Everyone who has a dog has probably fed their pet something that is technically “human-only” food from time to time. In many cases, this is not a risky thing to do, but there are some foods that dogs should not be consuming that are safe for people to eat. Most people are aware of the fact that chocolate is toxic to dogs and that a dog that has consumed chocolate will need to see the veterinarian immediately for emergency treatment.
Many dog owners are less aware that dogs cannot consume marshmallows safely either. These treats are not toxic to your dog the way that chocolate is, but they are not good for them to consume for a variety of reasons. It is always a good rule of thumb to make sure that your dog is not eating any food that is not intended for dogs to consume. While it can seem harmless to feed your dog human food, most of the time, the foods that people can eat are at least mildly toxic to dogs.
If you are ready to learn more about whether dogs can eat marshmallows, you need to keep reading.
Are There Toxic Ingredients in Marshmallows?
In some cases, there actually can be toxic ingredients in marshmallows that can cause great harm to your pet. Sugar-free candies and marshmallows often contain a substance called Xylitol. This is an artificial sugar that is very toxic to dogs, and that can even cause death. Even small amounts of this substance can make your dog very ill and lead to lifelong health consequences.
Xylitol causes a severe and abrupt drop in blood pressure in dogs, and it is also toxic to the liver. If you have any sugar-free candy in your home, you need to keep it where your dog cannot access it by accident. Marshmallows are also full of other highly processed ingredients, which are typically not good for your dog to ingest. Combining these products with toxic sugars can be a recipe for disaster for most dogs.
Sugar, Vanilla, and Sweeteners
Substances like sugar, vanilla, and artificial sweeteners of all kinds are not good for your dog and are poorly tolerated by your dog’s digestive system. Even though some of these ingredients are not technically toxic, they can cause very bad reactions in dogs because they are not at all like the foods that your dog’s body was intended to process. Small dogs are more at risk for severe reactions to the ingestion of this kind of product in large numbers, but any size dog can become quite ill very rapidly after eating marshmallows.
Even regular marshmallows that do not contain inverted sugars can lead to a severe gastric upset in dogs. Many dogs that eat too many marshmallows will experience diarrhea, vomiting, and might even bloat. Bloat is another very serious condition and one that often necessitates surgery to correct. Small dogs are not as prone to this condition as large dogs, but when a substance that is highly irritating is introduced into the body, this can be the result even in small dogs.
What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Marshmallows?
The first thing that you need to do when you think your dog has consumed marshmallows, is to call your veterinarian. Most vets will elect to induce vomiting to remove the marshmallows from your dog’s body before they can cause significant harm or digestive issues. In some cases, your vet might choose to talk you through the process of inducing vomiting to make sure that your dog is able to make it to the vet without passing away.
Always be sure that you take your dog to the vet after you have induced vomiting to have them monitored for pancreatitis and other secondary conditions that can crop up after a dog consumes toxic substances or things that cause significant gastric distress. High sugar content in any treat is always bad for dogs, and you should be wary of all sugary human foods when giving them to your dog. It is a good rule of thumb to avoid sharing anything sweet with your dog to prevent the risk of this kind of problem.
If your dog has consumed many marshmallows, they can form a solid obstacle to digestion that can block off your dog’s intestines. This is the biggest risk with marshmallows that are quite large, like the jumbo ones that are used to make s’mores. If you think that your dog has eaten more than a few marshmallows, a trip to the vet is necessary immediately just to make sure that you get the help needed to prevent obstruction. Sometimes vets can provide the right care and support to eliminate the obstruction before it can form.
Marshmallows Are Not Safe for Dogs to Consume
If you have found out that your dog has ingested marshmallows, you need to call your vet right away. There are severe health risks associated with the consumption of sugars and sweeteners by dogs, and you will want to make sure that your dog gets help right away if they have eaten any kind of marshmallow. In the case of ingestion of sugar-free marshmallows, you will need to rush your dog to the vet since Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs of all sizes and breeds.
Always take care to be sure that your dog cannot access the human treats and candies that you have in your house, and make sure not to give your dog human food as a snack. Dogs are not made to eat most of the foods that people can consume, and you will need to protect your pet from life-threatening health risks by making sure they are not snacking on human food every day. Human food can cause unnecessary weight gain and the risk of severe reaction to the ingredients that are often present in human food, so you will want to make sure that your dog is always fed dog-appropriate food.
Call 412-373-8580 to talk with your Northern Pike Veterinary Hospital veterinarian about your dog’s diet.