Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows Safely? Or Are These Sugary Treats Just Too Bad For His Health? Let’s Find Out!
Your dog makes it no secret that he wants to try everything that exists in the kitchen. Including sweets.
So it’s not surprising that you have ended up asking yourself “Can my dog eat marshmallows?”
Maybe you’re making S’mores with an indoor S’more maker.
Or making some Rice Krispies treats.
Or putting some small marshmallows into hot cocoa.
Your dog is probably right below where you’re working, hoping you drop something.
Then you end up dropping a marshmallow and he gobbles it up. Or you decide you can’t resist those cute, giant eyes and slip her the tiniest of marshmallow pieces.
But is it really ok to make your dog a marshmallow dog? Do dogs like marshmallows? Should dogs eat marshmallows?
Let’s find out whether this sweet treat is safe for your furry best friend.
Are marshmallows bad for dogs?
You may be wondering not only, “Are marshmallows good for dogs?” But also if marshmallow for dogs is actively dangerous for them.
If you’ve just dropped one on the floor and your dog has snatched it up, you’ll be relieved to hear that there’s nothing outright toxic in regular sugar marshmallows for your dog.
Marshmallows are primarily made out of water, sugar and gelatin.
Water is of course no cause for concern.
And gelatin is a spongy food made from collagen of various animal body parts, and your dog would be eating animal parts out in the wild.
Sugar, while not great for anyone, will not kill your dog in individual marshmallow sized small doses.
But this does not mean that they are good for them.
Sugar is very bad for dogs’ teeth.
It is highly recommended that owners brush their dogs’ teeth regularly to prevent plaque building up. This becomes even more important if you are going to feed them sugary products.
Can dogs eat marshmallows?
For the first thing to keep in mind when giving your dog any treat, you should follow what is commonly called the “10 percent rule.”
That dog treats or other food items should not go over 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
The other 90 percent of your dog’s food intake should be coming through a balanced diet plan, such as their regular kibble food.
One such example of treats they mention are 10 miniature marshmallows. That equals 22 calories, just in marshmallow for dogs.
A daily calorie intake calculation for a 22-pound adult neutered dog, comes out to aa very rough average of about 400 calories daily. So those 22 calories from the marshmallows would come out to about 5 percent of the dog’s daily 400 calories.
That puts into context how many empty calories you’re giving to your marshmallow dog. Just a handful of mini marshmallows is already taking up half the treat calories a dog should be allowed in a day if they’re 22 pounds! More treat calories for a smaller dog.
But it isn’t even this straight forward, as marshmallows are made up of such a high amount of sugar.
You don’t want your dog gaining weight just because of marshmallow treats. And why would you give him something with no nutritional benefit when there are so many other healthy options.
Can dogs eat marshmallows, technically yes, but it’s clearly not a good idea when they are so high in sugar.
But does this mean they are toxic to dogs?
Are marshmallows toxic to dogs?
You may have heard that some human sweets are toxic to dogs.
But marshmallows aren’t one of them, as long as they aren’t sugar free.
The issue of toxicity comes into play when we’re talking about sugar-free snacks. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is a major concern for dogs.
For example as little as two sticks of gum containing Xylitol will kill a small dog. The first sign of toxicity is hypoglycemia, which can kill a dog in less than an hour. Even dogs that survive can have liver damage.
Xylitol can play a role in triggering insulin release in dogs.
So you should call your vet immediately if your dog is acting funny in any way after consuming something that might have contained Xylitol.
Signs of Xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, difficulty walking/standing, lethargy, tremors, seizures and coma.
If you would like to give your dog marshmallows as a sweet treat, stay away from sugar-free varieties to be safe.
Check all labels for Xylitol.
And be very careful to keep the sweetener or marshmallows out of dog’s reach if you’re trying one of the countless Xylitol sugar-free marshmallow recipes out there.
Are marshmallows safe for dogs?
Can dogs eat marshmallow safely in small quantities? In general, yes.
As long as they do not contain Xylitol and you are not feeding your dog too many for her body weight, you should be fine. But there really isn’t any good reason to do so.
In addition to this, lots of marshmallow makers also like to sell chocolate-covered marshmallows (especially egg-shaped ones around Easter). And even chocolate flavored marshmallows are on sale.
If the marshmallow contains chocolate in any way, do not feed it to your dog. It’s not just an old urban legend. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor’s cousin’s roommate’s dog got into a little bit of chocolate and was fine.
Chocolate contains toxic substances called methylxanthines, which can stop a dog’s metabolic process. Dark chocolate is by far the worst, but even a small amount of chocolate can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Always take your dog to the vet if you suspect that he has eaten chocolate.
However if he has accidentally got hold of a single, normal marshmallow there is no reason to panic.
Can puppies eat marshmallows?
Feeding marshmallows to your puppy is a whole other issue. For starters, many vets recommend avoiding treating pups while you are preparing food.
When you feed your puppy little scraps of human food, including marshmallows, you may be setting up a dog that will have a lifetime of extensive begging habits. Or may even steal food off your plate.
There’s also the issue of caloric intake. A puppy is going to have much fewer daily calorie needs, and as mentioned above, only 10 mini marshmallows is packing a whopping 22 calories (which is a lot for a small dog).
Puppies need a very carefully designed formula to grow into healthy adult dogs. There complete dog food gives them everything their bodies need.
So don’t give those dogs marshmallows. It’s a good idea to forgo the sugary treats for your puppy until he gets bigger, if you want to start at all.
Dog ate marshmallow – what shall I do?
You don’t have to run screaming to the vet if your dog ate some marshmallows. Dogs eat marshmallows. You can rest easy with your marshmallow dog.
However, your concern may be, “My dog ate a whole bag of marshmallows!”
This could well upset his stomach.
Treat it as a lesson to keep your bags of marshmallows out of reach.
And if he becomes unwell give your vet a ring for a quick chat to make sure it’s nothing to worry about.
Can dogs have marshmallows
So in summary, is it ok for dogs to eat marshmallows?
Yes, you can use marshmallow for dogs on very rare occasions.
Your dog can have regular, plain sugar marshmallows if you’re determined to give your dog a tasty, sweet treat.
However, these sweets are very sugary and not an ideal addition to their diet.
They are also very bad for their teeth.
Also, make sure that the marshmallows do not contain Xylitol or chocolate, both of which are toxic to dogs.
If your dog ate a whole bag of regular, sugar marshmallows, simply keep a close eye on her for any signs of stomach upset.
And when in doubt, don’t be afraid to call the vet.
Although technically the answer to can dogs eat marshmallow is yes, we strongly recommend using a more suitable canine appropriate alternative like a meat based product or specially designed dog treats instead
Do dogs eat marshmallows in your home? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
- UCDavis Veterinary Medicine, “Treat Guidelines for Dogs”
- Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, “Basic Calorie Calculator”
- Chetek Veterinary Clinic, “Could Cookies, Candy, or Gum Kill My Dog?”
- Kuzuya, T., “Stimulation of Insulin Secretion by Xylitol in Dogs,” Endocrinology, 1969,
- VCA Animal Hospital, “Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs,”
- Lawndale Veterinary Hospital, “Paws to Protect: Puppies Feeding,”
- Diet and the Teeth : an Experimental Study. Part I. Dental Structure in Dogs.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
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