Mmm Cinnamon. Perhaps you sprinkle it in your coffee or bake it into a tasty seasonal treat. Whether you love or hate the taste, you must certainly enjoy the smell. In addition to an alluring scent and yummy taste, cinnamon has the added bonus of lucrative health benefits. Interestingly enough, you are not the only member of your household that can reap the benefits of cinnamon. That’s right, your beloved family dog cannot only eat cinnamon but enjoy a healthy boost in the process. However, like any food or supplement, there are caveats to canine cinnamon consumption. In this article, we are going to answer all aspects of the question, “can dogs have cinnamon”?
What is Cinnamon?
If you are unfamiliar with the delectable spice, cinnamon is most commonly seen as a fine, rusty-brown colored powder. You may have also experienced cinnamon in a rolled stick form. Either way, cinnamon is, in fact, derived from the bark of a small tree that is native to Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?
When appropriately administered, cinnamon is completely safe and non-toxic for dogs. Like with any new supplement in your dog’s diet, moderation should be practiced when administering cinnamon. Furthermore, attention must be paid to the types of cinnamon available on the market. There are four types of cinnamon, but two types reign supreme in popularity: Cassia and Ceylon.
The more common of the two, Cassia cinnamon is darker in color and slightly more bittersweet than the Ceylon variety. In the case of dog safety and health, owners must exercise extreme moderation if you use Cassia cinnamon in your dog’s diet. Cinnamon of the Cassia variety contains a compound called coumarin, which can be harsh on the liver in large amounts. However, a single teaspoon a day of cassia cinnamon has proved safe and effective in dogs.
On the other hand, Ceylon is a lighter colored and sweeter cinnamon varietal. Also known as “true cinnamon” Ceylon tends to cost more than cassia. Furthermore, Ceylon cinnamon has incredibly low levels of coumarin, making it safer for dogs. While Cassia cinnamon is safe in small amounts, we recommend sticking to Ceylon cinnamon for canine use.
Cinnamon vs. Nutmeg
While cinnamon and nutmeg mix beautifully in a number of tasty human treats, nutmeg is not a healthy canine ingredient. Nutmeg contains a compound called myristicin, which is incredibly toxic to dogs. While an accidental bite of a dropped cookie is not necessarily a cause for concern, ingestion of too much nutmeg has some considerable side effects. Such as hallucinations, increased heart rate, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and seizures.
If your dog cleverly finds his or her way into your spice rack or any other unsavory substances, do not hesitate to call Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Now that we have established the best type of cinnamon for your dog, let’s get into the health benefits. If you didn’t know, cinnamon has been a popular homeopathic remedy in humans for centuries. Now, research is continuing to surface proving cinnamon is an effective health-aid for our canine companions as well. Cinnamon is a powerful anti-inflammatory, disease and infection fighter, and natural antioxidant.
Cinnamon for Diabetes
Most commonly praised for its blood-sugar reducing abilities, cinnamon is wildly beneficial in treating diabetes. Not only does the appropriate daily dose of cinnamon raise insulin resistance, it actually improves the body’s capacity to use insulin effectively. This results in improved glucose and blood levels. Furthermore, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar. These benefits are useful as diabetes prevention, as well as treatment. Better still, cinnamon is effective for dogs that are at a higher risk of diabetes, such as old or overweight pups.
Better Brain Function
Whether you are training a new puppy or teaching an old dog new tricks, cinnamon can come in handy. Recent studies have shown that even the scent of cinnamon can help improve brain functionality, especially regarding memory-based activities.
A Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Cinnamon is an incredibly versatile spice, both in benefits and in chemical make-up. Regarding the composition of cinnamon, eugenol is present in spades. This natural substance gives cinnamon its anti-inflammatory qualities. As you may know, inflammation is the key ingredient to almost any physical pain source. One of the most common culprits of inflammation is arthritis. That is to say, cinnamon has been known to relieve arthritically-inclined canines after a week of daily administration.
Antioxidant and Anti-Cancer
That’s right, the natural antioxidant abilities of cinnamon have been known to prevent and slow the growth of cancer cells in dogs. As if could get any better than that, the antioxidant vitamins also effectively help prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. These issues are a direct response to the bodies build-up of plaque in the arteries. Fortunately, the antioxidant abilities of cinnamon prevent the cholesterol oxidation that causes said build up.
Cinnamon is rich in iron, vitamins A and C, and fiber. These nutrients prove wildly beneficial to improving the strength and resilience of your dog’s immune system. Considering the immune system is the body’s first defense against disease and infection, a strong immune system is priceless.
Easing Digestive Issues
One of the most common issues in dogs is of the stomach variety. Whether your dog responds with vomit or diarrhea, cinnamon can help regulate gastrointestinal functionality. Not only has cinnamon been known to relieve an aching tummy, but the powerful spice actually improves digestion.
As previously mentioned, cinnamon is a fiber-rich antioxidant. These two qualities work in tandem beautifully to construct healthy and regular bowel movements, all the while preventing further gastrointestinal issues from arising.
Better still, if you happen to have an exceptionally gassy dog on your hands, cinnamon may just be the cure your nose craves.
Cinnamon Side Effects
When administered appropriately, we are pleased to report cinnamon has virtually no side-effects in dogs. As previously mentioned, too much Cassia cinnamon can eventually lead to liver damage, so try to stick to Ceylon cinnamon. Additionally, if and when ingested in too large of doses, cinnamon has been known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, and increased heart rate in dogs.
Cinnamon Administration for Dogs
As with any new supplement or medication, you always want to consult your vet first before giving cinnamon to your dog. While there are a number of liquid and capsule cinnamon options on the market, you should not consider these options for dogs. Cinnamon supplements like that are too highly concentrated for canine consumption. Instead, you should stick to organic, ground Ceylon cinnamon when shopping for with your dog’s health in mind.
Better yet, you can choose from a variety of tasty treats ready-made by several brands. Many of the options on the market are packed with additional healthy and beneficial ingredients, like pumpkin and turmeric.
Homemade Cinnamon Dog Treats
If you enjoy cooking and knowing exactly what your dog is eating, you can even make your own cinnamon dog treats right at home! Daring Gourmet has a tasty receipt dogs love!
- 1 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon raw local honey
- ⅓ cup all-natural unsweetened creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 4 omega-3 fish oil capsules (extract liquid and discard capsules)
- 1/2 cup oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup wheat germ
- Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix dry ingredients together first. Then add all other ingredients, minus the water. Stir mixture and add water in little by little until you get a dough-like material.
- Lightly flour a cutting board and use a rolling pin to flatten dough to roughly 1/4 inches thick. Use a cookie cutter of your liking (bone shapes are fun!) to cut out biscuits. Recycle scraps by re-rolling and cutting any leftover dough.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Biscuits are done when they are golden and hard. Be sure to allow biscuits to cool completely before serving. When kept in an airtight container, biscuits will stay fresh for several days.
How Much Cinnamon Should I Give My Dog?
If you choose to use pure ground Ceylon cinnamon, simply mix it into your dog’s regular food once daily. Dosage varies depending on weight, as follows:
- 1/8 Teaspoon: 1-10 pound dog
- 1/4 Teaspoon: 10-20 pound dog
- 1/2-1 full teaspoon: 20-50 pound dog
- 1 to 2 teaspoons: 50-100 pound dog
- 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon: dogs 100 pounds and over
Please note those are primarily teaspoon measurements. That is to say, a little cinnamon goes quite a long way in canine health.
Can Dogs Have Cinnamon: In Summary
So there you have it, dogs can, in fact, eat cinnamon. Better yet, cinnamon naturally provides countless health benefits to our canine compadres. From arthritis relief to diabetes treatment and prevention, cinnamon is sure to provide a tasty health boost for your pup. However, don’t think you should break off a piece of your favorite snickerdoodle cookie for Fido. Cinnamon’s cousin in the spice world, Nutmeg, is not healthy for dogs. So, stick to yummy cinnamon and watch your beloved dog reap the benefits!