Can dogs eat cinnamon?

Whether you are baking sweets in the kitchen or sitting down for a snack, your dog’s nose will likely lead her to your side. Cinnamon is commonly found in baked goods, cereals, breakfast bars, and many other foods. The question is... is cinnamon safe for dogs to eat?

Cinnamon powder

 Cinnamon powder is derived from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, cinnamon is not toxic to dogs, cats, or horses.

A small amount of cinnamon—such as that found in baked goods—is not likely to cause problems for your pet. Keep in mind, however, that large amounts of any ingredient your pet is not used to eating can cause significant intestinal upset. Your pet could also have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to any food ingredient. Since you may not know a food’s entire list of ingredients, it is safest to stick to pet-specific treats for your furry friend.

You should also never attempt to give your dog a spoonful of cinnamon to swallow. People who have tried this dangerous dare— known as the cinnamon challenge—have suffered severe lung irritation, lung collapse, and even long-term lung damage when the cinnamon is breathed into the airways.

Cinnamon oil

 With the increasingly popular use of essential oils for aromatherapy, many people have cinnamon oil in their homes. Cinnamon oil is much more concentrated than the powdered form, and a small amount can cause local irritation to the lips, tongue, and mouth. If you think your dog has been exposed to cinnamon oil or has ingested a large amount of powdered cinnamon, seek advice from your veterinarian right away.

Toxic ingredients commonly used with cinnamonAlthough cinnamon is non-toxic, many ingredients that tend to accompany it are not so safe. Before you share a bite of any human food with your pet, read the label to make sure it does not contain ingredients you know to be dangerous. Some to be aware of:

  • Nutmeg is relatively safe, but can cause disorientation, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures if eaten in extremely large quantities.

  • Raisins (and grapes) can lead to life-threatening kidney failure. Toxic doses vary between animals, and eating just one or two can be dangerous.

  • Chocolate can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, increased body temperature, and deadly heart arrhythmias.

  • Macadamia nuts can cause lethargy, vomiting, weakness, and tremors if ingested.

If your pet is showing reactions to any of these ingredients, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Recipes for pet-safe treats

Although it is tempting to share yummy sweets with your pup, it is safest to stick to dog treats. If you want to do something really special, bake up a batch of homemade dog treats your pet will go crazy for.

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

Try this recipe from Allrecipes. It contains cinnamon in an amount that is safe for your pooch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup plain canned pumpkin

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter*

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Note: Ensure the peanut butter you use does not contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Mix together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon. The dough will be dry and stiff, but you can add a small amount of water to make it workable if needed.

  3. Roll dough out to ½-inch thickness and cut into ½-inch circles or use a small cookie cutter to cut into dog biscuit shapes.

  4. Place on cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes, until treats are hard.

  5. Allow to cool completely before sharing with your dog.

Cinnamon rolls for your dog (and you!)

You and your dog will love these delectable cinnamon rolls from the Honest Kitchen.

Roll ingredients:

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup Canola oil

  • 1 egg

  • 2 Tbsp honey

  • 2 Tbsp oats

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Icing ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese

  • 1 Tbsp milk

Instructions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the rolls in a medium to large bowl. Stir until it is evenly mixed.

  2. Set out the light cream cheese so it can get soft for the icing.

  3. Use your hands to pack the dough together into a large pile.

  4. Move the dough to a cutting board and use a rolling pin to roll it out until it resembles the shape of a rectangle less than half an inch thick. Using a knife cut off the excess dough on the sides so the rectangle is even and straight. 

  5. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

  6. Cut the dough into strips about 1–2 inches wide and 4–6 inches long (depending on the size of your dog).

  7. Lightly drizzle a line of honey along the inside of each strip and sprinkle a dash or two of oats over the honey. Starting from a long edge of a strip, roll up jelly-roll style and pinch the edge of the roll to seal.

  8. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and place rolls at least an inch apart. Bake for 10–15 minutes.

  9. While rolls are baking, combine the light cream cheese and milk for icing. Stir well and spoon it into a plastic bag.

  10. When rolls are done, let them cool for at least 15 minutes. Once they have cooled, cut off one of the bottom tips of the plastic bag for the icing and drizzle over top of the rolls.

  11. (Your dog’s favorite step!) It's time to let your dog enjoy a piece of your hard work! She will probably be startled that this time the yummy cooked treat you made was for her!

  12. This is a cinnamon roll recipe for your dog, but if you want to try one of the dog treats you made then go for it. You know exactly what went into them and who knows, you might even find it tasty!

  13. Refrigerate the remaining treats.

For additional recipes for tempting treats you can make at home for your pet, check out our recipes section.