Sugar, spice and everything nice – of all the distinct flavours available to us, cinnamon is perhaps among the most striking.
It’s strong, with a wonderfully unique scent, and that’s sure to be as tempting to the animal kingdom as it is pet owners worldwide, With that in mind, many responsible dog owners want to be sure their pets don’t get to eat any of the many human style foods that prove toxic to them.
So, can dogs eat cinnamon? They can – but as you’ll see from the below, it’s not altogether a recommended dietary staple.
Is cinnamon good for dogs?
The good news is that cinnamon is not toxic for dogs, but then again is not altogether packed with anything nutritionally beneficial to your pet either.
By and large, it’s a spice designed to enhance or flavour other products – although if your dog happens to eat cinnamon sticks or lick at some cinnamon oil, you likewise have nothing to fear.
However, the fact that cinnamon is a spice can bring with it its own complications, such as irritation of the mouth or skin in dogs.
While seldom altogether serious, your pet can find this a nuisance, and they may well teach themselves to avoid cinnamon because of this.
In its powdered form, cinnamon can rather irritate the nose of your dog too, giving him or her some aggressive sneezes as they try and clear the airways.
There’s no real incentive for a dog owner to offer cinnamon to their dog daily, or use it to flavour what they feed their pet.
There is no nutritional value or health benefits to cinnamon worth your dog’s time, and because of the potential for irritation as described, you might well find that using cinnamon to add to the flavour of your dog’s treats and meals simply isn’t worth the hassle.
Dangers of cinnamon for dogs
The main dangers of dogs eating cinnamon come from the potential for inflammation or irritation – especially in small dogs and young dogs.
Remember, it’s a spice that’s designed to be eaten with something else, rather than on its own.
Those who remember the ill-advised online fad of the cinnamon challenge from a few years back can likely attest to how bad an idea it is for anyone to eat cinnamon on its own.
However, there is nothing toxic for dogs in cinnamon that you need to worry about. It’s more the way in which your dog eats cinnamon that you ought to keep an eye on.
For example, if your dog eats cinnamon powder, he or she is quite likely to encounter sneezing and coughing, as well as a very dry mouth and a lot of discomfort.
Hopefully, that’s enough to deter your dog if you catch him or her eating cinnamon, but be ready with some water and reassurance nonetheless.
Cinnamon sticks are another way in which dogs might eat cinnamon that you should be watchful for.
Again, no long term harm or potential for poisoning your pet will come from eating this, nor from our dogs licking at cinnamon oil he or she might find around the home.
Rather, it’s more a case that large quantities of cinnamon all at once entering your dog’s body will cause irritation and potential skin rashes.
Your dog might scratch to excess trying to alleviate the problem, but it’d do them more good having you apply a damp towel to the irritated areas and letting the cool wet feeling alleviate the itching.
And of course, as with anything, your dog stands to suffer an upset tummy, complete with vomiting, if he or she eats far too much cinnamon. A bowl of water will help here.
Unfortunately, the health benefits of cinnamon or its effectiveness as a home remedy only applies to people, not to pets so much.
As such, cinnamon isn’t something you should necessarily be looking to give to your dog purposefully – it’s more that if your dog eats something with cinnamon in it, you can be assured he or she will be okay.
How much cinnamon can a dog eat daily?
Because cinnamon is a spice that we use to liven up our sweet treats, it’s not recommended that you go around handing out cinnamon sticks to your dog, even if they seem they could be fun to crunch on.
Cinnamon is quite a pronounced flavour and aroma, and the sensitivity that dogs have to things like this is far beyond what their human masters can perceive.
In other words, it could prove overwhelming, and certainly will cause irritation to the skin or the flesh within the mouth and stomach if eaten to excess.
Perhaps the question should instead be how much cinnamon can be enjoyed by your dog when it’s part of another kind of food.
Baked goods are a big example here, and those ought to be treated as a very infrequent treat indeed.
Your dog will likely enjoy the likes of a cinnamon bun or a cinnamon iced pastry very much, but this kind of snack is loaded with sugar, carbohydrates and other fats that make them disadvantageous to your dog’s health over the long term.
Cinnamon, unfortunately, has no health benefits to dogs that might offset this.
Feeding baked treats to your dog like cakes and pastry will, over the long term, increase their risk of weight gain, diabetes, overall obesity and even the likes of complications with their pancreas.
Naturally, your dog won’t realise this for themselves, and any pet owner knows how our pooches can be especially enterprising in trying to tell us how much they want to share our snacks.
But moderation is definitely key here.
The good news is, cinnamon is pretty much harmless for dogs in small doses or as encountered in other snacks, but there also isn’t really any reason why it should be part of your dog’s diet overall.
It’s just reassuring to know it isn’t toxic to your pet or risking their safety to eat it.
What to do if your dog eats cinnamon
Because cinnamon has nothing toxic to dogs within it, your pet isn’t at any mortal risk if he or she has eaten some cinnamon without your knowledge.
That not only includes cinnamon sticks or cinnamon powder that he or she may have knocked free from your spice rack, but also cinnamon buns or maybe even cinnamon flavoured cereal someone well-intentioned has fed your dog.
Only at a level of tremendous overindulgence will cinnamon present any risk to your dog, and those risks are more to do with irritation or sensitivity rather than any toxins or immediate health concerns.
However, it’s worth noting that cinnamon powder particularly can be quite uncomfortable for dogs after eating, not only because it can irritate their sensitive noses, but also because it is very absorbent in the mouth, drying out the tongue rather rapidly.
Keeping your dog well hydrated is always a good idea at the best of times, so keep their water bowl fresh and topped up, but also keep an eye on your dog if you know he or she has eaten a lot of cinnamon.
If you’re especially worried about irritation, inflammation or them getting a nasty bout of upset stomach, contact your vet.
They will be able to take you through the best ways that work for your individual dog – especially smaller dogs, who are even more sensitive – and will provide medication to help comfort your pup.
However, there’s something perhaps more concerning to pay attention to if your dog has sneaked into a bag of cinnamon buns or otherwise eaten cinnamon with baked goods.
However, that has nothing to do with the cinnamon itself, which at this point is just an element of flavouring.
It has to do with xylitol, an artificial sweetener that may have been added to baked goods, including cinnamon buns and the like, depending on the brand.
Definitely check the ingredients list of those treats thoroughly for xylitol, because it is quite toxic to dogs and will require immediate attention from your vet if it’s been consumed.
Again, this is not a hazard of cinnamon for dogs itself, but more a related side effect of the kinds of goodies cinnamon finds its way into.
Luckily, if reacted to immediately and calmly, your dog will be fine – but professional help is a must if you think your dog has eaten xylitol.
Cinnamon is a very distinct spice that adds a delicious taste to whatever it touches, but is also as inadvisable to eat on its own for dogs as it is for people.
Luckily, that is more due to its potential as an irritant than any toxic or poisonous content, so even if your dog overdoes it and eats cinnamon powder or cinnamon sticks, you need only watch for tummy upset or some itching.
Keep treats like cinnamon buns to a minimum though, and always check their ingredient lists for signs of anything that can affect your dog’s health long term – it’s the sugar and sweeteners, rather than the cinnamon, that is the dangerous part of those.