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Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows

Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows

Smores, crispy cereal treats, and marshmallows are a year-round staple, from summer camping trips to Halloween treats in the fall, from ski trips in the winter to a colorful snack in spring. There’s nothing better than bringing your four-legged friends with you to the outdoors or sneaking samples when cooking. And that’s where smart food prep comes in handy, as your dog will likely steal a few snacks when opportunity strikes.

Marshmallows are not safe for dogs because they have no nutritional value and may contain xylitol, which can lead to hypoglycemia in dogs. While xylitol is considered harmless to people, it is considered toxic to dogs. When combined with chocolate — which is also unsafe for dogs — s’mores are risky for four-legged friends. But that does not mean you have to give up your summer snacking fun.

Interesting fact: According to the ASPCA, xylitol is toxic to dogs but may be safe for cats.

A dog without diabetes or hypoglycemia sneaking a lick or grabbing a fallen marshmallow likely won’t hurt it. Still, you can do things to make it safer, especially if your senior pup or diabetic dog is a known snack thief.

Alternatives to Marshmallows for Dogs

The first and easiest solution is to read the ingredients on the marshmallows and check for xylitol, also known as wood sugar, birch sugar, and birch bark extract. If you’re struggling with the big brands, look for vegan options or ones made with stevia, which is safer for dogs.  

The next, more advanced alternative is to make your own marshmallows. It’s easier than you think and you’ll find recipes that take less than 30 minutes. It’s a perfect couples’ date night activity, fun to do with your kids or to film a social media video with your furry friend to help them rise to fame. When you control the ingredients, you can control the health levels for fido!

Your pupper will always want to participate in the fun, especially when it involves food. Once you’re ready to enjoy your snacks, have some dog-friendly ones prepared for them. You could put peanut butter on apples, which are safe for dogs to consume in summer. Unsalted popcorn while watching movies can be a fun bonding experience for movie-loving dogs in the winter. Fall is the perfect time for some yogurt with blueberries or pumpkin, and substitute carrots and strawberries for spring.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Marshmallows

There’s no stopping a determined dog from getting their treat, and chances are a single marshmallow won’t hurt a dog that is healthy. Xylitol in higher amounts attacks the liver and causes hypoglycemia in lower amounts. So, the first thing to do is to look at the signs of liver and diabetic issues.

According to the NIH, liver and diabetic issues may include:

  • Altered mentation and behavior
  • Seizures
  • Syncope
  • Muscle twitching/fasciculations
  • Somnolence
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Muscle tremors
  • Collapse
  • Ataxia (a lack of muscle coordination)
  • Weakness
  • Impaired vision

Other sites like PetMD mention a lack of appetite and vomiting as well.

If you are concerned and see any of these symptoms, the most important thing you can do is call your vet immediately. They will know your dog’s health history and risk potential and be able to tell you what to do.

If you’re going to enjoy marshmallows, keep them out of reach from your dog, as marshmallows are considered toxic to dogs. If your dog always manages to sneak a snack, use dog-friendly marshmallows you make on your own, or choose brands without xylitol.

About the Author: The writing team at Service Dog Certifications is made up of folks who really know their stuff when it comes to disability laws and assistance animals. Many of our writers and editors have service dogs themselves and share insights from their own experiences. All of us have a passion for disability rights and animals.

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