Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon? Health Benefits and Risks

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6 min read
6 min read

Updated - Mar 20th, 2023

Key Points

  • There are two different types of cinnamon – cassia and ceylon – but ceylon is safer for dogs to eat.
  • A teaspoon of cinnamon should have no negative affect on your dog, verconsumption of cinnamon can cause digestive issues. 
  • Despite its benefits, cinnamon isn’t a necessary food source for your dog – and it’s best to limit their intake.

Cinnamon rolls, cinnamon snap cookies, cinnamon hazelnut biscotti – they’re all deliciously mouthwatering desserts with one spice in common. But as you indulge in these treats and catch your pup shooting you a pleading glance, you may wonder: Can dogs eat cinnamon? And if so, how much? 

Yes, dogs can eat cinnamon and it can have some pretty amazing health benefits when served in moderation. However, that’s not to say you can give your dog any food that includes cinnamon. 

Let’s dive into the health benefits, risks, and preparation do’s and dont’s when feeding your dog cinnamon.

First things first: What is the difference between cinnamon and cassia? 

Cinnamon is a type of spice taken from the inner bark of a species of tree called Cinnamomum. It comes in two types that are frequently used in many recipes: cassia and Ceylon aka “true” cinnamon.

  • Cassia cinnamon originates from Indonesia and China. These sticks have a rougher texture, and are dark brown in appearance. Known for its strong taste, you can find cassiain grocery stores for a relatively inexpensive price. Cassia contains large amounts of coumarin, a natural compound that can be toxic for dogs.
  • Ceylon cinnamon, also known as the “true” cinnamon, is harder to find and more expensive. It comes from Sri Lanka, is light brown, and tastes sweeter than cassia cinnamon. Because it has less coumarin, ceylon is considered safer for dogs to eat. 

So, if you’re going to give your dog cinnamon, make sure it’s ceylon cinnamon first.

How much cinnamon can I give my dog? 

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, a teaspoon of cinnamon should have no toxic effect on your pooch. But remember that dogs come in different sizes, from toy-sized poodles to large mastiffs, so safe doses will vary depending on your dog’s height, weight, and health status. 

Due to their curious nature, some dogs are more likely to sneak into the pantry and get into your food. If you find that they accidentally ingested cinnamon powder or chewed on a stick and are worried about their health, call the Animal Poison Control Center at 855-764-7661. Then, get in touch with your vet to get their advice, especially if your dog begins to exhibit noticeable symptoms. 

Cinnamon for dogs: Preparation do’s and dont’s

  • Do give your dog an occasional half a teaspoon of cinnamon if you must. However, as mentioned, this amount can vary depending on their size and current health.
  • Don’t give your dog 

If you want to make tasty treats at home, take a look at the following DIY options:

Health benefits of cinnamon for dogs

Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde that is responsible for many wonderful health benefits such as:

  • Antioxidants: Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, which protect against cell damage from environmental factors. It also slows down cognitive aging, supports brain function, and improves focus and memory. This can be helpful for aging dogs who suffer from dementia.
  • Anti-fungal properties: Dogs with allergies or yeast infections may benefit from eating cinnamon in small quantities. It prevents the growth of bacteria like salmonella and listeria, or yeast like candida albicans.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Cinnamon can reduce swelling and inflammation in dogs with arthritis, sore muscles, and joint pain.
  • Heart health: A study reported that controlled doses of cinnamon helped dogs with heart issues by lowering their heart rate and systolic blood pressure.
  • Blood sugar regulation: Several studies have proved that cinnamon, when given in small doses, can lower blood glucose levels and insulin resistance. 

If you feel that your dog can benefit from having cinnamon in their diet, consult your vet to see what they think! before making any changes to their meals. 

Health risks of cinnamon for dogs

Cinnamon comes in many forms: sticks, essential oils, and powder. Despite its wide range of health benefits, it can cause unwanted digestive issues like a stomach ache, or even irritation in your dog’s mouth.

Have you ever eaten too much ground cinnamon and felt it dry up your throat? When dogs eat cinnamon, they can go through the same struggle. If it’s a form of powder, they can inhale it and suffer from coughing, choking, and difficulty breathing. 

Immediately contact your vet if your dog begins to exhibit signs of overdose, such as:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Liver problems
  • Changes in heart rate 

Many pastries and desserts contain cinnamon, making them a delectable treat anytime, anywhere – but not for your dog! Baked goods contain high fats and extra ingredients like butter, sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, xylitol (a highly toxic artificial sweetener), raisins, nuts, and nutmeg, which are unhealthy for dogs. In the long term, they can cause obesity, stomach problems, and pancreatitis

Nutmeg and cinnamon 

Although cinnamon and nutmeg technically come from the same parent plant, they have key differences. While cinnamon isn’t toxic for dogs in small amounts, nutmeg is. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound also found in dill, parsley, and peyote. A small dose will likely not cause serious health problems, but because every dog is different, it’s recommended that you don’t let them eat it at all. 

Side effects can last up to 48 hours and occur after your pooch consumes 1-3 tablespoons of nutmeg. Some toxicity symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Disorientation 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

If your dog accidentally consumes nutmeg, don’t wait – call your vet, closely monitor for symptoms, and if necessary, take them to an animal hospital for prompt treatment. When it comes to responding to accidents, time is of the essence! 

Can dogs eat cinnamon FAQs

What happens if my dog eats too much cinnamon? 

If you’re worried that your dog ate too much cinnamon, your best bet is to contact your vet. Overconsumption, cassia cinnamon sticks, and cinnamon-scented essential oil can be dangerous for your dog and cause symptoms like coughing, choking, labored breathing, and irritation to the mouth. 

What other foods should dogs not eat?

You should avoid feeding your dog avocado, chocolate, grapes, coffee, and citrus fruit. All of these foods contain toxins that are highly dangerous for their health. If you think your dog swallowed something toxic, make sure to act fast and contact your vet. 

What are the benefits of cinnamon for dogs?

Cinnamon contains antioxidants, anti-fungal properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and can support heart health and blood sugar regulation. However, it should not be fed to your dog regularly, as this can cause both short and long-term health issues. 

Cinnamon can be safe for your dog to eat and even offer some health benefits, but it isn’t a necessary ingredient to add to your dog’s diet. While we can delight in baked goods and sugary sweets, dogs will be just as happy with their puppy treats!


Foods that are safe for humans to eat can sometimes be poisonous to pets. Always ask your veterinarian if you're ever unsure whether or not a food is safe for your pet to consume. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information. Keep in mind that this article is meant to be educational and shouldn't be used as a replacement for professional medical or dietary advice.

Lynn Guthrie

Lynn Guthrie

Writer, Mom of a Fab Fur Fam of Five
Lynn is a writer and long-time Learning & Development Manager at a large PNW retailer. She's also mom to 3 dogs & 2 cats!
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