Cinnamon is one of the most recognizable, warming flavors that you can find. It's no surprise that its cozy aroma features in various products – biscuits, bread, teas, toothpaste, and even candles. Cinnamon is pretty much all around you and your dog, and it's even more prevalent during the festive seasons.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ve probably wondered if it’s safe to share your sugary snacks with your beloved pup. When you’re baking and you drop a few crumbs on the floor, you may want to let your dog clean up the mess! You see your pooch happily nibbling on a piece of cinnamon roll, and you can’t help but ask, “I’m sure a bit of sugar is okay, but is it safe for my dog to eat cinnamon?”
Is Cinnamon Toxic to Dogs?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just sprinkle it onto your dog’s meal or let your pup munch on a whole cinnamon bun as a treat.
Too much of the spice can cause problems for your pet if given in large amounts. You also have to make sure the cinnamon snack doesn't include harmful ingredients, such as chocolate or raisins.
Giving your pooch only a small amount of cinnamon from time to time is perfectly safe and can even be beneficial. You should add no more than half a teaspoon of cinnamon to your dog’s food, depending on your pup’s size. If done cautiously, adding cinnamon to your furry friend's diet can spice up his meal times.
It is also worth noting that there are two popular varieties of cinnamon: Cassia and Ceylon.
- Cassia cinnamon – usually dark-red in color with a rougher texture and thicker sticks. This variety is cheaper and lower in quality, making it the dominant kind of cinnamon on the market.
- Ceylon cinnamon – known for its tan-brown color and delicately sweet flavor. It is more expensive than Cassia due to its higher quality.
Cassia contains coumarin, which can be toxic to your dog when given in large amounts. When it comes to your pup’s diet, Ceylon cinnamon is the healthier option. Ceylon is far less likely to cause harm compared to Cassia.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Not only is cinnamon a fragrant and flavorful spice, but it also contains the following potential health benefits for your dog:
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Cinnamon is known for its ability to combat inflammation. Humans aren't the only ones who are prone to joint ailments like arthritis - dogs are too. If you have an aging pup struggling with muscle soreness or joint discomfort, cinnamon may help reduce swelling. Half a teaspoon of cinnamon mixed with a tablespoon of honey can go a long way for your dog.
- Blood Sugar Management
Research has explored cinnamon's anti-diabetic and stabilizing properties. According to the study, the spice can play a role in regulating your pup's blood sugar levels. Other studies examining cinnamon's interaction with glucose found that it may increase glucose uptake and reduce insulin resistance. These interactions help lower the glycemic index of your diabetic or senior canine.
- Supports Heart Function
A study from the Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances linked cinnamon to improved cardiovascular health. It also revealed that dogs who ingested cinnamon had substantially lower heart rate and systolic blood pressure.
Cinnamon is packed with highly potent antioxidants like polyphenols. Antioxidants fight free radicals or “oxidants” that cause oxidative damage. Having an antioxidant-rich diet can help prevent heart diseases or even cancer.
- Enhanced Brain Function
Research has discovered a connection between cinnamon and cognitive ability. A whiff of cinnamon may help improve brain function, particularly attention and memory. A study has also examined the spice’s potential to prevent neurological disorders.
- Antifungal Properties
If your dog is prone to allergies or yeast infections, cinnamon's antibacterial and antifungal properties may lend a helping hand. The spice is shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria and the fungus Candida albicans.
Can You Give Too Much Cinnamon?
Too much of any food can be bad for your dog, and cinnamon is no exception. It is best to give no more than a teaspoon of cinnamon per day because higher amounts could potentially bring more harm than benefit to your pup.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, cinnamon is not fatal to canines. However, large amounts of the spice can lead to the following side effects:
- Low blood sugar
- Changes in heart rate
- Liver disease
Prolonged exposure or direct inhalation of cinnamon can also irritate the lungs and cause coughing, difficult breathing, or choking. It is also not advisable to give your dog cinnamon if she is pregnant.
If you believe your pooch consumed too much cinnamon, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian as soon as possible!
A Word on Nutmeg
Cinnamon and nutmeg are two different spices derived from the same parent plant; they're often used together when cooking. However, although cinnamon is safe for canine consumption, nutmeg is a huge no-no for dogs
Nutmeg contains myristicin, which is toxic to dogs. If your dog ingests too much nutmeg, they may experience increased heart rate, hallucinations, disorientation, and possibly even seizures. Call your local veterinarian immediately if your dog has consumed a very large amount of nutmeg.
Safe Cinnamon Treats for Dogs
The Pet Hemp Company also offers several dog treats that safely contain cinnamon. The treats are made with 100% natural ingredients and are gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic. Your pup will certainly love these healthy and yummy snacks.
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