Dogs and human foods aren’t always a good combination, and that is why it is so important to do proper research and to check all the facts. Most people know dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate or chicken bones, but how about other things like, for example, cinnamon? There is a potential misconception that cinnamon is bad for dogs, but is it? Or is it okay to add cinnamon to a dog’s food?

The idea that dogs shouldn’t eat cinnamon probably comes from confusing it with nutmeg – spice dogs should not eat – because cinnamon is completely harmless to dogs, and it could help prevent certain medical conditions or improve the quality of life for your dog.

In this article, we will have a look at what those health benefits are if they are important enough to justify feeding your dog cinnamon, and we will also see if there are any potentially negative side effects associated with canines and cinnamon.

Dogs & Cinnamon

Black and brown dog

Cinnamon is not exactly the first thing you think about when it comes to things to feed your dog, but if you frequently eat cinnamon yourself – perhaps it has crossed your mind? Cinnamon is known to come with an impressive number of benefits for humans, and plenty of people swear by it and all the good it can do. So, what happens if you give cinnamon to one of your small furry friends?

The good news is that cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs and that nothing bad will come out of adding cinnamon to their food or by feeding food containing cinnamon! In fact, studies show that it could even benefit your four-legged pal! For dogs with diabetes, cinnamon could potentially aid with boosting their bodies’ ability to handle insulin and regulate blood pressure; this is not a substitute for medication, but it could be a plus in keeping them healthy

Cinnamon is also effective when treating fungi infections in dogs (like yeast infections)! These conditions can often be difficult to treat due to its resistant nature, but where many medications fail – cinnamon seems to be a lot more effective!

In cinnamon, you also find anti-inflammatory properties that help against infections, inflammation and bacterial growth, but this – of course – does not mean you should feed it in excess. Nothing is good for a dog if you give too much of it, and too much cinnamon could cause digestive issues.

The anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon could also help keep dog food fresh, and some dog owners choose to sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on dog food they plan to refrigerate overnight. Believers swear by it, and there are some indications saying it could make a slight difference.

What is Cinnamon?

Cinammon stick

In countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Egypt, Brazil, and Sri Lanka, there is a type of tree from which cinnamon comes. It does not come from a specific tree but from several different tree types in the Cinnamomum genus, and the spice – cinnamon – is obtained from the bark that is removed from the tree, rolled up and eventually turned into the powder we use in many human foods.

We also know the word ‘cinnamon’ to be used when describing the color of the cinnamon sticks and the powdered spice. Cinnamon has been used in the food and baked goods for hundreds of years, but it has only recently become a topic of interest when it comes to canine nutrition and dog food.

Different Types of Cinnamon

Did you know that there is more than one type of cinnamon? There is Chinese cinnamon, and there is Ceylon cinnamon; Ceylon cinnamon is the variety that is considered completely safe for dogs to eat, and this is because it has lower levels of Coumarin than Chinese cinnamon.

Coumarin is found in many different plants, and while it is an organic and natural compound – it can cause digestive issues if consumed in large quantities. Chinese cinnamon has much more Coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon, so to be on the safe side it is simply better to stick to the latter.

It is easy to confuse cinnamon with nutmeg, as it can be used in a similar manner, but this is something that cannot happen when it comes to sharing foods with your dog. While cinnamon is safe, nutmeg is not, so make sure you take a second look at that label before you sprinkle it onto something that will go into the stomach of your fluffy fur friend.

Large amounts of nutmeg can cause an increased heart rate and hallucinations in dogs, and funny enough – it could happen to humans too. So, cinnamon is okay, and nutmeg is not.

How to Feed Cinnamon to a Dog

Let’s talk about how to not feed cinnamon to a dog. You don’t want to be handing over a cinnamon stick to your pooch and expect that to do the trick, as the sticks could potentially cause choking or obstruction. It is also not a good idea to sprinkle cinnamon directly onto the dog’s kibble or food, because have you ever tried to eat a spoon of cinnamon? If you did, you probably regretted it immediately, so don’t put your dog through the same.

See if you can find natural cinnamon oil, which is much easier to add to dog food, or mix a small amount of powdered cinnamon into wet food if you can’t find a better option. Cinnamon cookies or holiday candy should probably be avoided, due to the potential presence of other ingredients (such as macadamia nuts that could be really dangerous for dogs), and if you feel you want to give your dog cinnamon – just make sure you give it in the correct way.

If your dog does not seem to appreciate the taste of cinnamon or if they refuse to try it, there is no good reason for you to enforce it or to try and convince him or her. Yes, cinnamon has some known health benefits, but it is no miracle food, and there are other alternatives if your pup does not seem too interested.

Wanting the best for your dog is great, but you want to find health supplements that your pup won’t mind taking, to avoid causing unnecessary stress.

How Much is Too Much?

Common sense is the best way to go on when adding cinnamon to a dog’s diet. A spoon-full of cinnamon is not going to do any good, and it could end up causing stomach issues and irritation, just like it probably would in humans too. Consider how much cinnamon you would use yourself, and then compare your dog’s weight to your own.

Logically, your dog should have significantly less than you would, and especially if you have a small-breed dog. The best way to get this right is by discussing it with a veterinarian, who can give you an exact quantity to feed daily, or advice you to reconsider if your dog’s health requires it.

There are no serious side effects associated with cinnamon (when feeding the correct amount), but if you would notice any changes in the dog’s behavior, physical appearance or even in their bowel movements – stop giving cinnamon to your dog and contact your veterinarian for advice.

You can’t rule out the risk of an upset stomach, especially if your dog has food sensitivities. All dogs are different, and even if most dogs do well with cinnamon, there is no guarantee that it will be the right additive for your pooch.

Cinnamon – Yes or No?

Considering all the information available about cinnamon, it is clear that it is indeed non-toxic to our canine buddies (meaning it does not necessarily cause any harm), but is it a good enough reason to feed it? It has known health benefits if used moderately, but it can be somewhat tricky to feed it in a good and efficient way.

There is also that small risk of causing your dog to get an upset tummy, which is probably not something you want to deal with, so you might want to consider getting other supplements rather than using cinnamon. There are dog supplements using cinnamon as an ingredient, and it might be a smarter choice than feeding cinnamon directly.

There are so many different options out there that could offer the same health benefits, but without you having to struggle with how to feed it to your pup. You also avoid the risk of accidentally feeding nutmeg instead of cinnamon (both of which look very similar).

We can at least say that there is no reason for panic if your pup licks some cinnamon powder off the table, but it is also questionable whether it truly makes a positive difference for the dog that is fed cinnamon regularly. Studies say it might, but little has been researched with the intention to prove and document the long-term effects.

Disclaimer

There is only so much you can learn on the internet, and you should always discuss it with your veterinarian before introducing new foods or changing your dog’s diet. This is extra important if your dog has had digestive issues in the past, so book an appointment at the nearest vet clinic for help and advice with what to feed and what to stay away from.

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Janni
Janni is a dog loving writer who currently shares her home with two rescue dogs - Emmett and Frankie. Writing doggie-inspired articles is a way for Janni to share her knowledge, find inspiration, and help others.