The jolly holiday season is right upon us! The smell of old-timey favorites like snickerdoodles, cinnamon buns, and cinnamon-baked pumpkin pervades our homes, not to mention the classic pumpkin spice flavor in our morning lattes! No wonder our dogs want to be a part of the holiday action! But before we let our dogs indulge in this culinary extravaganza, let's find out if our furry friends do well with the king of holiday spices — cinnamon!
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the United States, second only to black pepper. It is harvested from trees belonging to the Cinnamomum family, found in the warm regions of the Americas and Southeast Asia. Humans have harnessed the medicinal benefits of cinnamon for thousands of years — its antioxidant-rich composition and anti-inflammatory properties make cinnamon a potent natural remedy for various ailments (e.g., it helps lower blood glucose levels). And it's not just humans who can reap the benefits of cinnamon supplementation — your dog will love a pinch of cinnamon in their diet, as long as they consume it in moderation (too much cinnamon will make them sick) and don't inhale it!
Can Dogs Have Cinnamon? Yes!
Let's dispel the mystery right off the bat — no, cinnamon is not toxic to dogs, and your furry friend will thank you for spicing up their food bowl with a bit of cinnamon! But not without moderation. Too much cinnamon will cause symptoms of toxicity, both in humans and dogs. Furthermore, cinnamon comes in different types, each with its own health benefits and downsides. So let's look at the two main types of cinnamon and decide which best suits your dog's health.
It's Best to Avoid Cassia Cinnamon
Cassia cinnamon is the dark brown spice we generally associate the word "cinnamon" with. It hails from the Eastern part of Asia — specifically China and Indonesia — where we harvest it from the Cinnamomum cassia tree. It owes its ubiquitousness and low prices to the tree's easy cultivation. But "cheap and easy" is not always synonymous with "healthy." Cassia cinnamon is loaded with coumarin, a chemical compound associated with kidney and liver disease in humans. So be sure to feed only tiny amounts if cassia-based cinnamon is your only available option.
Ceylon Cinnamon is the Healthiest Option for Your Dog
Rather than purchasing cinnamon made from the Cinnamomum cassia tree, look for Ceylon cinnamon! It's sweet, lighter in color, and actually healthier for our dogs — its levels of coumarin are significantly lower. However, there's a catch — Ceylon cinnamon is more expensive and harder to find than its dark brown counterpart.
Cinnamon Brings Many Health Benefits to Dogs!
Cinnamon helps dogs combat various health issues, such as:
- It helps dogs suffering from arthritis and joint pain maintain a healthy weight.
- It alleviates injuries and helps reduce swelling with its anti-inflammatory properties.
- It regulates blood sugar in dogs with diabetes.
- Researchers uncovered improvements in heart health and systolic blood pressure in canines who receive cinnamon supplementation.
- It inhibits the spread of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli.
- It relieves digestive discomfort with its healthy concentration of polyphenols (i.e., naturally-occurring compounds acting as antioxidants).
- Cinnamon prolongs the shelf life of food prior to refrigeration.
How Much Cinnamon Powder Can a Dog Have?
Although the king of holiday spices, cinnamon can quickly turn from friend to foe when constantly ingested in high amounts. Canine consumption calls for moderation, so start with a small dosage and refrain from feeding cinnamon to your dog on a daily basis. Diabetic dogs, who consume cinnamon to balance their blood sugar levels, are the exception to the rule.
The following dosages for ground cinnamon will help you gauge the appropriate amount of cinnamon for your dog:
- 10-pound dogs: a pinch to 1/8 of a teaspoon.
- 10 to 20-pound dogs: 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon.
- 20 to 50-pound dogs: 1/4 to 1 teaspoon.
- 50 to 100-pound dogs: 1 to 2 teaspoons.
- Dogs over 100 pounds: 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon.
A Few Precautions to Observe When Feeding Cinnamon to Your Dog
#1: Your Dog Must Not Inhale Powdered Cinnamon
Powdered cinnamon is only healthy for dogs when ingested, not inhaled. When a dog inhales cinnamon powder, their body will respond with symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing.
Instead, mix the cinnamon with honey and feed it as a delicious snack. Avoid feeding cinnamon to pregnant dogs as it can have a very stimulating effect on the uterus.
#2: Steer Clear of Cinnamon Sticks and Essential Oils
Although more practical, cinnamon sticks and essential oils can upset a dog's oral cavity by causing mouth irritation.
#3: Be Careful Not To Feed Too Much Cinnamon
Although not fatal, cinnamon can be toxic for dogs when fed a pinch too much. A trip to the vet will help mitigate the symptoms of cinnamon toxicity and put your heart at ease.
#4: Absolutely No Cinnamon Toast Crunch!
The breakfast of champions is the way many of us start our day, and our dogs will sit right behind our chairs, hoping to catch any crunchy, sugary treat. But feeding classics such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch to our dogs is not a healthy idea. Aside from causing digestive issues like stomach upsets and diarrhea, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is devoid of any nutritional value — a risky price to pay with no reward.
#5: Don't Confuse Cinnamon With Nutmeg!
With such a variety of spices at our disposal, there's no surprise that we sometimes get them all mixed up. But a low-stakes mistake can turn into an unfortunate accident. That is the case with nutmeg.
Cinnamon and nutmeg are complementary spices, but only in our food bowls. That is because the latter contains a toxin called myristicin, a naturally-occurring insecticide found in various herbs and spices. Disorientation, hallucinations, abdominal pain, and increased blood pressure make up the most common symptoms of myristicin poisoning.
Although toxic to dogs, only large quantities of nutmeg (e.g., 1 to 3 tablespoons) cause dangerous symptoms — small amounts, such as the ones found in baked goods, will only upset your dog's tummy. Do not hesitate to see a veterinarian if your dog has consumed the wrong spice, even in tiny amounts.
Time for Some Yummy Baked Treats for Your Dog!
Are you unsure how to supplement your dog's diet with cinnamon? Our unique recipes will help you whip up a healthy, nutritious cinnamon snack for your furry friend in no time!
Pumpkin Treats (Breakfast Bars) From Volhard Dog Nutrition!
- 4 cups of oats.
- 1 cup of millet (or barley).
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour.
- 4 eggs with shells.
- 1/2 cup of safflower oil.
- 1/2 cup of molasses.
- 2 tablespoons of local raw honey.
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
- 1 cup of pumpkin.
- 1/4 cup of boiling water.
How to prepare:
- Choose your pan size.
- Spray with non-stick cooking spray. For the smaller size, 1 tablespoon fits perfectly. For the larger size, 1/4 cup fits perfectly.
- Bake at 350 F for approximately 10-15 minutes (cupcake pans) or 45-60 minutes (9x13 pans). If your dog likes them crispier, you can turn off the oven and leave them in for an additional 10-30 minutes.
- Protein: 7.18%.
- Fat: 11.91%.
- Ash: 1.28%.
- Fiber: 4.83%.
- Net carbs: 37.76%.
- Total kcal in recipe: 3,318.
- Total kcal per gram: 2.59.
Yummy Cinnamon Oat Cookies!
- 2 cups of oat flour.
- ½ cup of plain applesauce.
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- 1 pasture-raised egg.
- 1 teaspoon of honey.
- ½ tablespoon of coconut oil.
How to prepare:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Mix the flour, applesauce, and cinnamon.
- Add in the egg once the ingredients are well mixed.
- Add the honey and coconut oil to the dough.
- Let the dough chill for 15 minutes. Roll out the dough to the desired thickness and use cookie cutters to create your preferred cookie shapes.
- Line the baking sheet with coconut oil.
- Place the dough on the baking pan and bake for 10 (soft texture) to 20 minutes (crunchy cookies).
- Allow the cookies to cool down, and serve them to your dog. The cookies can be stored in the fridge for future use.
Halloween Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Biscuits!
- 2 1/2 cups of whole-wheat flour.
- 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.
- 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter.
- 2 large, beaten eggs.
How to prepare:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Mix the first three ingredients. Whisk in the pumpkin and the peanut butter.
- Beat in the eggs until you're left with a smooth dough.
- Roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness and use cookie cutters to create your preferred cookie shapes.
- Bake the cookies for 35-40 minutes. Allow them to cool down, then feed them to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon? Yes, Please!
Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices a dog can have. With its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to regulate blood sugar and improve heart health, cinnamon can help tackle many health conditions. Just be sure to feed it to your dog properly — consuming cinnamon sticks and essential oil or inhaling cinnamon powder will only make matters worse for your furry friend. But if you practice moderation, your dog and cinnamon will have a fruitful relationship. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!