Yummy that marshmallows are, it is really hard to refuse one irrespective of whether you are an adult or a child. Have you ever wondered how your pet would react on being offered a marshmallow? Does your canine find it equally tempting?
Because pets are like family members, owners often experiment with their furry friends by offering them human delicacies just to find out how they might react. Marshmallows come under this category wherein you might wonder how your dog would view it or even whether or not it is advisable to offer some to your canine in the first place.
What Are Marshmallows?
A marshmallow is a chewy sugar based candy which contains corn based extracts, gelatine, tetra-sodium pyrophosphate and artificial colours. It is made by whipping sugar, water and gelatine into a squishy consistency, which is then moulded into small cylindrical pieces and coated with corn starch. It tastes great and has been named as such owing to the extract of the mallow plant that exists in nature.
In ancient times the plant healed ailments for both humans and dogs. Doctors used to prescribe the herb’s gummy marsh mallow sap extract to treat ailments like inflammation, sore throats and open wounds. But it was the root which gave the candy its name. However, just as everything evolves over a period of time, modern marshmallow has also come a long way from what it used to be years ago.
Can Your Dog Eat Marshmallows?
Yes, you can give marshmallows to your pooch, but limit it to occasions. It is a once-in-a-while treat that your pup deserves. One of the reasons as to why you should not give marshmallow to your furry friend as frequently is because after all it is nothing more than a lump of sugar. Like humans, too much of marshmallows aka sugar will hinder the well being of your dog.
Pet owners often use marshmallow as a disguise to make their stubborn pup swallow a particularly pungent medication. While it is acceptable during emergencies, do not make this a regular habit. Refined sugar content of marshmallows makes it difficult for your dog to process more than one, so you must refrain from using it quite often as bait for your pup. Although marshmallows are not toxic for your dog, eating more than one can harm your dog’s digestive system.
Pet owners tend to over-ride the advice of a vet when they are told to administer certain foods in moderation to their pets. Marshmallow is one such item and while they take into consideration the non toxic affect of marshmallow, most pet owners tend to overlook the moderation part. They end up feeding too many at a time in order to satiate the taste buds of their pet only to regret later.
After all, marshmallows are unnatural and processed and hence can be replaced with other healthier treats.
You may also like our article on the Best Dog Treats.
What Can Happen If Your Dog Ate Marshmallows?
Most dog owners have a story to tell of their dogs having binged on a bag full of prohibited food items or non edible stuffs. So when your dog swallows some marshmallows, do not panic. First, call the pet poison control helpline. Go through the list of ingredients present in the marshmallow that your dog might have ingested so that you can be aware of the toxic effects.
For instance, if your dog has ingested marshmallows that were sweetened with sugar, you can expect side effects like constipation, diarrhoea or a stomach bloat. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, consult your vet without further delay.
A dog’s system is not capable of taking too much of sugar. Therefore, overeating of marshmallows will definitely affect the digestive system and usually leads to vomiting, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. Pancreatitis could be another possible outcome. You need to consult your vet immediately if your dog is not responding to any medications or home remedies which you might have tried.
High sugar content of marshmallows affects the dental health of your canine too, not to mention the fact that your dog would tend to gain weight rapidly if marshmallows are included in its regular diet. Always bear in mind that marshmallows have no nutritional benefits apart from satiating your pet’s taste buds.
Marshmallows with Artificial Sweeteners
These days there are marshmallows available in the market that are made from artificial sweeteners or alcohol derived sweeteners. Xylitol is one such sweetener that is toxic for your dog. Be careful before giving marshmallows that contain Xylitol because the consequences can certainly be deadly. Gastrointestinal issues that arise due to overeating of marshmallows can be treated but sugar free marshmallows, especially ones containing Xylitol, should be avoided.
For dogs, Xylitol is believed to be more poisonous than chocolates. As it is artificial sweeteners hinder the well being of humans, so you can well imagine the harm xylitol sweetened marshmallow could cause to your pooch.
Are Marshmallows Safe For Your Dog?
A dog’s treat should not exceed 10% of its daily calorie intake. Marshmallows served in very small quantity are safe for your dog. If your dog manages to eat a bag of marshmallows, immediately consult your vet before anything untoward happens.
Does Your Dog Love Marshmallows?
It depends on your pooch. There are some dogs that do not like to eat anything outside their regular diet. However, most pet owners complain about their dogs eating anything and everything under the sun. For such canines, marshmallows are palatable.
To some dogs marshmallows might be attractive because they provide an after-taste which is similar to some of their dog toys. It might taste soft, chewy, foamy or squishy. Therefore, gobbling down a bag full of marshmallows for such dogs is equivalent of a lavish treat.
Rewarding your pooch with marshmallows is not a healthy option. Once in a while a small treat is understandable, but what you need to remember is that your dog is your responsibility. To this effect, you might as well try and use other healthier treats than marshmallows to ensure a healthy life for your pup. Do not be taken over by your dog’s begging or whining sounds for a treat that has no beneficial value for your canine friend.
Everything said and done, do not allow your dog to eat marshmallows that are artificially sweetened or colored.
- Alexandra Anastasio, Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows?, The American Kennel Club