Does your dog beg for your cinnamon scones? Has she ever gotten into the spice rack? If so, then you’ve probably wondered, perhaps somewhat frantically, can dogs eat cinnamon? We know that certain people foods, like chocolate and grapes, can be toxic to dogs, so it makes sense that we should worry about foods and spices like cinnamon, too.
Is Cinnamon Toxic to Dogs?
The good news is that cinnamon is not toxic to dogs. Your dog will not suffer fatal toxic effects from consuming too much cinnamon, but that does not necessarily mean you should be sprinkling it on his kibble. The Pet Poison Helpline cautions that cinnamon and cinnamon oils can cause skin and digestive irritation and sensitization in both pets and people, especially if consumed in large quantities.
Cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, cinnamon essential oils, and cinnamon in baked goods all offer opportunities for ingestion. Chewing on cinnamon sticks and consuming ground cinnamon or essential oil can cause irritation in your dog’s mouth, and inhaling cinnamon powder can cause your dog to cough, choke, and have difficulty breathing.
How much is too much? The Pet Poison Helpline states that it takes more than one teaspoon of powder to cause problems for most pets, although essential oils can cause problems in lower dosages, and small breed dogs may be sensitive to smaller amounts of cinnamon than large breeds. The helpline also warns that a large cinnamon overdose can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, changes in heart rate, low blood sugar, and liver disease.
Help, My Dog Ate Cinnamon!
If your dog eats a large amount of cinnamon, you don’t need to panic. You should, however, call your veterinarian. Cinnamon is not fatal to dogs, but the side effects of too much cinnamon can be uncomfortable, and your veterinarian may have additional concerns and suggestions to help your dog recover from her spicy snack.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Baked Goods?
A little bit of cinnamon, like the amount used in most baked goods, is not going to hurt your dog. That being said, feeding your dog baked goods is not necessarily a good idea. Foods that are high in fat, sugar, and unnecessary calories can lead to obesity, diabetes, and complications such as pancreatitis. Some baked goods also may contain xylitol as a sweetener, which is very toxic.
If you do choose to feed your dog baked goods with cinnamon, only feed small quantities on a very irregular basis, and make sure they do not contain other ingredients that could be toxic or harmful to your dog, like xylitol, chocolate or raisins.
Nutmeg and Cinnamon
Cinnamon might not be toxic to dogs, but nutmeg is another common baking spice, and it can have toxic effects. Nutmeg and cinnamon are often used together in recipes, and nutmeg contains the toxin myristicin. Myristicin can cause hallucinations, increased heart rate, disorientation, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, dry mouth, and even seizures. These symptoms can last up to 48 hours, but the bright side is that it takes a large amount of nutmeg to cause problems for dogs. The small amount used in baked goods is generally safe. If your dog consumes a large amount of nutmeg by accident, however, call your veterinarian and keep a close eye on her.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is reputed to have a number of health benefits for people, although these benefits have not been proven conclusively. As exciting as this is for those of us who enjoy cinnamon and want an excuse to have more of it in our diets, we should be wary about jumping to the same conclusion for our dogs.
If you want to give cinnamon as a supplement for your dog, talk to your veterinarian about the possible risks and potential benefits. In the meantime, consider exploring other supplements with proven benefits to help your dog.
To make a long story short, yes, dogs can eat cinnamon in small quantities, but it is not necessary or recommended.