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Can dogs eat cinnamon?

can dogs eat cinnamon
(Image credit: Getty)

Can dogs eat cinnamon? It’s a reasonable enough question when it comes to what human food can dogs eat, as everyone likes to give their faithful companion a nice treat every now and then. But is it safe to do so in this respect? Or should you stick to the best dog treats?

There are a number of ways dogs can ingest cinnamon. Perhaps they can get it by chewing on a tree or plant, or by licking up the remnants of their human masters’ meal. 

Dr Catherine Angle, DVM of the Pet Poison Helpline said of the risks of dogs ingesting cinnamon: “Large overdoses of the powder or exposure to the essential oil can lead to low blood sugar, liver disease, vomiting, diarrhea and changes in heart rate. Some dogs who are ingesting the powdered spice directly can inhale the spice.  This is very irritating to the lungs and can cause coughing, choking, difficulty breathing and bronchospasm.” 

While obviously none of the above is good, better news is that cinnamon ingestion likely won’t be fatal. There’s probably not a lot of reason to worry if they consume anything more than a teaspoon’s worth, but it’s still something you should look out for. 

As well as the cinnamon powder itself, the essential oil used for cooking can be irritating for pets. As a potential antigen, cinnamon can cause irritation and redness on the skin. While dogs’ fur largely insulates them from the effects of this, it is more likely to cause problems for their internal organs.

With this in mind, it’s probably best to avoid giving your dog access to leftover meals that contain traces of cinnamon, with baked goods being a particular culprit. Like we said, your dog probably won’t be in any immediate danger if they consume cinnamon, but if you’re worried (or they’ve somehow managed to wolf down an absolute ton of the stuff), then as always it’s probably best to consult your local vet.