Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows?
Have you ever given your dog a marshmallow or thought about sharing one with them? Have they recently eaten a marshmallow accidentally off the floor or from your plate? Are you worried about your dog consuming a marshmallow?
If any of this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ll provide all the information you need to know about whether your dog can safely eat marshmallows. With the help of this guide, you can choose when—if ever—to share this type of snack with your pet.
Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Marshmallows?
No, it is not safe for dogs to eat marshmallows. There are many reasons why your dog should not be intentionally given a marshmallow, including the ingredients and lack of nutrition in this food item. Although there are certainly more harmful foods your dog could ingest, marshmallows are unsafe and should be kept away from your pet.
Is There any Nutritional Value in Marshmallows?
No, there is no nutritional value in a marshmallow. Dogs do not need sugar in their diets, and too much sugar can lead to the development of diabetes and heart disease. Marshmallows are loaded with sugar, and they also contain corn syrup and confectioner’s sugar, too. None of these ingredients are good for dogs; although these ingredients are not toxic, they are certainly not required either.
Dogs who already have diabetes or who have other risk factors and predispositions to diabetes should especially stay away from marshmallows. However, it is best to keep your dog from eating marshmallows no matter what their overall health might be.
Are There Harmful Ingredients in Marshmallows?
Potentially. Regular marshmallows do not contain harmful ingredients, but sugar free and “diet” marshmallows might. These types of marshmallows typically contain Xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, and even just a small amount of this substance can be fatal to dogs as well.
Eating Xylitol can cause a dog’s blood sugar to drop to frighteningly low levels. It may also cause seizures, loss of consciousness, and death. Xylitol poisoning does not take long to begin after a dog ingests Xylitol, so you should take your pet to the emergency vet immediately if they eat something that contains this substance—including marshmallows.
Ingredients in regular marshmallows aren’t toxic like Xylitol, but they still aren’t good for dogs. Many dogs experience stomach upset when eating too much sugar or fat, and marshmallows can contribute to this problem. If your dog has a history of pancreatitis, the sugar level in marshmallows may be especially dangerous for them and could exacerbate the condition.
If your dog shows symptoms like excessive vomiting, uncontrollable diarrhea, loss of coordination or balance, or seizures after eating marshmallows, don’t wait to take them to the emergency veterinarian.
Can Marshmallows Cause Other Health Problems for Dogs?
Aside from the risk of potential Xylitol poisoning and stomach upset, there are other possible health problems.
Marshmallows can also lead to obesity in dogs. If your dog is given a lot of marshmallows and develops a taste for sweet treats like these, they may quickly become obese. Obesity is linked to diabetes in dogs and can also cause a host of other health problems, such as heart disease and arthritis.
Large marshmallows or an excessive number of marshmallows may cause a digestive blockage in your dog. Your vet may want to induce vomiting in your dog to encourage them to get rid of the marshmallows before they become lodged in the digestive tract.
Eating just one regular marshmallow may seem harmless, but it’s best to avoid giving your dog any human foods that may contribute to overeating in the future. Instead, give your pet dog-friendly treats like carrot slices or whole green beans.
Is it an Emergency if a Dog Eats One Marshmallow?
Not usually. One marshmallow that does not contain Xylitol is not an emergency, but it should not be allowed purposefully either.
If your dog eats even just one marshmallow that contains Xylitol, or many regular marshmallows, then you should treat this situation as an emergency. Go to the emergency vet right away.
It is Best to Keep Marshmallows Away from Dogs
This quick breakdown should help you get a better idea of what to expect if your dog eats a marshmallow. However, it’s important to keep in mind that only your vet can provide you with specific information about your individual pet’s health and wellness.
If you have any questions about your dog’s health, what they can eat, and what may be a risk factor for them in your household, talk to your Heart + Paw veterinarian for more information and guidance. With the help of your qualified and trusted vet, you can provide the best and safest possible environment for your dog.
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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