Cinnamon tastes great and may even be good for you, but should you share it with Fido? Can dogs eat cinnamon? Are there any benefits or dangers to giving it to your pup?
Today, we will talk about the effects of cinnamon on dogs, its potential benefits, and the possible risks associated with its consumption. Before you share your favorite baked goods with your furry friends, let’s dive into the facts.
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Is Cinnamon Bad for Dogs?
Cinnamon is a popular spice that comes from the inner bark of a tree species called Cinnamonum. It has a sweet, woodsy, and warm flavor and has an enticing aroma. There are two types of cinnamon, Cassia and Ceylon.
Cassia Cinnamon comes from China and Indonesia. It has a rougher texture and a dark brown appearance and is known for its strong taste. It is commonly found in grocery stores at an inexpensive price. Cassia Cinnamon contains huge amounts of coumarin, a compound that can be toxic to the liver in large quantities.
Ceylon Cinnamon or “true” cinnamon, comes from Sri Lanka. It has a light brown color and tastes sweeter than Cassia Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon has less coumarin and is safer for dogs to eat. However, it is harder to find and is more expensive than Cassia.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?
Generally, cinnamon is not toxic for dogs when ingested in small amounts. In this section, we will talk about the potential health benefits of cinnamon for dogs and the positive effects it may have on them.
Benefits of Cinnamon for Dogs
When used in moderation, cinnamon can aid digestion and even help freshen your dog’s breath. But before you add cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon to your dog’s diet, let’s talk about the health benefits of cinnamon and how it can affect your furry friends.
Cinnamon naturally contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties such as cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid. These compounds can help reduce inflammation in dogs who are experiencing mild joint pain or arthritis. But keep in mind that cinnamon should not be used as a substitute for proper veterinary care for dogs with serious inflammatory conditions.
Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols which help fight free radicals. These free radicals can cause oxidative stress and damage cells. By adding cinnamon to your dog’s diet in appropriate amounts, you can help boost their overall health and support their immune system.
In small amounts, Cinnamon may help in digestion for dogs. It can help soothe an upset stomach, alleviate minor digestive issues, and promote gastrointestinal health. The spice has gentle warming properties that can also assist in relieving gas and bloating. However, excessive consumption can cause digestive issues.
Cinnamon has natural antibacterial properties that can help freshen your dog’s breath. Some dog-friendly dental products may contain cinnamon as an active ingredient because of its ability to fight bacteria that contribute to bad breath.
Make sure to use dental products specifically designed for dogs since human dental products might contain other ingredients that may be harmful to your dogs.
Blood Sugar Regulation:
Some studies have shown that cinnamon can help in regulating blood sugar levels in humans, which can be relevant for dogs with diabetes. However, since blood sugar regulation is a complex issue, it is best to consult with a veterinarian before using cinnamon in addition to your dog’s diabetes treatment.
While cinnamon offers these potential health benefits, keep in mind that moderation is key. Too much cinnamon may lead to adverse effects such as gastrointestinal upset, or in rare cases, toxicity.
It is important to consult with your vet before adding cinnamon into your dog’s diet especially if they have other underlying health conditions or known allergies.
Remember to use Ceylon cinnamon which has lower levels of coumarin, making it safer for your furry friends.
How Much Cinnamon Is Bad for Dogs?
Eating more than one teaspoon of cinnamon powder or ingesting even a small amount of cinnamon essential oil can cause problems for your pets. Chewing on cinnamon sticks or eating ground cinnamon can cause skin irritation or redness inside the mouth. Inhaling cinnamon may cause coughing, choking, difficulty breathing, or irritation of the lungs.
Most pastries and desserts contain cinnamon and nutmeg. While these spices technically come from the same plant, they are two very different spices. Cinnamon may not be toxic for dogs in small amounts, but nutmeg is because it contains myristicin.
This toxin in nutmeg can cause hallucinations, increased heart rate, disorientation, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, dry mouth, and even seizures. While it may take a large amount of nutmeg for these symptoms to present, it is better to avoid giving this spice to your dog.
Baked goods also have high-fat content and other ingredients such as sugar, butter, chocolate, raisins, nuts, cocoa powder, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener toxic for dogs). These ingredients are unhealthy for dogs and can cause obesity, digestive issues, and pancreatitis.
What is Cinnamon Toxicity In Dogs?
Cinnamon toxicity refers to the harmful effects that happen when your dog consumes excessive amounts of cinnamon or types of cinnamon that contain higher levels of toxins. Toxicity is primarily attributed to the presence of essential oils, specifically cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. These compounds can cause irritation and adverse reactions which may lead to various symptoms and health issues.
Symptoms of cinnamon toxicity in dogs may include:
- Gastrointestinal Upset: Cinnamon can irritate your dog’s digestive system which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive drooling,
- Oral and Throat Irritation: Cinnamon contains essential oils that may irritate your dog’s mouth and throat when they ingest it. This can cause discomfort and difficulty in swallowing.
- Respiratory Distress: Inhaling cinnamon powder or ground cinnamon particles can cause coughing, wheezing, or other respiratory issues.
- Liver and Kidney Damage: Coumarin, which is found in Cassia cinnamon is known to cause liver and kidney damage in dogs over time.
- Neurological Symptoms: In extreme cases, dogs that ingest a large amount of cinnamon may show neurological symptoms such as seizures, tremors, or difficulty coordinating movements.
This is why it is important to limit the amount of cinnamon you give to your dogs and to make sure you give them the right type of cinnamon.
If you suspect your dog has ingested a large amount of cinnamon or is showing any signs of toxicity, seek immediate veterinary attention. Your veterinarian can provide appropriate care and advice to manage the situation and prevent further complications.
When Is Cinnamon Dangerous for Dogs?
While cinnamon can be safe for dogs in small amounts, there are specific situations when it should be avoided altogether. Here are some instances where cinnamon can be hazardous for dogs:
- Excessive Consumption: Do not give your dog large amounts of cinnamon in one sitting. Excessive intake can lead to cinnamon toxicity, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, oral and throat irritation, and potential liver or kidney damage. Give your dog cinnamon in moderation, using only small sprinkles or a pinch to minimize any adverse effects.
- Cassia Cinnamon dangers: As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of cinnamon, Ceylon and Cassia. Cassia cinnamon contains higher levels of coumarin which can cause liver damage. Avoid giving Cassia cinnamon to your dogs to reduce the risk of liver damage, and stick to Ceylon cinnamon which is safer for canine consumption.
- Dogs with Liver Disease: Dogs with pre-existing liver conditions or liver sensitivity should not be given cinnamon as the essential oils in it can further stress the liver and worsen existing health problems.
- Dogs with Diabetes: While some studies suggest that cinnamon may help in regulating sugar levels in humans, it should not be used to self-medicate dogs with diabetes. If your dog has diabetes (low blood sugar), or any other underlying health condition, be sure to consult your veterinarian before using cinnamon to complement their current diabetes treatment.
- Allergies and Sensitivities: Just like any new food or ingredient, some dogs may be allergic to or have sensitivities to cinnamon. If your dog has not had cinnamon before, introduce it in small amounts and observe your dog for any adverse reactions. If you see signs of an allergic reaction such as itching, hives, or difficulty breathing, discontinue giving cinnamon and immediately seek advice from your vet.
- Pregnant or Nursing Dogs: Not much is known about the effects of cinnamon on pregnant or nursing dogs, especially when it comes to fetal development or milk production. However, since cinnamon is said to have anti-clotting properties, and is said to stimulate the uterus, it is best to avoid giving cinnamon to pregnant or nursing dogs.
As responsible dog owners, it is best to consult with your veterinarian before adding cinnamon (or any new food or ingredient) to your dog’s diet. Your vet can provide personalized advice based on your dog’s individual health needs.
Homemade Cinnamon Dog Treats
Just like us humans, dogs deserve a little something special from time to time. One of the best ways you can ensure that your dog gets just the right amount of cinnamon is to bake your own tasty dog treats!
With its enticing aroma and potential health benefits, Cinnamon will add a delightful twist to your homemade dog-friendly goodies! Plus, when you make your own treats you can control exactly how much of the spice goes into the mix.
Make your pups happy with these Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipe. This recipe is easy to make and uses ingredients you might already have in your pantry. Or you can try these Homemade Allergy-Friendly Cinnamon Apple Cookies – the perfect hypoallergenic cookies your dog will surely enjoy!
With these simple and easy recipes, you have a safe way to create scrumptious homemade cinnamon dog treats that will have your furry friends eagerly wagging their tails for more!
Under the right circumstances (and in the right amounts), cinnamon can be a beneficial spice for your dog. Just remember to go very easy on it, choose Ceylon (true cinnamon) over Cassia, and talk to your vet first if your pup has any preexisting conditions.
Curious about other foods you can share with your dog? Check out these other posts from our “can dogs eat…” series:
- Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?
- What Nuts Can Dogs Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Bananas? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!
- Can Dogs Eat Strawberries? Everything You Need to Know!
- Can Dogs Eat Shrimp? A Delectable Delight or a Dietary Disaster?
Do your dogs like cinnamon? Share your thoughts below!