Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Can dogs safely eat cinnamon? Experts agree you need to be super careful

Unlike cats who are obligate carnivores, man’s best friend is actually an omnivore. Capable of eating meat, fruits, grains, and vegetables, dogs can enjoy many of the same foods we do. That being said, there are some foods that should be limited, such as bread, which offers no nutritional value, and spices like nutmeg, which can cause mild stomach upset if ingested. While we’re on the subject of spices, you might be wondering, “Can dogs eat cinnamon?” After all, some of the foods we share with our pups contain small amounts of cinnamon. We’ll tell you what you need to know about whether or not your pup can enjoy this warm, delicious spice. 

A Golden Retriever eating from a stainless steel bowl.
zinkevych

Can dogs have cinnamon?

We have some good news, and we have some bad news. While cinnamon isn’t toxic to your dog, that doesn’t mean you should allow him to eat much of it. Both cinnamon and cinnamon oil have been known to cause irritation and sensitivity of the skin and digestive tract in humans and pets alike. The American Kennel Club (AKC) cautions, “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.”

Yikes! The good news is that it takes ingesting more than a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon to cause any harm for most pets, though that varies depending on your dog’s breed. More potent cinnamon oil can cause sensitivity and irritation in smaller doses. However, you should take precautions when feeding your dog cinnamon. Cinnamon toxicity is relatively rare, but we recommend taking your pup to the vet immediately if he experiences diarrhea, vomiting, changes in heart rate, or symptoms of drastically low blood sugar.

What happens if a dog eats cinnamon?

If your dog ingests a small amount of cinnamon, he’s probably going to be perfectly fine. In larger doses, however, cinnamon consumption can cause ulcers in the mouth or stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Alarmingly, large quantities of cinnamon might cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop dangerously, and it might even cause liver disease. However, in small doses, cinnamon offers several health benefits. If your pup struggles with arthritis, adding a small pinch of a natural anti-inflammatory like cinnamon to his diet might help manage the symptoms. 

A man feeds his dog an apple slice.
agneskantaru / Adobe Stock

Feeding your pup a little cinnamon each day – around half a teaspoon – has been shown to help diabetic dogs keep their blood sugar in check. (It’s important to note that cinnamon alone is no replacement for medication, but anything that can help reduce insulin resistance and manage blood glucose levels is a welcome addition to any healthy lifestyle.) Cinnamon is also rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage and give brain health a boost. Lastly, the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances published a study finding that dogs who ate small quantities of cinnamon had much lower heart rates and systolic blood pressure than the test group that did not receive cinnamon. 

Can dogs have cinnamon applesauce? 

We already know that dogs can have apples as long as the core has been removed, but have you ever wondered if your dog can have cinnamon applesauce? The answer is … it depends on the applesauce. Freshly made applesauce consists of one ingredient: puréed apples. But store-bought applesauce usually includes preservatives to prolong the product’s shelf life. Even worse, some mass-produced brands of applesauce contain added sugars or potentially dangerous artificial sweeteners. If your dog loves apples, try making your own applesauce with just a dash of cinnamon. That way your dog gets the health benefits of apples and cinnamon, and you know exactly what ingredients you’re feeding your beloved fur baby. Purée a few apples, mix in half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and let your dog enjoy a tasty, healthy treat. (As an added bonus, you’ll also save money making the applesauce yourself.)

Can dogs have Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

Let’s be honest: Most of the healthier cereals on the market taste like cardboard. If you’re still a fan of one of our childhood favorites, we have some good news. Unless your pup is diabetic, sharing a few pieces of your Cinnamon Toast Crunch won’t hurt your pup. Nevertheless, keep in mind that prepackaged cereal is, well, packed with added sugars and preservatives, so it’s not the healthiest snack for your pooch. We understand the desire to share one of your favorite breakfast foods with your pup, but there are better alternatives. This recipe from Three Olives Branch uses simple, wholesome ingredients like oats, apples, honey, ground cinnamon, and flaxseed to create delicious, sugar-free, preservative-free treats for your pooch. 

A man pets a black dog while he eats a bowl of cereal on a sofa.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Final thoughts on cinnamon

While certain foods are definitely on the forbidden list for a reason, your pooch can enjoy some of your favorites. When it comes to sharing cinnamon-based snacks with your pup, try making your own instead of relying on preservative-laden, ready-made treats from the store. Not only will you save a little money making your own, but you’ll be able to control exactly what goes into your dog’s treats. 

Mary Johnson
Contributor
Mary Johnson is a writer and photographer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work has been published in PawTracks and…
Coconut oil for dogs: The pros and cons you need to know
What are the benefits of coconut oil for dogs? It's complicated.
Coconut oil next to a coconut

If you've followed human wellness and nutrition trends over the years, you likely know olive oil is the golden child of oils. Lauded for being a healthy fat that can protect against heart disease, even cardiologists recommend consuming olive oil. Yet, coconut oil has also come into favor recently for health benefits ranging from weight loss to immune system and improving cognitive functioning in people with dementia. Keyword: People.

What are the benefits of coconut oil for dogs? Are there even any? Is coconut oil safe for dogs? These are all excellent questions and ones to ask a vet before giving any human food to a pet, whether you're allowing them to ingest the item or applying something topically. Some foods are toxic to pets, and topical application of some products can exacerbate the issues you want to fix. Where does coconut oil fit in? Here's what we do (and don't) know about coconut oil for dogs.
What is coconut oil?

Read more
Can you give a dog Benadryl? You’d better follow the correct dosage guide
Antihistamines can work wonders for pets with allergies
A golden retriever wearing a scarf and holding a handkerchief in his mouth

Just like us, dogs can suffer from allergies. While we can use a nasal spray or take an allergy medication, our dogs rely on us to treat their symptoms. Diphenhydramine, the generic name for the widely used name brand Benadryl, is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat seasonal allergies, anxiety, and even motion sickness. Have you ever wondered, "How much Benadryl can I give my dog?" We'll walk you through everything you need to know about giving dogs Benadryl, from the correct dosage to potential side effects.
Benadryl dosage for dogs 

Always speak to your vet before giving your dog any medication or supplements. Because your vet knows your pup's medical history, they can make the proper recommendations. Benadryl should not be used if your dog:

Read more
Can dogs eat avocados? What to know before snack time
Why you want to avoid giving dogs avocados as a treat
Corgi with an avocado

Avocados are a favored food for humans. Full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and even protein, and they've risen to "superfood status." Avocado toast? That's a favorite brunch choice, apparently of Millennials (but really, of people of all ages). You may want your dog to enjoy the same benefits, including the creamy texture and so-good taste.

As humans, we often love sharing some of our beloved foods with our pets. Sometimes, these foods are just fine for a healthy dog to have in moderation. However, some foods are toxic to dogs. Where do avocados stand? Can dogs have avocados? Sadly, avocados are not a safe food for dogs. Here's why and what to do if your dog consumes a piece (or whole) of avocado.
Can dogs have avocados?

Read more