Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows?

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You’re sitting round the campfire after a full day of hiking and swimming with your pooch. Suddenly, you have the urge to toast up some marshmallows so you can end a perfect day on a sweet note.  Like most pet parents, you tend to share your snacks with your good buddy, but now you’re beginning to wonder if tossing him a couple of nice, toasty marshmallows is such a good idea. He’s clearly intrigued by that gooey treat you just pulled off your stick, and you’re starting to think just one won’t hurt, right? So, what do you do?

The answer to whether its okay to feed your pooch a marshmallow, ranges from “its really best not to” to “absolutely do not do it”, and here’s why. Treats should never comprise more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Add a marshmallow in there, and you’ve just eradicated his entire treat ration for the day. Now, you may think that’s not such a big deal, but when you consider the fact that sugars are one of the quickest ways to rot a dog’s teeth, they will almost certainly increase his girth, and over time, cause health issues that could include diabetes, the decision really is a no-brainer.

In fact, marshmallows are so unhealthy for your little guy, that if he decided to help himself when you weren’t looking, you might find that he pays the price with severe gastrointestinal issues ranging from vomiting to diarrhea. Now, if a small amount of any food has the potential to bring about this type of physical discomfort for your pooch, its not really a treat, is it? And its certainly not one that I’d be offering up to my pups. If you really want to share a bonding moment with your dog that involves food, lets you indulge your sweet-tooth, but keeps him healthy, why not pull out a rawhide or chew treat for him. It will take his focus away from you, will take time him time to break it down, and he’ll be distracted long enough for you to binge to your heart’s content.

But while the tummy-troubles caused by a regular marshmallow made with sugar and gelatin can be concerning to any pet parent, the damage caused by a sugar-free variation of this puffy white treat can end your pooch’s life. Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol used to sweeten everything from toothpaste to chewing gum, candy, and yes, those sugar-free marshmallows. If your pooch consumes even one of these marshmallows, induce vomiting immediately and call your vet. As little as 0.1 grams of Xylitol per kg of your dog’s weight can cause a massive release of insulin from the pancreas and result in dangerously low blood sugars. Seizures, weakness, and even death can be the end result.

So, forget about sharing sugary treats like marshmallows with your best buddy and definitely don’t offer him any type of sugar-free foods. Keep him safe by opting for dog treats you know he enjoys, or go for healthy human treats such as cut up fruits or chopped veggies that you can both share (no dip, please).


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