Can dogs have cinnamon?

Yes, dogs can eat cinnamon and cinnamon is not toxic to dogs. Cinnamon is thought to have a variety of health benefits for humans, but can the same be said for dogs? 

Let’s look at what cinnamon is, how it can be used as an additive to a dog’s diet and the risks that cinnamon may cause to a dog’s health.

Table of Contents

Is cinnamon good for dogs?

It could be said that cinnamon can have some health benefits for both humans and dogs, and the ingredient cinnamaldehyde is the secret behind these claims. 

Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help treat a variety of health conditions and ailments in humans including digestive issues, blood sugar control and bronchitis and cinnamon may have beneficial qualities for your dog, including: 

Natural anti-inflammatory

Cinnamon can act as a natural anti-inflammatory. This can help to aid with conditions such as arthritis, joint pain and inflamed muscles.

Antioxidants

Cinnamon contains a high level of natural antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect cells found within the body from being damaged. 

Antioxidants can help to support brain function, heart function and help to support the immune system.

Anti-fungal properties

Cinnamon contains anti-fungal properties that can be beneficial to a dog’s health, particularly those that suffer from allergies. 

Cinnamon can also help to stop the growth of yeast, salmonella and listeria

Contribute to a healthy heart

Cinnamon can help to support a dog’s circulatory system. 

It is thought that cinnamon can help to lower a dog’s blood pressure, reducing the amount of stress that hypertension (increased blood pressure) places on the heart.

Influences blood sugar levels

Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in dogs. Often seen in dogs who suffer from diabetes, hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) is often seen post food ingestion. 

The pancreas then secretes insulin to help break down these blood sugars. Cinnamon can help to better regulate blood sugars and levels of glucose within the body. 

Cinnamon should not be used as an insulin alternative.

Whilst cinnamon can be a great supportive supplement to help with ailments, it should never be used as an alternative to prescription medication. Always seek advice from a veterinary surgeon before using cinnamon to help supplement your dog’s diet. 

Cinnamon should not be used as a sole treatment for health conditions.

Can dogs eat cinnamon essential oils?

No, dogs should not ingest any essential oils, including cinnamon. Essential oils come in a variety of scents and are commonly used in air diffusers or rubbed onto the users skin.

Essential oils are claimed to treat anxiety and skin ailments in humans, but these should not be used or ingested by our furry friends.

In some instances, air diffusers can be used around animals in treatments such as aromatherapy, but this should only be done when advised or supervised by a professional.

Some essential oils can be toxic to dogs when consumed, inhaled or used on the skin, with cinnamon being one of these toxic oils.

Dogs that have come into contact with cinnamon essential oils may display symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Liver failure
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing if inhaled

If you think that your dog has eaten any essential oil, then contact your veterinary surgery immediately for further advice.

Treatment for essential oil ingestion will often consist of blood tests, intravenous fluid therapy (a drip) and prolonged veterinary hospitalization. Supportive medications may also be required.

Will cinnamon hurt dogs?

Whilst cinnamon may not necessarily hurt dogs, it can cause issues if too much is ingested or inhaled. If a dog chews a cinnamon stick, this presents hazards such as choking, ingestion of cinnamon stick shards, and possible breathing difficulties.

Cinnamon may cause irritation to your dogs mouth, oesophagus and trachea, all of which can be unsettling for your dog and may require veterinary attention.

Inhaling cinnamon powder can cause irritation to your dogs mouth, nose, and lungs causing them to choke, cough and have difficulty breathing. 

If you are at all concerned about your dog after they have inhaled any form of cinnamon, always speak to your veterinarian for advice.

Can dogs eat nutmeg?

No, dogs should not eat nutmeg. Nutmeg is a spice that is often used in conjunction with cinnamon, or used as an alternative. 

Nutmeg contains a toxic compound called myristicin that can cause a variety of health problems in dogs if ingested. Symptoms can continue up to 48 hours post ingestion, with as little as 1 teaspoon being enough to cause a reaction. 

Symptoms post nutmeg ingestion can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypertension (increased blood pressure)
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Ataxia (loss of balance)
  • Seizures

If you think your dog has ingested nutmeg, contact your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible. 

Whilst small amounts of nutmeg may only cause mild reactions, such as vomiting and diarrhea, professional advice should always be sought after.

Adding cinnamon to a dog's diet

If you want to add cinnamon to your dog’s diet, you should always ask your veterinary surgeon for their opinion first. 

They may have research that suggests a particular dosage amount of cinnamon depending on your dog’s weight. Likewise, they may have an alternative diet additive that may suit your dog better depending on what condition you are aiming to relieve.

Adding cinnamon to your dog’s diet is not as easy as sprinkling powdered cinnamon onto your dog’s food. This may make them reluctant to eat due to the smell, or cause issues such as coughing and sneezing.

If your dog eats wet food, then a small amount could be sprinkled onto the food and then mixed into the food itself. This may make it more appetizing and less likely to cause a negative reaction.

It may be safer to include a small amount of cinnamon into a dog friendly cookie recipe. Ensure that the recipe is safe for dog consumption and does not contain high levels of sugar, or other toxic ingredients such as chocolate or raisins.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that including cinnamon into your dog’s diet in small quantities may not actually provide much of a health benefit per dose. 

It may require multiple small doses of cinnamon throughout a day in order for your dog to actually benefit from the cinnamon.

Generally, it is thought that any amount over one teaspoon of cinnamon is enough to cause adverse reactions in dogs such as vomiting and diarrhea.

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice commonly used in baking as well as in savoury dishes such as curries or tagines. The spice is extracted from the bark of a tree that is part of the Cinnamomum family. 

It has a highly aromatic scent and distinct flavour. Cinnamon can come in a variety of different forms, such as powdered cinnamon, cinnamon sticks and even a cinnamon essential oil. 

Cinnamon is native to South America, Asia and the Caribbean and has long been used for its medicinal properties in humans.

Cinnamon alternatives

Whilst cinnamon can have a variety of health benefits for dogs, there are alternative foods that can be offered to your dog that have a higher level of beneficial factors.

Beets

Beets offer high levels of magnesium, potassium and iron as well as Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, similar to that found within cinnamon

Turmeric

Similar to cinnamon, turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help with conditions such as arthritis and joint pain.

Kale

Kale offers a fantastic array of vitamins such as A, E and C helping with the immune system, vision and skin. Kale is also a great antioxidant, similar to cinnamon.

Basil

Basil has a variety of health benefits for your dog, including having anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to better teeth and helping the gastro-intestinal system with digestion.

Fish

Containing high levels of omega-3’s, fish such as herring, sardines and salmon can help with your dogs skin, coat and brain function. 

Fish is high in protein as well as containing essential vitamins and minerals. Offering your dog fish will likely be more appetizing to your dog, as well as supplying them with additional benefits.

Papaya

With papaya containing high levels of Vitamins E, C and K, it can help to act as a natural antioxidant, support liver function and maintain a healthy coat. 

It is likely that dogs may prefer to eat papaya rather than cinnamon due to better palatability.

Can dogs have cinnamon? Final thoughts

Cinnamon contains a variety of elements that may help with a dog’s ailments, such as arthritis, joint pain and supporting the circulatory system. 

However, other food options and supplements may be more beneficial for your dog. 

There are risks associated with cinnamon, such as choking, vomiting and diarrhea, so dogs should always be monitored during and post cinnamon ingestion. 

Always consult your veterinary surgeon if you want to supplement your dog’s diet with any new food source and do plenty of research to ensure that you are not causing more harm than good.

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