Honestly, there’s no better special treat than hot chocolate and marshmallows. So, why wouldn’t you wanna share it with your best friend? But, can dogs eat marshmallows?
The short answer is no!
No matter how much you want to, you should not feed marshmallows (yes, “marshmallows”, as in multiple) to your dog for a couple reasons.
First, not all marshmallows are created equal. Dogs eat marshmallows safely when they’re homemade and with fructose, while store-bought kinds or those made with xylitol (study), a sugar substitute, can be extremely toxic to pups.
Xylitol is to a pup what kryptonite is to Superman. Deadly.
Second, even if the marshmallow is safe, it’s probably not the healthiest snack for your dog (article). Marshmallows are basically just sugar and flour, so they offer very little nutritional value or have any health benefits, if any. And because they’re sugary treats, they can induce vomiting or even death.
If your dog ate a few from a whole bag of marshmallows, keep an eye out for any signs of stomach upset and call your vet if you’re worried.
So, you can add marshmallows to the list of human foods your dog can’t eat!
Xylitol in Marshmallows
If you’re not used to checking the ingredients of snacks, you may find yourself wondering what exactly is xylitol?
Well, xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as artificial sweeteners in many products, including marshmallows. While xylitol is safe for humans, it is necessarily toxic to dogs (article) and can cause serious health problems, such as liver failure from xylitol poisoning.
If you think your dog ingested anything containing xylitol, please contact your emergency vet immediately and keep dog medication on hand.
Are Marshmallows Bad for Dogs?
Known for its sweet taste, a mini marshmallow is often thought of as a harmless treat when given in small quantities. However, can dogs eat marshmallows since they contain sugar and corn syrup, which can lead to obesity and diabetes in dogs.
In addition, the marshmallow itself is a choking hazard for dogs. If you do give your dog one marshmallow, be sure to supervise them closely to make sure they don’t choke on it.
Store-bought marshmallows are especially dangerous, and even a piece or two, containing artificial sweetener that is potent enough to kill a small dog (article). A few health concerns your dog may face includes:
Carrying around extra pounds puts your dog at risk for a whole host of health problems (article), from joint pain, diabetes to high blood sugar. It can also shorten his lifespan by up to two years (study).
So what’s behind the bulge? Just like with humans, it often comes down to eating too much and exercising too little. A sedentary lifestyle is deadly for both humans and pets.
Dogs are active creatures and need ample time under the sun to exercise(article), especially with other dogs. And junk food can be hazardous to an active lifestyle. Other causes can be:
- Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease;
- Certain medications, such as steroids or antidepressants;
- A sedentary lifestyle;
- Neutering, which can lead to weight gain in some dogs.
If you think your dog might be carrying around a few extra pounds, talk to your vet for a weight-loss plan that’s safe for your pup.
Dogs can technically eat marshmallows.
However, what you may think makes a great treat for your pooch is a silent killer (article). In fact, if your dog has diabetes, you’ll want to be careful with what they eat. Even if a dog eats mini marshmallows to cope with low blood sugar.
Most marshmallows are high in sugar, and too much sugar can be dangerous for dogs with diabetes. So, if your dog has diabetes, it’s best to avoid this sweet snack.
3. Choking hazard
Dogs have a sweet tooth like their pet parent, if not more. But are marshmallows safe even when you think your dog deserves them?
Marshmallows are a choking hazard for dogs. Because they are so soft and fluffy, they can easily get lodged in a dog’s throat and block their airway. If this happens, it can be very difficult to remove the sweet treat without causing your dog further distress or injury.
For this reason, it is best to avoid giving marshmallows to your dog altogether.
4. Nutritional deficiencies
As much as we love to include our pooches with sugar free marshmallows or make our own marshmallows, this very rare treat can be a danger to their health. While marshmallows may seem harmless, they are actually nutritionally deficit (article) for dogs. Made with gelatin, corn syrup, sugar, and water, they serve no real value for your dog.
For this reason, feeding them marshmallows can cause a spike in their blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for dogs with diabetes or other health conditions.
In addition to being nutritionally empty, marshmallows are also a choking hazard and are not safe for dogs. Because they are sticky and tend to melt in warm weather, they can easily stick to a dog’s throat and cause them to choke.
For these reasons, it’s best to avoid giving your dog marshmallows altogether.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Marshmallows?
If your dog ate marshmallows, don’t freak out and instead check the ingredients. Marshmallows usually contain sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and flavoring. While sugar and corn syrup may not be harmful in small amounts, xylitol can be dangerous for dogs.
In most cases, dogs eat marshmallows and end up experiencing an upset stomach. Symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, offer them small amounts of water or bland chicken and rice to settle their stomach.
Avoid giving them any other food or treats until they have recovered. If your dog ate marshmallows or if you are concerned about their health, contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital right away.
Can Dogs Eat Marshmallow Fluff?
As you may have guessed from the name, marshmallow fluff is made mostly of sugar. There’s also syrup and some stabilizers and emulsifiers in there. All of that sugar leads to tooth decay and is toxic to dogs.
Not only will it lead to an addiction to sweets, but overconsumption of glucose can cause issues in a dog’s urinary tract, and are not safe for dogs.
As we have seen, the answer to the question “can dogs eat marshmallows?” is no!
A single piece or two, won’t kill your dog. But artificial sweetener in most standard marshmallows are bad for dogs and their health (study). Consuming a good amount of food with vitamins and nutrients is enough for a balanced diet. Sugar is just the icing on this cake (pun intended)!
Getting your pup habituated to human snacks and treats at the very beginning would lead them to a lifetime of extensive begging habits.
Instead, choose more dog food or dog treats, to build strong bones and teeth, which positively impact them (study). Fruits, vegetables, carbs or any foods containing beta carotene have all the nutrients most dogs need for healthy functioning.
While marshmallows can be a tasty delectable, understand that it’s not meant to be shared with pets, especially your dog.
Store-bought marshmallows are worse and could be fatal for dogs. Xylitol, a primary ingredient, has been known to be toxic for dogs. So the next time you’re out shopping for some and wondering,”can dogs have marshmallows?”, the answer will be no.
Instead, if you still prefer to offering them a sweet treat, look for healthier alternatives or DIY some home-made marshmallows yourself.
Come next autumn, with home-made marshmallows, both you and your furry friend can cozy it up with cups of cocoa!
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s no definitive answer to how many marshmallows a dog can have, as it depends on the size of the dog and the type of marshmallow. Miniature marshmallows are generally considered safe for dogs, but larger ones may pose a choking hazard. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and give your dog a small number of marshmallows.
The good news is that there are plenty of marshmallows that are perfectly safe for dogs to eat. These marshmallows often contain ingredients like carob or peanut butter, which are perfectly safe for dogs. So if you’re looking for a treat that you can feel good about giving your furry friend, look for marshmallows that are made with dog-safe ingredients.
Store-bought marshmallows may often contain xylitol in their ingredients. Hence, some sugar-free marshmallows may contain xylitol or other sugar alcohols as substitutes for the sugar. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is found in fruits and vegetables. It is safe for people to consume, but it can be harmful to dogs if they eat too much of it.
One marshmallow is not going to hurt your dog, but that doesn’t mean you should make a habit of feeding them sugary treats. Too much sugar can lead to obesity and other health problems in dogs, just as it can in people. So if you do give your dog the occasional marshmallow, make sure it’s in moderation and that they get plenty of exercise to offset the extra calories.
There are a variety of sweets that dogs can enjoy safely. Dog-friendly candy options include plain carob chips, yogurt drops, dehydrated fruits, and peanut butter treats. While some sugarless gum is also safe for dogs, xylitol is dangerous for them and should be avoided. When giving any kind of treat to your dog, always check with your veterinarian first to make sure it’s appropriate for your pup and won’t cause any digestive issues.