Can dogs eat cinnamon?

Written by Dr Andrew Miller MRCVSDr Andrew Miller MRCVS is an expert veterinary working in the field for over 10 years after graduating from Bristol University. Andy fact checks and writes for Pure Pet Food while also working as a full time veterinarian. Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Few spices make their way into as many dishes as cinnamon (maybe ginger), whether you’re using it to spice up a stifado or to sweeten some scrumptious baked goodies. You might even sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee!

Given this ingredient is found in so many different foods you might wonder if dogs can eat cinnamon and if this spice is safe for your furry friend.

Whether they’ve munched a piece of cinnamon roll you dropped, or somehow got into the cinnamon sticks, rest assured that your pooch won’t be poisoned. Here’s all you need to know about what happens if your canine chows on some cinnamon.

Can dogs eat cinnamon?

Although pooches are usually sensitive to spices, dogs can eat cinnamon because it is considered non-toxic and is safe to eat in small amounts.

The two main types of cinnamon we humans use are ceylon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon, also called “Chinese cinnamon”, is the most common type and what most of us think of when we think of cinnamon. Meanwhile, ceylon is paler and sweeter and is known as “true” cinnamon. Luckily, both types are non-toxic for dogs.

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Although cinnamon is safe for your pooch to eat you will still need to be careful to prevent any pup-set tummies. Cinnamon is perfectly safe for your pup in small amounts as long as it is mixed into some food or used as an ingredient in homemade treats. They shouldn’t eat cinnamon on its own though, nor should it be sprinkled on their food.

Why cinnamon might upset your pooch

Like many treats, cinnamon is best served in moderation to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. If they eat too much cinnamon, it can cause gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhoea and can cause breathing difficulties.

In worst-case scenarios, too much cinnamon can affect your pup’s blood pressure and liver. They’d have to eat a lot of cinnamon to cause such serious effects though, so as long as you use cinnamon sparingly and always mix it with some other foods then your pup should be perfectly safe.

You might remember the “cinnamon challenge” that went viral a few years ago, where people attempted to eat a spoonful of cinnamon. It’s very ill-advised because powdered cinnamon eaten on its own will irritate your nose and mouth and cause difficulty breathing.

That’s precisely why your dog shouldn’t eat cinnamon on its own or have it sprinkled on their food because inhaling it will irritate their nose and airways and can cause coughing and choking.

Can dogs eat cinnamon sticks?

Although a cinnamon stick might look a bit like a dog treat, it definitely shouldn’t be used as one. Eating a whole cinnamon stick will irritate your dog’s mouth and gut, and probably cause them stomach ache.

Can dogs have cinnamon oil?

Cinnamon oil can be an essential oil or an ingredient in food, and both are just highly-concentrated forms of cinnamon. If you have cinnamon oil you shouldn’t use it in dog treats or let your dog eat it. Because it is highly concentrated, they can tolerate less of it and it is much more likely to cause irritation and sickness.

If you have cinnamon essential oil in a diffuser, make sure it’s out of reach of your pets. And should you want to flavour some doggy treats with cinnamon, stick to using ground cinnamon.

Can dogs eat cinnamon rolls?

Probably not, because cinnamon rolls are an unhealthy treat and packed full of fat and sugar which aren’t good for dogs. Too much sugary and fatty treats can lead to complications like poor oral healthweight gain, and diabetes.

You will also need to check your cinnamon rolls don’t contain any ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Nutmeg is often used alongside cinnamon in many baked treats, but nutmeg is poisonous to pooches and should be avoided.

But if there are no toxic ingredients, your dog can probably eat a tiny bit of roll and be perfectly fine. Just don’t make a habit of feeding them cake and definitely don’t give them a whole roll. They’re better off without it, but eating a teeny tiny bit as a one-off shouldn’t be a cause for concern as long as your dog is healthy and eating a balanced diet.

Is cinnamon good for dogs?

Cinnamon has been used for centuries as an ancient medicine and home remedy for ailments ranging from toothaches to weight loss, and even diabetes. For human use, it’s said to aid digestion, act as an anti-inflammatory, and help regulate blood sugar.

However, the scientific evidence for these claims is lacking and there are even fewer studies on the effect of cinnamon on dogs, so any benefits are only anecdotal.

Some people do say that cinnamon helps their dog in the same way it helps humans, by aiding weight loss, benefiting arthritic pets, and aiding their digestion. However, there is no strong evidence that cinnamon does have these effects on dogs.

If you want to improve your pup’s health, it’s a good idea to start by providing them with a healthy diet that provides them with all their nutrients naturally. You can then discuss with your vet and a canine nutrition specialist about proven supplements that could benefit your fur baby.

Since cinnamon is safe for your pooch to eat and it’s natural, accessible, and cheap to incorporate into homemade treats there’s no reason not to. It’s best to consider it a tasty ingredient that will spice up your pup’s treats, and if it seems to help their health then so much the better!

Can you use cinnamon for dogs breath?

Cinnamon is sometimes used in chewing gum and toothpaste to sweeten our breath, and it’s sometimes recommended to add cinnamon to a dog’s food to freshen their breath.

Although adding mint leaves or cinnamon powder to your pup’s food might mask the smell of dog breath, it won’t fix it. A dog’s breath shouldn’t actually smell, and if your pooch has the dreaded dog breath it’s a sign their oral health isn’t as good as it should be.

The best thing to do to banish bad breath and other oral problems is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. That being said, you can add a little cinnamon to your dog’s dinner and it might help to keep their breath smelling more pleasant. But even if you do, you should still be brushing their teeth regularly!

Is cinnamon poisonous to dogs?

No, cinnamon isn’t poisonous to dogs, but it can still cause some problems if you’re not careful.

Although cinnamon is not considered toxic to dogs, it does contain a compound called coumarin which is toxic in high quantities. Your dog would need to eat a lot of cinnamon for this to affect them though, and before that happens they will probably get a very upset stomach from eating so much spice.

If you are worried about coumarin though, you can lower the risk according to the kind of cinnamon you use.

If you want to keep your fur-baby extra safe you should offer them ceylon cinnamon because it contains much less coumarin compared to cassia cinnamon.

However, as I mentioned above, both types of cinnamon are perfectly safe for dogs to eat and are considered non-toxic.

Are dogs allergic to cinnamon?

It is unlikely but not impossible for a dog can develop a cinnamon allergy, although most canine allergies are caused by proteins such as chicken, beef, dairy, or even wheat.

However, if a dog eats too much cinnamon it can cause symptoms of illness that are similar to an allergic reaction. This includes itchy and inflamed skin, irritated mouth, and difficulty breathing.

How much cinnamon can dogs eat?

The general guideline of how much cinnamon your dog can safely eat is 1/8th of a teaspoon of cinnamon per 15lbs of your dog’s body weight. 15lbs is about the weight of a large Shih Tzu.

If you have an even smaller dog, like a Yorkshire Terrier, you’re best keeping cinnamon to a tiny pinch between your forefinger and thumb.

If your dog weighs more than 50lb, or 22kg, they can eat up to a teaspoon of cinnamon. (Not straight off the spoon though!) Very large dogs of 45kg and up can have up to a tablespoon of cinnamon.

Although if you’re making homemade treats you can use more than these guidelines and just moderate the number of treats your pooch eats.

Recap: Should I give my dog cinnamon?

Yes, dogs can have cinnamon as long as it is a small amount mixed into some food or treats. Eating cinnamon in moderation is perfectly safe for your furry friend, and this incredible ingredient is sure to spice up any dog-friendly biscuits you bake for them.

Never give your pup cinnamon on its own because it will irritate their mouth and throat, causing them to cough or choke.

Cinnamon is said to aid digestion and reduce inflammation in the joints for us humans, but the evidence is lacking if it does the same for our pooches.

It's fine to use cinnamon as a tasty ingredient to add to your dog's food, but if you're looking for the same health benefits cinnamon provides for humans, it's better to start looking at your dog's actual dinner.

Pure is packed with wholesome, natural ingredients that have been minimally processed through a gentle air-drying method. Air-drying works by removing the moisture from the ingredients and lock in all the nutrients. This will help your dog receive all the health benefits they need and won't be as harsh on their stomach as foods such as kibble. All in all, this will work wonders to help your dog's digestibility. Cheaper dog foods such as kibble have been exposed to the process of extrusion, which essentially devalues the nutritional value of the ingredients and the digestibility levels of the food.

Functional ingredients are combined within Pure recipes to help keep your dog in tip top shape and prevent the onset of any illnesses. Omega 3 fatty acids are a key ingredient in Pure, as they have an abundance of health benefits, a crucial one being that they're an anti-inflammatory. Reducing and easing inflammation is essential for arthritic dogs, and omega 3 is a great ingredient to promote this.

Overall, cinnamon can be a great addition to your dog's dinner, or baked into treats. However, if you're looking for the nutritional benefits such as aiding digestion and reducing inflammation, it's advised to start looking at the main food they eat on a daily.

  1. Effects of extrusion processing on nutrients in dry pet food Animal Nutrition, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 88, (9), 2008
  2. The Impact of Food Processing on the Nutritional Quality of Vitamins and Minerals Advances in Experimental Medical Biology, 1999, 459:99-106, doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-4853-9_7. PMID: 10335371.9