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Is Cinnamon Bad for Dogs?

Is Cinnamon Bad for Dogs?

With Halloween and Thanksgiving approaching, it's time for pumpkin spice everything and other seasonal favorites, so it’s easy to wonder what can happen if dogs eat cinnamon, nutmeg, and other popular spices. When you’re snacking on a cookie or other tasty treat, it can be hard to resist those soulful, pleading puppy-dog eyes that your dog can do so well. In fact it can be almost impossible to not toss your pooch a tiny bit of your yummy snack. 

However, before you share your food with Fido, it’s vital that you know which foods are safe for your pet, and which ones can leave her feeling sick or worse. 

There are actually quite a few human foods that are safe, and even healthy, for your pup. Foods like canned pumpkin and boiled eggs are often suggested for pups who are having tummy issues, while other items like blueberries can provide quite a few benefits for your dog. However, there are also many foods that, although safe for you, can be hazardous for your pet. Some foods, like chocolate and grapes, are even highly toxic and can cause irreversible complications and even death. 

Cinnamon is actually not toxic to dogs, but, eating too much of it can still cause your pup some discomfort and other issues. A small amount of cinnamon won’t likely cause your pup any distress, and there are even some doggy recipes that include the spice. However, use caution when offering anything with cinnamon to your pup. When it comes to this popular fall spice, moderation is critical.

cinnamon sticks

The Risks of Too Much Cinnamon for Your Dog

While cinnamon is not toxic for dogs, don’t start sprinkling it in Fido’s dog bowl. Cinnamon can pose some unpleasant side effects if your dog gets a hold of too much. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, some of the biggest problems when dogs eat cinnamon are issues with the digestive system and skin irritation. Also, if your pup inhales cinnamon powder, it can get into his lungs, causing difficulty breathing, choking, and coughing. 

Cinnamon comes in many forms, including oils, powders, sticks, and of course, within other food items like various baked goods. Therefore, make sure you know exactly what’s in that cookie before you decide to offer a piece to your pup. Even though your dog won’t suffer any fatal effects, too much cinnamon can irritate his mouth and throat. It is also possible that your dog could have an allergic reaction to cinnamon. 

Plus, an overdose of cinnamon can potentially cause diarrhea, vomiting, low blood sugar, and even lead to conditions like liver disease and changes in heart rate. For the most part, it takes more than one teaspoon to cause your pet some problems, especially in large breed dogs, but if you have a smaller dog or puppy, less than a teaspoon of cinnamon could still prove to be hazardous. Of course, every dog is unique, so your dog could also have more of a sensitivity to cinnamon than other dogs, therefore always exercise caution and keep an eye on your pup if she has any kind of contact with cinnamon.

Another important thing to remember is cinnamon doesn’t have to be ingested to pose a problem for your pooch. Your dog can also experience some reactions when her skin comes in contact with things like cinnamon essential oil or cinnamon potpourri. Therefore, keep this in mind when putting out your fall decorations and scents in your home. 

 

What Do You Do If Your Dog Eats Cinnamon?

If your pup eats cinnamon, there’s no need to go into a full-blown panic. The best thing to do when your pup eats cinnamon is to watch her closely. If she just got a little bit, the odds are good that everything is fine. However, if she ate a large amount, give your vet a call. Your vet can offer some suggestions to help make your dog more comfortable, since your pup will likely have to deal with some uncomfortable side effects.

nutmeg and grinder

Nutmeg Is Another Story

Cinnamon and nutmeg are not the same, and when it comes to your dog, there are some major differences. The most significant one is that nutmeg is toxic to dogs.  Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin, which can cause increased heart rate, high blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, abdominal pain, dry mouth, and disorientation, which could all last for up to 48 hours. Often, baked goods that contain cinnamon also contain nutmeg, so keep this in mind if your dog gets a hold of one. 

Luckily, it typically takes a large amount of nutmeg to cause these types of problems, so just watch your pup closely if she gets a little nibble of something. However, if your dog eats a lot of nutmeg, call the vet right away to learn your best course of action. 

 

Does Eating Cinnamon Have Any Health Benefits for Dogs?

While cinnamon is touted to have several health benefits for humans, like improving digestion, lowering blood sugar, and possibly even reducing the risk of heart disease, this doesn’t mean these benefits apply to your pooch too. Although there are some that say cinnamon can help promote proper digestion in dogs and ease things like bloating, any real value is unclear. Basically, the potential issues of eating too much cinnamon outweigh any possible (inconclusive) benefits. 

pug puppy eating a treat

Key Takeaways for When Your Dog Eats Cinnamon

  • If your pup gets a hold of cinnamon, monitor him closely. Consider the amount of cinnamon he ingested, and if it was a large amount, call your vet immediately. 
  • If your pup eats a baked item that contains cinnamon, or you aren’t sure of the exact ingredients, also make sure to watch her closely. The odds are good that your dog won’t suffer any serious effects if she just got a bite or two of a cinnamon cookie, or a small amount of cinnamon. However, it can cause her some discomfort. 
  • Keep in mind that feeding your pup baked goods designed for human consumption isn’t a good practice, whether they have cinnamon or not. Giving your dog overly sweet, rich items like baked treats can cause weight gain, stomach upset, and other problems. 
  • If you decide to make some DIY treats for your pup, your best bet is to avoid using cinnamon, although a tiny amount isn’t bad. Just be wary when you’re baking not to confuse cinnamon and nutmeg, as nutmeg can cause some severe problems for your pooch. 
  • When in doubt, call your vet.

Whether your pup eats a pumpkin spice cookie, chews on a cinnamon stick, or gets cinnamon oil on his skin, he could potentially have some uncomfortable reactions. Therefore, keep an eye on him, and call your vet if you notice any serious issues, or if your pup ingested a large amount of the popular spice. 

If you want to give your dog a special treat, go with peanut butter. It’s safe for your pup and dogs absolutely love it! Slather some peanut butter in your pup’s Rolly Cannoli and she’s sure to have a snack that’s both tasty and keeps her busy. 


For more useful tips and resources about how to take care of your pets, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find tons of helpful tidbits and insight that are sure to make you a super pet parent.

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  • Fernando Becattini