Marshmallows are heaven-sent sugary treats for those with a sweet tooth. These soft, bouncy, and chewy delights are well-loved toppings on hot cocoa, cakes, and cereals.
Without these tasty treats, campfires and BBQ nights with family, friends, and canine companions wouldn’t be complete. But, are marshmallows safe for dogs? Can dogs eat marshmallows?
Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows? Is It Safe to Give?
Technically, yes. However, you should not and you don’t have to. Marshmallows are just empty calories that would only cause more harm than good to your pooch.
And we’re not just talking about the risks for obesity, diabetes, and other weight-related issues associated with sugary foods.
If sugar is the problem here, then, our dogs should just be fine with sugar-free marshmallows, right?
Unfortunately, it’s even worse to feed your dog sugar-free marshmallows since these contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to dogs.
Is Feeding Marshmallows Good for Dogs?
While most marshmallows are not toxic to dogs, they are definitely not good for your furry friends (Yes, even to cats!). And this goes beyond the fact that marshmallows lack the nutritional profile that is necessary for dogs to thrive.
Nonetheless, when your dog ate marshmallows that fell on the floor, he should just be fine. If your pup loves marshmallows, you also don’t need to deprive him of his favorite sweet treat. However, just use it as a very occasional treat.
And if you know that your dog loves marshmallows, you can also use them to your dog’s advantage. In particular, they would come handy when you are trying to get your dog to take some undesirable medications. Simply sneak the pill inside one marshmallow and wait until your dog completely swallowed everything.
If your dog is a picky eater, and you’ve had a lot of failed attempts to sneak a pill in a spoon of peanut butter or cream cheese, marshmallow might just do the trick.
So, for your dog’s next dose, feel free to give him even just one marshmallow with his medication inside. But of course, each time you do this, make sure to avoid marshmallows that contain xylitol.
Other than an aid to sneak in medication, marshmallows have no good use for your pup. Hence, it is best not to give these sweet dog treats at all. Or if you will, then, do so just once in a blue moon.
Why Are Marshmallows Bad For Dogs?
Marshmallows are simply sweet chunks of soft and chewy delights made of sugar, water, and gelatin. At times, there’s also corn syrup, vanilla extract, and confectioner’s sugar or cornstarch as a coating. This is basically the anatomy of a marshmallow.
They may be easy to make, and much easier to eat, but these sweet treats are nothing but fillers inside your dog’s stomach. As mentioned earlier, they are just empty calories that would just put your pup at risk for several health issues.
Considering the ingredients used in making a marshmallow, it’s easy to conclude that this dog treat is nothing but junk food that contains very little, if any, nutritional value and health benefits.
Sugar, which is the predominant component of marshmallows, can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and can wreak havoc to dogs’ teeth. Also, too much sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to gastrointestinal upset.
Your pup would most likely experience vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. If these symptoms persist, consult your vet because these can also be signs of impending acute pancreatitis.
The high amounts of sugar and calories even in mini marshmallows are especially dangerous for dogs with diabetes and other weight-related problems. Even if you have a healthy dog, it’s not safe to be complacent and spoil your pup with his favorite sugary treats.
Feeding your pup marshmallows and other high-sugar and high-calorie treats can lead to obesity and diabetes because the body will become resistant to insulin.
As mentioned earlier, one of the major issues with sugar-free marshmallows is the presence of artificial sweeteners used in making them, such as the toxic substance called xylitol.
You should avoid giving your dog even just one marshmallow that contains xylitol because it can be extremely harmful to him.
If your dog consumes a whole bag of sugar-free marshmallows, you should consult your veterinarian immediately as he may already be experiencing xylitol toxicity.
Symptoms of this life-threatening condition include dangerously low blood sugar or extreme hypoglycemia, weakness, staggering, incoordination, and seizures. In worst cases, it can lead to sudden collapse and even death.
Xylitol is also more lethal to dogs than theobromine, the toxic chemical present in chocolates, which occurs in higher quantities in dark chocolates.
Hence, this goes to show that while chocolates are toxic to dogs, sugar-free marshmallows are even more lethal.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Marshmallows?
If your dog eats one or two marshmallows that do not contain xylitol, your pup would just be fine.
However, even if it doesn’t contain xylitol, but if your dog ate too many marshmallows within a short time, then, you can expect your pup to experience gastrointestinal upset and even acute pancreatitis.
As dog owners, we must know the first things that we should do when our pups are in danger. If you suspect that your dog ate too many marshmallows, then, it’s best to call your veterinarian immediately.
Your vet will most likely induce vomiting if your dog ate marshmallows just within the last couple of hours. Simple as it may seem, but doing this can relieve your dog of prolonged gastrointestinal upset, intestinal obstruction, and pancreatitis.
To prevent any of the health risks from eating marshmallows, it’s best to go with other healthier dog treats such as fruits and vegetables.
Sweet Treats That Are Safe for Dogs
If you want to give your pooch a sweet or tasty treat from time to time without compromising his health, you’d better stick to the ones with excellent nutritional value. Feel free to try the following tasty and healthy snacks for your dog:
- Cantaloupe chunks
- Green vegetables
Can dogs eat marshmallows safely? By simply taking all of these things into consideration, we can say that marshmallows are not your dog’s best friend. These sweet treats cannot lighten up his day regularly without giving him pain sooner or later.
As such, while these sugary foods are not toxic to dogs, it’s best not to give these to them at all. Even an occasional marshmallow won’t do any good for your dog, and it can eventually cause some health issues, too.
So, if it’s not for the sole purpose of sneaking an undesirable pill, just don’t bother introducing marshmallows to your dog. There are a lot of healthier dog treat options that you can choose from, as mentioned earlier.
As loving pet owners, we only want the best for our furry companions, and at times, because of our soft heart towards our cats or dogs, we can easily give in to their desires.
And sad to say, these instances when we have a brief lapse in our judgment can be risky for our pets. When it comes to our dog’s health and safety, we should learn to follow our minds and not our hearts.
How many marshmallows can a dog have?
In general, one or two mini-marshmallows now and then is typically safe for dogs.
Can marshmallows kill dogs?
A sugar-free marshmallow treat can contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, that is extremely toxic to dogs. Even if consumed in a small amount, xylitol can cause your dog to experience harmful, and sometimes fatal, side effects.
Can I give my dog one marshmallow?
Most marshmallows are toxic to dogs and could lead to severe organ damage. Dogs cannot eat anything jam-packed with sugar, including marshmallows (especially if they're coated in chocolate). If your dog eats one marshmallow, she should be fine, but keep an eye on her—and get ready to clean up any mess that may follow.
What happens if my dog eats a marshmallow?
Diet and low calories marshmallows use sweeteners like xylitol, rather than sugar. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs. It can lead to symptoms like indigestion, listlessness, trembling, and shaking. Even a small amount of this toxic ingredient can lead to liver failure and seizures.