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Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows? Facts & Safety Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Dogs Eat marshmallow

Marshmallows are sweet treats that many of us enjoy, whether straight out the packet or heated up over a roaring log fire or barbeque. They are made of sugar, with a little gelatin, and they are whipped until they are filled with air so that they melt in the mouth.

While they are really tasty, and a handful can be considered a relatively safe treat for humans, are they safe for dogs? Some marshmallows may not be toxic to dogs, but they are high in sugar, and some contain alternatives to sugar that are toxic. Therefore, we don’t recommend them for your pooch. Consider natural and healthier alternatives to marshmallows like cantaloupe or watermelon.

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Are Marshmallows Bad for Dogs?

twisted marshmallows
Photo Credit: Jumpstory

Marshmallows are not healthy for dogs. They are made of sugar and gelatin. Neither of these offers health benefits to your dog.

While sugar is not great for humans, it is very bad for dogs. Their systems are sensitive to sugar. It can wreak havoc on their dental health, and because of the size of dogs, even a small amount of sugar can cause them to become overweight. As with humans, obesity is a major issue, and once a dog has put weight on it is very difficult for them to shed it. What’s more, you can’t explain to a dog that they are putting their health at risk.

Standard marshmallows use sugar as their main ingredient. While this ingredient is bad for dogs, it is actually less dangerous for canines than the alternative.

Diet and low-calorie 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. You should avoid giving this substance to dogs at all costs as it is even more deadly than the theobromine that is found in chocolate.

Vet specialist examination sick dog
Photo credit: Ruth Black, Shutterstock

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Marshmallows?

If your dog eats a marshmallow, the first thing to do is to check the ingredients.

Sugar is not toxic, so if the marshmallow was a standard treat and contains sugar rather than sweetener alternatives, your dog should be fine. Keep an eye on him and look for symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. As a one-off, if your dog has stolen one or even a few of these treats from the bag, they should be okay.

On the other hand, if the ingredients list xylitol or artificial sweeteners, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. With xylitol being such a highly toxic ingredient, your vet may want to induce vomiting as soon as possible.

How to Prepare Marshmallows

Even if the marshmallows contain sugar, rather than artificial sweetener, you should not feed them to your dog. As such, there is no safe or suggested way to prepare them for your dog. Avoid feeding this treat to your pet.

Healthy Alternatives to Marshmallows

Instead, there are various healthy alternatives that you can give your dog, including some healthy sweet treats:

Cantaloupe is naturally sweet and juicy. It will appeal to your dog and will prove especially popular on a hot day or as a treat while you enjoy toasted marshmallows from the fire. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare while offering several beneficial vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe contains vitamin A and vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, fiber, and antioxidants. Simply cut the cantaloupe as you would for your own treats.

a bucket of marshmallows
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Watermelon has plenty of similar properties and is also very high in water content so offers a good source of hydration for your dog. It contains potassium, as well as magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and beta-carotene.

Other fruits that are sweet and contain vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to your dog include strawberries, mangoes, and apples. You can feed these individually, or you can peel them, cut them up, and freeze them. Not only do these frozen treats provide a refreshing means of hydration but they are nutrient-rich and healthy for your dog too.

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Are Marshmallows Safe for Dogs?

Marshmallows are not good for dogs in any form. Standard marshmallows are made of sugar and these kinds of treats are bad for dogs because your pooch will put on weight. It can lead to obesity and increase the likelihood of your dog developing issues like diabetes.

Low-sugar and sugar-free alternatives contain chemical substitutes like xylitol. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and even a small amount can have catastrophic results.

The best option is to completely avoid feeding marshmallows to your dog. Opt for naturally sweet alternatives like watermelon and cantaloupes. These are refreshing, tasty, juicy, and hydrate while providing vitamins and minerals.

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