Can Dogs Have Marshmallows?

Julia Henriques
can dogs have marshmallows

Marshmallows are a popular treat with humans, especially around campfires (s’mores, anyone?). But you might be wondering if it's safe to share this fluffy confection with your pup. 

So … can dogs have marshmallows? 

The short answer is no, dogs should not have marshmallows. 

But there’s more to the story. Keep reading to get the sugary scoop on why these fluffy treats aren’t the best thing for your companion … whether or not they’re toxic, and what you can feed instead.

Are Marshmallows Safe For Dogs?

No, marshmallows unfortunately aren’t safe for dogs. Many marshmallows use artificial sweeteners that can be toxic to dogs. 

But even marshmallows that don't contain artificial sweeteners ] aren’t safe for dogs either. Marshmallows are made from corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, and then coated with either cornstarch or confectioners' sugar. Of these ingredients, only gelatin is something dogs should eat. None of the other ingredients are good for your dog!  (And by the way, if your dog ever eats gelatin, it should be unflavored, unsweetened gelatin, preferably from grass-fed animals. Home made bone broth is a good source of natural gelatin.)

 Can Dogs Have Marshmallows? 

Dogs should not have marshmallows because they contain little to no nutritional value or health benefits, especially for dogs. 

You could argue that dogs can technically have marshmallows, in the sense that they may be harmless in very small quantities for some dogs ... but they’re still not a recommended treat.

 Here’s why dogs shouldn’t have marshmallows:

  1. High Sugar Content: The high sugar content in marshmallows can lead to weight gain, dental problems, and potentially contribute to the development of diabetes in dogs.
  2. Harmful Additives: Most marshmallows contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, which can be harmful to dogs. Ingredients like xylitol, a common sweetener, are toxic to dogs and can cause a severe drop in blood sugar levels and even death.
  3. Choking Hazard: Marshmallows are soft and chewy, making them a potential choking hazard for dogs, especially small breeds or dogs prone to swallowing food without proper chewing.
  4. Digestive Upset: Dogs have a different digestive system than humans, so eating marshmallows could cause gastrointestinal issues like upset stomach, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis.

Can Marshmallows Kill Dogs?

Yes, marshmallows could kill a dog ... especially if they contain the sweetener xylitol. Xylitol is highly toxic and can cause fatal illness in dogs.

Can Dogs Have Mini Marshmallows? 

If you're wondering can dogs eat mini marshmallows, the answer is no ... dogs shouldn’t have mini marshmallow either. The concerns mentioned above apply to all types of marshmallows, whatever the size – or color! 

While mini marshmallows may seem less risky because they’re smaller, they still pose the same health risks and should be avoided.

Alternatives To Marshmallows 

Just because you can’t share marshmallows with your pup doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy anything sweet or tasty. In fact, there are plenty of other sweet treats you can use as alternatives to marshmallows for dogs. 

If you're looking for safe and tasty marshmallow alternatives, here are some options:

  1. Fruits: Many dogs enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits like apples, berries, watermelon, or bananas. Remember to remove any seeds or pits, and feed them in moderation.
  2. Vegetables: Crunchy vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and green beans can also make excellent treats for dogs.
  3. Dog-Specific Treats: There are numerous dog-friendly treats available in natural pet stores that are specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. Or you can make your own. Simple dehydrated meats and organ meats are delicious healthy treats for your dog. 

RELATED: How to pick the best dog training treats … 

Do Marshmallows Have Xylitol?

Marshmallows may seem harmless, but the potential dangers to your dog are deadly. The biggest risk is the presence of xylitol, a sweetener commonly found in certain marshmallow brands (particularly ones that claim to be low in sugar.) 

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can have severe consequences, even in small quantities. In larger doses, it can be fatal.

This is because xylitol in dogs leads to a sharp drop in blood sugar levels, which can cause further dangerous complications like seizures or death if not promptly addressed. Xylitol can also have hepatotoxic effects, meaning it can harm the liver, even days after ingestion. 

If you think your dog’s eaten anything containing xylitol, get him to your vet urgently.

RELATED: The dangers of xylitol for dogs … 

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Marshmallows

If your dog has eaten a very small amount of marshmallows that don’t contain xylitol, he may be fine. Observe him and watch for changes in behavior. 

Dogs who’ve eaten a lot of marshmallows may have symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea

If your dog has eaten marshmallows with xylitol, you may see more serious symptoms like ataxia (staggering or uncoordinated gait) or seizures, as well as the symptoms above.

Even without xylitol, there is also risk of pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas that can be serious and may require hospitalization. So if your dog eats a lot of marshmallows, contact your vet immediately.

Depending on the timeframe, your vet might recommend inducing vomiting to prevent prolonged gastrointestinal distress, pancreatitis, or bowel obstruction.

Can Dogs Have Marshmallows? | Bottom Line 

When it comes to marshmallows, it's best not to share them with your dog. The high sugar content, artificial ingredients, choking hazards, and potential digestive upset make marshmallows an unsuitable treat for dogs … and a potentially deadly one if they contain xylitol.

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