4 min read

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?


By Adam Lee-Smith

Published: 11/03/2023, edited: 11/03/2023

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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From classic snacks like cinnamon rolls to festive favorites like pumpkin spice, cinnamon is a common ingredient in many foods. It's popular worldwide and has been used in cooking for over 4,000 years. If you have cinnamon on your spice rack, you're probably wondering if you can incorporate it into your next batch of dog biscuits. 

So, can dogs eat cinnamon? The answer is yes, dogs can eat cinnamon in small quantitie. Cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs; however, eating large amounts of cinnamon can result in skin and digestive irritation. Cinnamon is not commonly included in dog treats or commercial dog food. It's also often confused with nutmeg, which is toxic to dogs. 

You should also note there are two main types of cinnamon: cassia cinnamon, which we commonly use in cooking, and Ceylon cinnamon, which is considered "true" cinnamon.

Read on to learn more about whether cinnamon is safe for dogs.

Do dogs like cinnamon?

Some dogs love cinnamon, while others don't like the taste of cinnamon. Just like their pet parents, dogs have different taste preferences, so there's no guarantee your dog will like cinnamon.

Dogs have fewer taste buds than humans and lack sweet taste receptors, so they won't be able to taste cinnamon's sweetness, which makes it so popular among people. The only way to know if your dog will like cinnamon is to let them try a tiny amount.

A bowl of powdered cinnamon and cinnamon sticks - Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?

Health benefits of cinnamon for dogs

Cinnamon is reported to have several health benefits for humans, including anti-inflammatory properties, lowering blood sugar levels, and protection against cancer. 

But is cinnamon healthy for dogs? Ceylon cinnamon is generally considered healthier for dogs than cassia cinnamon, as it contains less coumarin, a chemical compound found in plants that's toxic to dogs and humans in high doses. Therefore, you should opt to feed your dog Ceylon cinnamon instead of cassia cinnamon if possible, which can be found in health food stores and online. 

It's worth noting that while there are supposedly health benefits to feeding dogs cinnamon, there aren't many studies on the effects of cinnamon on a dog's health. Many reported benefits of cinnamon to dogs are anecdotal and inconclusive. 

Promotes heart health

One 2012 study suggests that cinnamon has a "protective effect on heart performance." The study fed ten young dogs cinnamon for two weeks and recorded the effects using an electrocardiogram

The study revealed that cinnamon seems to have a protective effect on a dog's heart, as it improved all parameters measured, including Q-T interval and P-R interval. However, this is a small study, and a larger investigation is needed to confirm its findings. 

Aids brain function

As cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, it may aid brain function, including memory and focus. Antioxidants also capture free radicals, which can help slow the development of dementia and premature aging. However, more studies need to be completed to prove these effects. 

Staves off fungal infections

Cinnamon has antibacterial properties, which may help stave off bacterial infections, including salmonella and listeria. It can also damage the cell membranes in yeast infections, which may benefit dogs that suffer from advanced or chronic yeast dermatitis

However, owners should not rely on cinnamon to treat or prevent infections and it should not be applied to the skin.

Nutritional information about cinnamon

Here's a breakdown of the nutritional value of cinnamon per teaspoon (3g) serving: 

  • Energy: 6 calories
  • Protein: 0.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2.1 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Sugar: 0.1 grams
  • Calcium: 26.1 milligrams
  • Manganese: 0.5 milligrams
  • Iron: 0.2 milligrams
  • Potassium: 11.2 milligrams

Source: MyFoodData

How much cinnamon can I give my dog?

The amount of cinnamon you can feed a dog depends on their size. As a general rule, a teaspoon of cinnamon shouldn't harm a dog. That said, if you have a small dog like a teacup Chihuahua, you may want to feed them less than a teaspoon. 

You should always mix cinnamon with your dog's food or treats, as your dog could inhale and choke on dry powdered cinnamon. Signs of cinnamon toxicity in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate

Contact your vet as soon as possible if your dog is showing signs that they've ingested too much cinnamon.

A tray of cinnamon rolls - Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?

Can I feed my dog cinnamon rolls?

Cinnamon rolls are one of the most common foods containing cinnamon. But can a dog eat a cinnamon roll? The answer is no; dogs can't eat cinnamon rolls. 

Cinnamon rolls are high in fats and sugars, which can harm a dog's health. Plus, they can contain raisins and may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol which are highly toxic to dogs.

Can I feed my dog cinnamon essential oils?

Cinnamon comes in three forms: powdered, stick, and essential oil. While feeding your dog small amounts of cinnamon powder and sticks is generally safe, it’s dangerous to feed them essential oils. 

Cinnamon essential oils are considered poisonous to dogs, whether ingested or applied on their skin. This is true of many common essential oils, including citrus, peppermint, and ylang-ylang. Consult your vet on how to use essential oils around your dogs safely.

Overall, cinnamon is safe to feed a dog in small amounts, and possibly benefits their health. Some studies show cinnamon can help protect a dog's heart. It's also high in antioxidants.

If possible, you should feed your dog Ceylon cinnamon vs cassia cinnamon, as it contains less of the toxic chemical compound coumarin. Avoid giving your dog cinnamon essential oils or pastries, and mix a teaspoon or less of cinnamon into their food for the best results, as a rare treat, if they enjoy the taste.

Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.

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