Dog trying to eat a marshmallow off a person's roasting stick

Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows?

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Many people have fond memories of marshmallows. You may remember sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows on a stick, or making smores. Is there a better way to spend a summer evening? Marshmallows are a fun, nostalgic, sugary treat that is hard to resist!

If you like to take your dog camping, you might be wondering “Can dogs eat marshmallows?” How can you resist those big brown eyes staring at you across the campfire?

Before you sneak your buddy a fluffy, sticky treat, though, make sure you understand the ramifications. Be responsible when giving your dog human treats—while some human food is fine or even healthy for dogs, many snacks contain no nutritional value or are even toxic.

Are Marshmallows Bad for Dogs?

The short answer here is yes: marshmallows are bad for dogs. Marshmallows are bad for humans, too. They are made of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, cornstarch, and more sugar. There is no nutritional value in a marshmallow—just calories and sugar.

While one marshmallow on its own will not kill your dog (usually—see below), the high sugar content will wreak havoc on their teeth and will cause weight gain if consumed regularly. There’s no reason to give your dog marshmallows. Instead, bring along some dog treats that your dog can enjoy while you make smores.

Marshmallows and Xylitol

There is one instance when a single marshmallow could be very dangerous for your dog, and that is if the marshmallow contains xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in chewing gum, diet soda, and other low-calorie foods. It is much sweeter than sugar and contains almost no calories.

Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Even when consumed in small quantities, it can cause a blood pressure drop that can be fatal. A dog that ingests xylitol is at risk of seizure, ataxia, coma, or even death if not treated quickly.

If your dog ingests xylitol and survives, it can cause irreparable damage to their liver. Xylitol is toxic to the liver days after ingestion. Liver damage can be fatal or can lead to conditions that need to be closely managed for the remainder of the dog’s life.

Check the ingredients on everything you serve your dog. Never give your dog anything containing xylitol. If you suspect your dog may have ingested xylitol, call your vet immediately.

Final Thoughts

So, the answer to “can dogs eat marshmallows?” is definitely no. Marshmallows are a fun treat for humans, but when it comes to your dog, it’s best to steer clear of them. If the marshmallows contain xylitol then even a little bit could be fatal for your pal. Marshmallows without xylitol are full of sugar, artificial flavors, corn syrup, starch, and other problematic ingredients. It’s not a good idea to get into the habit of giving your dog sugary treats as it can lead to obesity, dental problems, and a whole range of health issues down the road.

Instead of marshmallows, try giving your dog fruit, dog treats, cheese, or another veterinarian-approved snack. Your dog’s tummy and teeth will thank you!

Check out the articles below to learn about other common foods that are safe (and not safe) for dogs to eat:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.