Cereal bowl of cinnamon toast crunch

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Vet-Verified Nutrition Facts & FAQ

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.


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Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but you may think it’s the best one, too. Whether you’re chowing down on pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, or eggs, it’s hard not to love this meal. However, what’s a dog owner to do when Fido is suddenly interested in what you’ve got on your plate or in your bowl? Can you share your breakfast with your dog? What if it’s something processed like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal?

It would be best if you did not share Cinnamon Toast Crunch with your dog. Read on to find out why and to learn if other breakfast cereal options are more appropriate for your pet.

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Why Can’t Dogs Eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal?

Dogs shouldn’t eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for a number of reasons. As a whole, most breakfast cereals don’t offer much in terms of nutrients.

Let’s take a quick look at the first few ingredients in a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch1: whole-grain wheat, sugar, rice flour, canola and/or sunflower oil, fructose, maltodextrin, and dextrose. The ingredient list doesn’t end there, though, as there are 15+ more listed afterward.

You can see that Cinnamon Toast Crunch can’t provide your dog with the same level of nutrients as a food made specifically with dogs in mind. But if that’s not enough to convince you not to give your dog this unhealthy cereal, let’s look more closely at some of the dangers associated with offering this food to your pet.

Cinnamon crunchy toast close up
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Dangers of Feeding Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal to Dogs

While grains like wheat and flours like rice flour found in Cinnamon Toast Crunch can provide a source of nutrients for dogs, that’s where the nourishment in this cereal ends.

Sugar Content

Sugar is as bad for dogs as it is for us, and being that it’s the second-listed ingredient on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch label, you can bet it’s present in the cereal in large quantities. But it’s not just the “sugar” you need to pay attention to; the list of ingredients also contains “fructose” and “dextrose,” which are both types of sugars. A single serving of the cereal contains 12 grams of sugar or one full tablespoon.

While sugar is not toxic for dogs, it’s very unhealthy. Eating too much sugar really increases the number  of calories in a dog’s diet, and we all know that more calories often equals weight gain, even obesity. Excess weight and obesity can contribute to chronic issues such diabetes and joint issues. Not only that, high amounts of sugar can contribute to dental disease if your dog’s teeth aren’t properly cleaned after eating it.

Erythritol or sugar on spoon
Image Image: Tatiana Frank, Shutterstock

Oil Content

Canola and sunflower oils aren’t toxic for dogs either, but they’re not particularly healthy for them. Canola oil, in particular, is controversial in the canine nutrition world as it may come from genetically modified crops.

Both oils are high in fat, which can lead to obesity and its related conditions if eaten in excess. High-fat diets are also linked to pancreatitis, so avoiding excess and unnecessary fat is generally recommended.

Cinnamon

According to the Pet Poison Hotline2, powdered cinnamon is not toxic to dogs. If your dog consumes less than a teaspoon of cinnamon, they should not experience negative effects (this is, of course, breed and size dependent). However, more than a teaspoon of cinnamon could lead to stomach upset, like vomiting and diarrhea. It could also lead to potential liver disease and a change in heart rate at even higher amounts.

Since your dog would need to consume more than a teaspoon, they would probably need to eat the entire box or more, so cinnamon toxicity may not be a huge problem here, but it can definitely contribute to some yucky feelings.

bowl of ready-to-use ground cinnamon and a few pieces of whole cinnamon
Image Credit: Lilik Uswatin Chasanah, Shutterstock

Maltodextrins

Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal contains maltodextrin, a partially hydrolyzed sugar compound originating from various starches like potatoes, oats, and rice. It’s used in human and pet foods as a binder and thickener. AAFCO has approved its use for pet food, and it is a “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe) food additive.

One study found that maltodextrin can increase the growth of bacteria like E. coli3. While E. coli is found naturally in the intestines of a healthy dog, some strains can cause life-threatening infections in young puppies. The same study found that maltodextrin can also change the composition of gut bacteria in humans in a way that could make one more susceptible to disease. While this has not been replicated in dogs, it is still worth knowing.

What Do I Do if My Dog Ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

If your mischievous pup got into your bowl or box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, don’t fret. As we mentioned, there are no toxic ingredients in the cereal. That doesn’t mean your pup won’t suffer any repercussions from their sugary breakfast, though. They may experience gastrointestinal upset and exhibit signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a tummy ache.

However, if they’ve eaten an entire box of cereal, you may want to reach out to your veterinary team for advice.

woman and labrador dog consulting with the vet
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

Are Any Breakfast Cereals Safe for Dogs?

While some of the simpler breakfast cereals may be okay for dogs to eat occasionally, you should consider the nutritional benefits (or lack thereof) before offering any to your pet. Cereals don’t add much nutritional value to a dog’s diet and shouldn’t really be offered.

However, if you absolutely cannot resist the puppy dog eyes your pet is giving you, the following cereals are generally safe to offer in moderation:

  • Plain cooked Cream of Wheat
  • Plain cooked oatmeal
  • Bran Flakes

Some cereals, such as those containing raisins, chocolate, or xylitol, are toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all times.

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Conclusion

So, can dogs have Cinnamon Toast Crunch? While this cereal isn’t inherently toxic for dogs, one must consider the nutritional benefits of offering it to your pet. Processed foods and those high in sugar are not healthy for our dogs, so it’s best to stick to food and treats made with your pet in mind to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need to thrive.


Featured Image Credit: Ksmphotography707, Shutterstock

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