Few people can resist their dog’s—really—puppy eyes that look like clockwork when a cracker comes out of the box. However, there are certain foods – and ingredients in food — which is a concern when it comes to Fido.
Most pet owners know to avoid giving their pups chocolate and onions, but there are other foods and spices, like cinnamon, that present a bit of a gray area.
“Cinnamon itself is not necessarily a problem for dogs,” says Dr. Danielle Bernal, a global veterinarian with Wellness pet food. “However, the total amount and form may make it a health concern.”
Wondering if your dog can have cinnamon, and if so, how much? Experts answer these questions and more.
Can dogs have cinnamon?
According to Bernal, the cinnamon found on most spice racks is not toxic or lethal to dogs, nor will it cause any adverse reactions. However, he adds, this is “only when given in very small doses” (more on that shortly) and only when it’s in dried spice form.
“Cinnamon essential oil can be toxic to puppies,” explains Bernal. “Due to its high concentration, even a small amount of cinnamon essential oil can cause health problems. It is not recommended to ever give cinnamon essential oil to a dog.”
Additionally, she notes, avoid giving dogs cinnamon sticks, as they can be a choking hazard.
Read more: My dog even chocolate — now what to do?
How much cinnamon is safe for dogs?
As long as your dog’s cinnamon consumption is kept to a minimum (think about it!), letting them enjoy the spice isn’t a problem. “In general, an adult dog should not get more than a teaspoon of cinnamon in his food to avoid any problems with the spice,” he explains. Dr. Dwight Allenvet me Veterinarians.org.
Bernal notes that giving dogs more than a teaspoon of cinnamon “should always be avoided,” as it can potentially cause them to:
- Low blood sugar.
- Liver disease.
- Changes in heart rate.
What happens if a dog eats cinnamon?
If your dog eats a small amount of cinnamon, don’t panic. “Nothing should happen,” says Alleyne. That said, if your pup ingests a large amount of the spice, “it could cause gastrointestinal problems and, in rare cases, liver damage,” he adds. If you are ever concerned about what your dog has ingested, call your veterinarian immediately.
Are there any potential health benefits of cinnamon for dogs?
While large amounts of cinnamon can cause adverse effects in dogs, the reverse is also true.
“In small amounts per serving or when included in a recipe as an occasional treat, cinnamon is safe and may even provide health benefits,” notes Bernal. “Not only does it contain antioxidants and anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, but it can promote heart health and help regulate blood sugar.”
Read more: 26 Homemade Dog Recipes Your Pet Will Love
Can I sprinkle cinnamon on my dog’s food?
“Small amounts of cinnamon are fine to sprinkle on food,” says Bernal. “Try not to exceed a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder sprinkled over food every now and then.”
The bottom line
Cinnamon, as long as it’s used sparingly, is fine for dogs—in fact, it can even be eaten with heart and blood sugar benefits. If you want to include cinnamon in your puppy’s diet, sprinkle a quarter teaspoon or less into his food every now and then. More than that, Bernal notes, can cause problems like upset stomach and irritation.