there is nothing inherently toxic in cinnamon, its consumption can lead to some less than ideal results in dogs.
What to Avoid
You may think cinnamon is bad for dogs because loose powder can obstruct their airways, but cinnamon can cause problems for dogs even when cooked in other dishes.
Avoid giving your dog raw cinnamon powder, cinnamon sticks, or food that contains cinnamon. However, if your dog does consume a food that contains cinnamon, such as baked goods, it likely won’t cause serious issues.
Potential Risks of Cinnamon for Dogs
Now you know the answer to “Is cinnamon bad for dogs?” But what are the reasons behind this? Several issues may result if a dog eats cinnamon.
Firstly, the types of oils in cinnamon may irritate your dog’s mouth and make them feel uncomfortable and even ill.
Secondly, because cinnamon affects blood pressure and insulin absorption, it may drop your dog’s blood sugar levels. In turn, your dog could experience an increase or decrease in heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting, and, with prolonged exposure, liver disease.
Additionally, giving dogs, or people for that matter, anything in a granular or powder form invites the risk of accidental inhalation. Inhaling powders like cinnamon can lead to coughing, difficulty breathing, respiratory distress, and choking.
The Real Problem with Cinnamon
As stated earlier, cinnamon is not toxic for dogs, and while it may have adverse effects, the issue lies in quantity.
While it’s best to avoid giving your dog any cinnamon, trace amounts aren’t likely to pose any risk. If you give your dog lots of cinnamon, then you can expect an unhappy dog and probably several messes to clean later.
The other main issue with cinnamon is the foods it’s used in conjunction with. In a cinnamon bun, for instance, there may be nutmeg or raisins, both of which are toxic to dogs.
Cinnamon is also often found in confectionery and treats, things that are likely to contain chocolate. Chocolate is very harmful to dogs.
Some treats that include cinnamon might also include macadamia nuts, which are another big no-no.
There are some human foods that dogs can eat safely, as well as some human foods dogs can’t eat.
If you have a dog, you might be used to seeing adorable puppy eyes begging for a bite of, well, anything that you happen to be eating.
While it’s natural to want to share human food with your furry pal, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Some reasons foods may be harmful to your pup include:
- Foods that are a problem due to our physiological differences (foods we can handle that a dog’s stomach can’t)
- Other foods aren’t toxic, but are still potentially dangerous for dogs because they are hard to digest
- Another category of foods that are a problem for dogs are foods that may contain high levels of fat
Some tips and words of caution if you are feeding your pet human foods:
- Always keep in mind that new foods of any kind, including switching to a different dog food, can cause stomach upset.
- When you find a human food you’d like to share with your pup, go slowly. Give small amounts at first and watch for any problems like vomiting or diarrhea before giving more.
- Remember that treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So all of the foods that are safe for your dog should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and nutrient excesses and deficiencies.
What To Do if Your Dog Eats Something He Shouldn’t
Now that you know what foods are safe for dogs, it’s a good idea to know what to do if your pup eats food that’s toxic to dogs.
If your dog does end up eating something he shouldn’t, try not to panic. You have a few options for getting the help your dog needs:
- The first is to call your dog’s veterinarian, who can advise you to either come into the office or to watch for signs of poisoning, obstruction, or other potential problems.
- If it’s after hours, you can try calling an emergency veterinarian.
- Another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
In some cases, you might be told to induce vomiting in your dog. It is helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case you need to do this.
Do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or someone from one of the pet poison control hotlines advises you to do so, however, because in some cases, vomiting can make the situation worse. [efn_note]Is it ever safe to induce vomiting? ASPCA.org. November 19, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2021.[/efn_note]
While you may want your dog to share the potential benefits of cinnamon, and it isn’t technically toxic, it’s not ideal for your dog to eat cinnamon, especially in large quantities. So, the answer to “Can dogs eat cinnamon?” is no, but it’s probably not the end of the world if your pup snags a cinnamon bun from the counter – as long as it doesn’t contain any other ingredients that could be harmful.
It’s a good idea to avoid giving your dog anything that contains cinnamon as it can cause immediate and long-term health issues.
If you’re looking for more information about which human foods are (and aren’t) safe for your dog to eat, check out our series of guides below:
Obviously you’re interested in the quality of your dog’s food and your pet’s overall health in addition to having questions about what your dog can and can’t eat. We happen to have a ton of resources on that very topic!
One is our answer to the question what is a high fiber diet for a dog?, along with or our guide to choosing the best highest fiber dog food. If you’re seeing symptoms of stomach ache in dogs we have a guide for that as well, and we can even give you a sense of your dogs digestion time. If you’re portioning your dog’s food you can also check out our guide to choosing the best dog auto feeder.
We also have a series of health and nutritional information for your dog. Our dog growth calculator can help you answer “how big will my dog get?“, and our guide to the average dog weight can help you determine if your dog is the proper weight and size, and we even have a collection of breed-specific growth charts to help you determine things like the weight when you have a goldendoodle (full size), great dane (full size), golden retriever (full size), chihuahua (full size), or labrador (full size).