Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows? Are Marshmallows Safe For Dogs?

Marshmallows are one of the tasty treats that can be hard to resist by your pets. But, can dogs eat marshmallows? The answer is no.

Though marshmallows are safe for dogs provided that they don’t contain xylitol and chocolate, they’re certainly not good for your pets. 

A Jack Russell Terrier lying on a bed full of marshmallows
A Jack Russell lying on a bed full of marshmallows

Made from sugar, gelatin, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and coated with cornstarch or confectioners sugar, marshmallows carry little or no nutritional benefits for your canines.

However, many dogs consume a marshmallow by accident, leaving their owners wondering, what’s the big deal?

Keep reading to learn more about why marshmallows are bad for dogs and the risks of adding marshmallow treats to your pet’s diet.

Why are Marshmallows Bad for Dogs?

A dog looking at a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows
A doggo who wants a taste of hot choco with marshmallows

Marshmallows should not be added to your dog’s diet because they carry some health risks.

They can lead to an upset stomach, or worse, obesity or diabetes if consumed in large quantities.

Marshmallows have high levels of sugar that are not good for dogs.

One hundred grams of marshmallows contains about 58 grams of sugar, and this alone makes it dangerous for diabetic dogs. 

As the ingredients in most marshmallows contain just sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, gelatin, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar, they just provide empty calories to your pet without providing any nutritional benefit. 

What chemicals in marshmallows are toxic for dogs?

Some marshmallows contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Eating the artificial sweetener known as xylitol can be fatal for dogs.

This is because it can cause a sudden, dangerous drop in your dog’s blood sugar levels. Xylitol can also cause extensive liver damage in dogs.

Marshmallows coated in chocolate are also very dangerous for dogs.

Most chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, two chemicals that are toxic for pets. These identical chemicals belong to a group known as methylxanthines

Methylxanthines work to inhibit the activation of adenosine receptors which are responsible for making us feel sleepy and less active.

The reason why these chemicals are so dangerous for dogs is that canines process them very slowly.

During this time your dog’s heart rate speeds up and the nervous system is stimulated beyond normal levels.

What are the Facts about Marshmallows and Dogs?

A puppy eating marshmallows
A little pup eating marshmallows

Unfortunately, most dogs like the taste of marshmallows because they’re sweet, soft, and chewy.

They may consume these tasty treats without even knowing how dangerous they are for them.

Here are some facts about marshmallows.

  • 100 grams of marshmallows contain a whopping 318 calories
  • 100 grams of marshmallows contain 0.2 g of fat
  • 4 regular marshmallows contain 23.6 g of carbs which are converted to sugar by the body
  • 4 regular marshmallows contain 0.5 g of protein
  • Marshmallows are cholesterol-free and low in sodium

Can puppies eat marshmallows?

No, no dogs, including puppies, should be given marshmallows to eat.

Puppies will likely have less tolerance for marshmallows than adult dogs, and eating just one marshmallow can cause a severely upset stomach in puppies. 

Puppies are also at a greater choking risk than adult dogs as marshmallows can easily get lodged in their esophagus and cause an obstruction.

What are the Risks of Marshmallows Consumption for Dogs?

A Chihuahua suffering from obesity
Bruno, a Chihuahua, gained some weight – Image source

So you have heard that marshmallows should not form part of your dog’s diet because they carry some health risks, but what exactly are these risks?

  • Weight gain: As marshmallows are high in fats, they can cause your dog to put on too much weight. This could even lead to obesity and a range of more severe health concerns.
  • Choking: Whole marshmallows or marshmallow eggs could cause your dog to choke or lead to an intestinal blockage.
  • Poisoning: As mentioned, feeding your dog marshmallows made with the artificial sweetener xylitol or other ingredients like chocolate could poison your dog and cause severe illness. 

How Many Marshmallows Can Be Dangerous to Dogs?

While a single marshmallow may not affect your dog, a whole bag might cause him to feel nauseous or experience diarrhea or vomiting.

If your dog consumes too many marshmallows, he will likely be prone to gaining excess weight, leading to heart and immune system complications. 

What constitutes a lot of marshmallows for your dog will depend on his size, weight, and breed.

What are the Symptoms to Watch Out For if Your Dog Ate Too Many Marshmallows?

A Samoyed suffering from gastrointestinal upset
Kimi, a Samoyed, suffering from gastrointestinal upset – Image source

There is no guarantee of how your dog will react to eating marshmallows.

He may not react at all, or he may experience signs of gastrointestinal upset within hours of consuming this sweet treat.

Dogs can also develop an allergy to marshmallows and they can experience itchiness, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and indigestion. 

Dogs that eat marshmallows with xylitol may experience confusion, lethargy, and even seizures, which can signify hypoglycemia.

If left untreated, hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

How Soon After Eating Marshmallows Can a Dog Get Sick?

While you shouldn’t give your dog marshmallows as treats or add them to their diet, some dog owners report that their pets are perfectly fine after eating a marshmallow, and this is mainly due to the number of marshmallows consumed. 

If your dog eats marshmallows with toxic ingredients, it’s best to contact your vet right away, as foods like raisins can cause fatalities within a matter of hours.

Hypoglycemia caused by xylitol can also take effect very quickly, within 10 to 60 minutes of consuming xylitol, so there is no time to waste in getting your dog to the vet.

If your dog gets hold of copious amounts of marshmallows or is showing any of the above symptoms, contact your vet right away.

Your vet will be able to advise on the best course of action for your particular pet and situation. 

What to Do if Your Dog Ate Marshmallows?

A Dachshund being carried by a veterinarian
A Dachshund at the vet

If your dog does accidentally get hold of some marshmallows, you can follow these steps.

  1. Don’t Panic: Try not to panic and contact your vet immediately to ask for advice on what’s the best course of action for the current condition of your pet.
  2. Keep the Packaging: Your vet will want to know what type of marshmallows and how much they consumed. Make sure to hold on to any remnants of the packaging to show to your vet.
  3. Follow Your Vet’s Treatment Advice: Your vet will provide treatment based on the number of marshmallows he consumed and the severity of your pet’s symptoms. This may include trying to induce vomiting or giving fluids.

What are the treatments for Marshmallow poisoning in dogs?

If your dog consumed marshmallows with xylitol, do not try to treat marshmallows poisoning yourself.

Instead, be sure to get in touch with your vet who can advise the best course of action for your pet.

Your dog needs to be treated as soon as possible to ensure the best possible recovery. Methods of treatment are listed below.

  • One method of treatment includes giving your dog activated charcoal which will help to prevent further absorption of the xylitol
  • Another method involves the insertion of a stomach tube to remove the toxin directly from the stomach
  • Some vets may also give intravenous fluids to help with hydration and kidney support
  • Your vet may want to run blood tests or urine analysis to assess the damage to the kidneys

What is the pet poison helpline for marshmallow poisoning?

If you suspect your dog has eaten marshmallows with xylitol, be sure to contact your vet with immediate effect.

You can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 1-888-426-4435, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

There is a $65 consultation fee for calling the center, however, this may be covered if you have an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan.

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Get Over Marshmallow Poisoning?

A sick Corgi puppy
Winnie, a Corgi pup, is not feeling well – Image source

The quickest way for your dog to recover from marshmallow poisoning will be to induce vomiting to prevent the toxins from entering the system.

However, there is a very limited window in which to do this.

Your vet may also give your pet activated charcoal to absorb any additional toxins and book him in for 48 hours for fluid therapy and kidney monitoring.

If the symptoms are more severe, it can take significantly longer for your dog to recover from poisoning due to xylitol. 

Can Dogs Survive If They Eat Marshmallows that Contain Xylitol?

Yes, dogs can survive if they eat xylitol, provided they are given treatment immediately.

Don’t wait to see if your dog develops any symptoms before contacting your vet or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, as it may then already be too late. 

The sooner your dog can get treatment, the more likelihood of a positive outcome.

Fatalities usually occur when pet owners fail to get adequate and timeous veterinary treatment.

How to Prevent Marshmallow Toxicity in Dogs?

A Golden Retriever Labrador Retriever Mix in a kitchen
Bailey, a Goldador, watches what she eats from now on – Image source

The best way to make sure your dog prevents marshmallow toxicity is to make sure your pet doesn’t consume marshmallows and ensure that the marshmallows are stored in a safe place your dog can’t reach or get into.

One good choice is to keep them inside the refrigerator.

Inform your family members, including your staff and children that your pet should never be fed marshmallows.

Are There Any Benefits of Marshmallows for Dogs?

There are no benefits of marshmallows for dogs, and the risk of marshmallow poisoning means that these sweet treats should never be fed to your pet.

If you want to feed your pet a tasty sweet treat, you’d be much better off offering him some strawberries, peaches, or peanut butter.

A dog with hot chocolate and marshmallows
A dog who can only want some marshmallows

Do marshmallows have any nutritional value for dogs?

No, as mentioned there is no nutritional value in the ingredients used to make marshmallows.

In fact, marshmallows are mainly sugar, and that alone could make your dog sick.

Too much sugar in your pet’s diet could lead to the development of various diseases including obesity and diabetes.

Can dogs eat sugar-free marshmallows?

No, most marshmallows that are labeled as sugar-free include artificial sweeteners like xylitol.

As mentioned, you should never feed your dog xylitol as it can be highly toxic for pets. 

Can dogs eat natural marshmallows?

While technically marshmallows that are free from toxic ingredients like raisins, chocolate, and xylitol are fine for your dog to eat, they are still high in fat and sugar and shouldn’t be fed to your pet

Some pet treat companies made mallow imitation treats that can be used when training your dog.

These treats are generally made specifically for dogs from various cereals, and fruits. 

What Other Foods are Harmful to Your Dog?

A Border Collie with treats
Logan, a Border Collie, is now cautious with treats – Image source

There are certain foods that are safe for humans but can be harmful to dogs. Here are some foods that you should avoid adding to your dog’s diet.

It’s important to keep these foods out of their reach.

  • Chocolate is toxic to dogs due to its stimulant chemicals, theobromine, and caffeine, and can lead to chocolate poisoning. Common symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, panting, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, a racing heartbeat, high blood pressure, seizures, lethargy, restlessness, and an increased body temperature.
  • Garlic and onions and all members of the allium family. Alliums contain thiosulfates or n-propyl disulfide, which can be toxic to dogs, causing damage to the red blood cells and leading to anemia or a range of other severe conditions.
  • Macadamia nuts are incredibly toxic to dogs. Dogs that eat even a small amount of macadamia nuts can experience an adverse reaction. Common poisoning symptoms include weakness in the back legs, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours of eating. An increase in urination or a decrease in urine production could signal that your dog’s kidneys are not functioning optimally.
  • Too much salt in a dog’s diet can make your pet seriously thirsty which could let to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of eating too much salt include diarrhea, vomiting, depression, high temperature, and tremors. In more severe cases, it could lead to kidney failure or seizures in dogs.

What are Safe Alternatives to Marshmallows for Dogs?

A Samoyed looking at a banana
Yari, a Samoyed, thinks a banana is a good alternative to marshmallows – Image source

Instead of feeding your dog marshmallows, there are other fruits and vegetables you can try that are tasty and healthy for your pet.

  • Bananas are an excellent treat for dogs packed full of fiber, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Magnesium. This versatile fruit can be blended into a smoothie with other dog-safe fruits like strawberries and blueberries, frozen, or mashed up as a tasty topper for your dog’s daily kibble.
  • Plain, unsalted roasted cashews. Cashews are excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and Vitamins B6 and K. They also have a high-fat content and are packed with calories, so be sure not to let your pet overindulge in these delicious nuts.
  • Peanuts are loaded with protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins. They are safe to feed your dog raw or roasted, provided that they are unsalted and are removed from their shell.
  • Sweet chestnuts also make a good treat for your pets. Chestnuts offer your pup about 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which can help your dog to build a strong digestive system and reduce diarrhea or constipation. They are also a good source of omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
  • Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C and B6, potassium, calcium, and iron.

So, Can My Dog Eat Marshmallows?

As you have read, your dog should not eat marshmallows. Marshmallows pose a significant health risk for your dog.

If your dog has accidentally eaten this sweet treat, it’s best to consult with your vet as he will be able to advise the best course of action depending on how many marshmallows your dog has consumed and what type of marshmallows he ate.

Has your pet ever eaten marshmallows? Please share your experiences in the comments below so that we pet owners can learn from each other.

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