If you’re a dog owner who also happens to love cooking, the inevitable is bound to happen with your pup’s nose ending up where it least belongs. If this is commonplace in your household, you might wonder if dogs can eat cinnamon, and what happens if they inhale a little up their noses.
Thankfully, a small amount of cinnamon won’t have any lasting consequences on the health of your dog. That said, if you believe your dog has eaten a large amount of cinnamon or another toxic item, contact your veterinarian right away. The best pet insurance may cover an emergency exam.
You may have heard that cinnamon has potential health benefits for dogs. However, experts say there are better alternatives with fewer risks. Here’s how much cinnamon is safe for dogs to eat and what to do if your pup has gotten into cinnamon-flavored foods.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is safe for dogs when ingested in small amounts, and a dog that has inhaled a little powdered cinnamon shouldn’t require veterinary care, says Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinarian toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline.
However, dogs who eat too much cinnamon can have serious health problems.
Cassia cinnamon, grown in southeast Asia, is the most common type of cinnamon and the one that is likely at your local supermarket. It contains coumarin, a compound that can cause:
- Low blood sugar
- Liver damage
- Abnormal heart rate
Conversely, Ceylon cinnamon, also known as “true cinnamon” and primarily grown in Sri Lanka, contains very little coumarin, making it less of a risk for ingestion of toxic amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Sticks?
Like powdered cinnamon, cinnamon sticks in small amounts aren’t toxic to dogs. However, they are a choking hazard and can lead to irritation of the mouth and digestive system, says Dr. Abel Gonzalez, a veterinarian and a clinical director at Dutch, a veterinary telehealth service.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Oil?
Many essential oils and extracts, like cinnamon oil and extract, are toxic to dogs due to their high concentration. According to Schmid and Gonzales, cinnamon extract or essential oils can irritate dogs’ skin, eyes and gut. In severe cases, dogs who have ingested cinnamon oil may experience low blood sugar, liver disease, vomiting, diarrhea and changes in heart rate.
“Depending on the pet, a few drops of pure extract or oil may be enough to cause signs to develop,” Schmid says.
If you believe your dog has come in contact with or ingested cinnamon extract or essential oils or may have ingested a toxic amount of powered or stick cinnamon, you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) or ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435). They can help determine if the amount your dog was exposed to is toxic and if veterinary examination is needed. The board-certified veterinarians can also consult with your veterinarian to recommend the best treatments for your dog.
Keep in mind that these hotlines may incur consultation fees.
Can Puppies Have Cinnamon?
Introducing new foods to puppies should be done slowly and with caution. Puppies’ stomachs are more sensitive, and organs that are crucial for filtering toxins may not be fully developed, explains Schmid.
In other words, even a sprinkling of cinnamon on your puppy’s food isn’t necessary and could cause more harm than good.
It’s best to feed your puppy complete and balanced commercial puppy food, only adding supplements under the direction of your veterinarian, Gonzalez says.
How Much Cinnamon Can a Dog Eat?
According to Schmid, less than a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon is considered safe for adult dogs to eat. Just a few drops of cinnamon extract can be toxic to pets.
How To Safely Feed Cinnamon to Dogs
Cinnamon is a popular holiday spice, and it’s even added to some commercial pet foods and treats, “because it can be appealing to dogs’ taste and is safe in small amounts,” Gonzalez says. He adds that cinnamon also helps mask pet food odors that are unpleasant to humans.
However, because cinnamon is harmful to dogs in large amounts, avoid adding powdered cinnamon to your dog’s food, and keep powdered and cinnamon sticks out of their reach.
Is Cinnamon Good for Dogs?
Cinnamon is safe for dogs in small amounts, but Gonzalez warns owners to approach the potential health benefits of cinnamon for dogs with caution.
Are There Health Benefits of Cinnamon for Dogs?
While some pet parents may have heard about the potential health benefits of cinnamon for dogs, it’s not typically recommended to add cinnamon to a dog’s diet unless advised by a veterinarian for a specific health condition.
For instance, Gonzalez says there is currently limited scientific evidence to support the claims that cinnamon can improve blood sugar regulation or reduce inflammation in dogs.
Other Foods Dogs Can Eat
While cinnamon may offer some antioxidant benefits for dogs, there are safer and more nutrient-rich foods available. Dog-safe fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants include blueberries, carrots and apples (without seeds). These foods are generally healthier and more enjoyable for dogs than cinnamon.
Other healthy snacks your dog might enjoy include:
- Bell peppers
- Cranberries (but skip the cranberry sauce!)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can dogs have cinnamon rolls?
Cinnamon rolls can be dangerous for dogs, says Dr. Abel Gonzalez, a veterinarian and a clinical director at Dutch, a veterinary telehealth service. They’re high in fat and sugar, which could cause an upset stomach. They may also contain toxic ingredients such as raisins or xylitol that may not be obvious to spot. If you believe your dog has eaten cinnamon rolls with raisins or xylitol, call your vet right away.
Can dogs have cinnamon sugar?
Cinnamon sugar isn’t a good treat for dogs, as it can lead to obesity, dental issues and diabetes. That said, if your dog consumes less than a teaspoon of cinnamon when snagging a bite or lick of cinnamon sugar, they likely won’t need to see an emergency vet.
Can dogs eat cinnamon toast crunch?
They’ll likely experience digestive upset such as vomiting or diarrhea, but a dog who eats cinnamon toast crunch likely won’t require veterinary care, says Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinarian toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline.
Can dogs eat cinnamon applesauce?
Plain applesauce is a safer choice for dogs than cinnamon applesauce, says Dr. Abel Gonzalez, a veterinarian and a clinical director at Dutch, a veterinary telehealth service.
While cinnamon applesauce typically has a minimal amount of cinnamon spice, it could contain other ingredients such as added such or xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat oatmeal with cinnamon?
“Oatmeal with a very small sprinkle of cinnamon could be safe for most dogs, but it’s best to serve plain cooked oatmeal to avoid any risks,” says Dr. Abel Gonzalez, a veterinarian and a clinical director at Dutch, a veterinary telehealth service.