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Marshmallows are one of those treats that can be hard to resist — and it’s nearly impossible to eat just one. But, can dogs eat marshmallows? The answer is no. Though not all marshmallows are toxic to dogs, they certainly aren’t good for your dog.

Made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and vanilla extract, and coated with either cornstarch or confectioners’ sugar, marshmallows contain very little if any, nutritional value or health benefits.

Artificial Sweeteners in Marshmallows

Dr. Carly Fox, a staff doctor at New York City’s Animal Medical Center, says if the marshmallow has xylitol (an artificial sugar) as an ingredient, it’s toxic to your dog and can be extremely harmful, even if ingested in small quantities. “Xylitol can cause dangerously low blood sugar, leading to seizures and even death if the dog is not treated properly,” says Dr. Fox. “It has also been shown to be toxic to the liver, even days after ingestion.”

Marshmallows contain an incredibly high amount of sugar and calories. As a result, they’re especially dangerous for any dog with diabetes or weight problems. Even if your dog is healthy, feeding them sugary treats can contribute to obesity, which can lead to diabetes due to insulin resistance.

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Other Risks of Feeding Marshmallows to Dogs

As for marshmallows that don’t contain xylitol, both Dr. Fox and Dr. Lucas White, a veterinarian with Sunset Veterinarian Clinic in Edmond, Okla., agree that eating too many can lead to gastrointestinal upset and symptoms including:

If those symptoms persist for more than one to days, your dog could also be at risk for pancreatitis. If they’ve ingested marshmallows containing xylitol, your dog could exhibit the above symptoms, as well as ataxia (uncoordinated gait) or seizures.

What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate Marshmallows?

Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog consumes multiple marshmallows. Your vet will most likely choose to induce vomiting if the dog ate the marshmallows within the last couple of hours. This will prevent prolonged gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, and GI obstruction.

Feeding your dog treats that are high in sugar is never a good idea. While these treats might not be harmful in the moment, that can change over time. Ideally, marshmallows should be avoided. Instead, opt for high-quality dog treats or healthier snacks like carrots, green veggies, or blueberries that will provide better nutritional value for your dog.

Related article: How Many Treats Can Your Dog Really Have?
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