Can dogs eat cinnamon? Let’s find out!
Cinnamon is not toxic to dogs and actually offers health benefits when given in the proper amount, but you must be careful what type of cinnamon you give your dog. Not everything that contains cinnamon is safe for your dog to eat, nor are all types of cinnamon safe for dogs. There are a few things you will need to keep in mind if you plan on feeding your dog cinnamon.
We’ll take a look at some of those precautions below. Read on to learn more.
A Look at Cinnamon
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a genus-species of tree known as Cinnamomum. There are two different types of the flavorful spice— Cassia and Ceylon. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two:
Cassia Cinnamon: This type of cinnamon comes from Indonesia and China. The sticks are more rough in texture and are dark brown with a strong, bold taste. This is the kind of cinnamon that you will readily find in most grocery stores and is inexpensive. Cassia cinnamon has the highest amount of coumarin and is not recommended for dogs to consume. Coumarin is a natural compound that is found in cinnamon and is toxic when consumed in large amounts. Its purpose is to help keep predators away from the trees. The compound is very bitter but has a sweet vanilla smell.
Ceylon Cinnamon: This type of cinnamon is a bit harder to find and is not readily available in most grocery stores. It is more expensive than Cassia cinnamon and comes form Sri Lanka. It is light brown in color, and has a sweeter taste to it that Cassia cinnamon. This version of cinnamon has lower coumarin levels and is therefore safer for dogs to consume.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon for Dogs
Cinnamon offers some amazing health benefits for people and dogs alike. Cinnamaldehyde is the compound that many scientists believe is most likely the reason for its health benefits. Even though the Cassia version of cinnamon is not toxic to dogs, there are still amounts that would be considered to be too much for your dog to consume and could cause serious problems. So if you plan to feed your dog cinnamon, you’ll need to pay close attention while feeding it.
Let’s go over some of the health benefits you can expect your dog to receive from cinnamon:
Antioxidants: Cinnamon might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of foods containing antioxidants, but it’s true—cinnamon is actually rich in them. Antioxidants help support brain function and improve memory and focus, which can be quite helpful for aging dogs that may be displaying signs of dementia.
Anti-fungal Properties: Dogs that suffer from allergies or yeast infections can greatly benefit from the addition of cinnamon to their diets. Cinnamon helps inhibit the growth of things like Listeria, Salmonella, and Candida albicans.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Cinnamon can help reduce inflammation and swelling in dogs that suffer from arthritis, joint pain, and sore muscles.
Heart health: There was a study done on the effects of cinnamon in dogs with heart and blood pressure issues. It showed that cinnamon helps significantly lower their heart rate and blood pressure for the dogs that received the controlled doses of cinnamon. If your dog suffers from any heart-related issues, be sure to check with your vet first before feeding it cinnamon to be sure that it is safe for its health.
Regulated Blood Sugar: When cinnamon is given in small does, it can help lower blood sugar levels in both people and dogs. It can also help improve insulin resistance. It helps slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream after meals that are high in carbohydrates (like many commercial dog foods are). If your dog has diabetes or other blood sugar related health issues, be sure to check with your vet first before you start supplementing your dog’s diet with cinnamon.
How Much Cinnamon Is Safe for My Dog?
Experts recommend that the safest amount of cinnamon to feed your dog is a teaspoon. Smaller breeds of dogs would need even smaller amounts than larger breeds. It’s best to err on the side of caution and only give your dog a tiny amount of cinnamon, even less than the recommended amount—especially if it is the first time that you’ll be feeding your dog cinnamon. This is to ensure that your dog has no reaction to it and doesn’t consume too much for its size.
Risks of Feeding Dogs Cinnamon
Cinnamon comes in many forms and can be found as an ingredient in many different types of food. There are cinnamon sticks, essential oils, and ground, powdered cinnamon. No matter what form of cinnamon you have, they can all cause digestive issues like an upset stomach or irritation to the mouth, just like it can in people. If your dog inhales ground cinnamon when you feed it to them, they may begin to choke or cough and can experience irritation in his throat. It can also result in difficulty breathing. If your dog has consumed cinnamon and begins to exhibit these behaviors, it is best to stop feeding the cinnamon immediately and consult a veterinarian. Here are some additional symptoms to be on the lookout for:
- Low blood sugar
- Changes in heart rate
Any of these symptoms will require immediate care from a veterinarian.
Baked goods and other foods that contain cinnamon are usually packed with other ingredients that are not good for your dog to consume. They are usually high in fats, sugar, and oils—all of which can present many issues for your dog. It is best to avoid feeding your dog other foods that contain cinnamon, and just stick with tiny amounts of ground cinnamon, which you can add to your dog’s healthy dog food for an added boost of nutrition and flavor.
Cinnamon is a flavorful spice that when fed properly and in moderation, can be a great source of health benefits for your dog. Stick with Ceylon Cinnamon, as this is the safer version for dogs. If your dog has any underlying health issues, be sure to check with your vet first before introducing cinnamon into its diet.
Other Dog-Safe Foods
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- AKC.org, Available here: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-cinnamon/
- Healthline.com, Available here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ceylon-vs-cassia-cinnamon#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4