Can Dogs Eat Peeps & Marshmallows? Not Toxic but Unsafe

Peeps and marshmallows aren't technically toxic to dogs, but too many could be dangerous for them.

Updated February 25, 2024
Labrador retriever looking at marshmallows falling

As we get around Easter, or near camping and campfire season, it's easy to question whether our pups can share one of everyone's favorite treats: can dogs eat Peeps or marshmallows? It's definitely one to avoid. In short, Peeps and marshmallows aren't good for dogs, but whether they're dangerous and toxic is a bit more complex. Certain ingredients that may or may not be in them could turn this from an "oops" into an emergency. If your dog accidentally raids Peeps from an Easter basket or eats the mashmallows you'd planned for s'mores, here are the dangerous ingredients to look for and when to seek urgent care.

Infographic: Can Dogs Eat Peeps & Marshmallows?

If Your Dog Eats Peeps

If you discover that your dog ate even a single Peep or marshmallow, the first thing you need to do is figure out what ingredients they contain.

Classic Peeps 

Classic Peeps don't currently contain any inherently toxic ingredients, but that doesn't mean they won't upset your dog's stomach — and new types of Peeps are made every year.

  • If your dog has a particularly sensitive stomach, even one Peep could cause vomiting or diarrhea. 
  • Check the bag for artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, and call the vet immediately if they have them present.
Peeps Marshmallow Chicks

Even if you don't see xylitol as an ingredient, find out how many Peeps your dog ate and call your veterinarian to find out what they recommend you do. Depending on your dog's history, health, and/or size, they might have you come in. 

Chocolate-Dipped Peeps

Chocolate-dipped or chocolate Peeps contain milk chocolate, which can be dangerous for your dog. Call your veterinarian right away or reach out to the Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to find out how to proceed. 

If Your Dog Eats Other Types of Marshmallows

No matter the type of marshmallow product, it's important to check for toxic ingredients.

Marshmallows With Xylitol or Chocolate

If your dog ingests any marshmallows containing xylitol or chocolate, seek immediate veterinary care or call an animal poison hotline for guidance.

Marshmallows Without Xylitol or Chocolate

If the marshmallows do not contain xylitol or any other toxic ingredients, they could still be harmful. A single regular marshmallow might not make your dog sick, but multiple could.

Try to figure out how many marshmallows your dog ingested (for example, 12 marshmallows, ¼ of the bag, 3 bags, etc.) then check in with your vet. They may recommend inducing vomiting to protect your pet or might advise that you monitor for concerning symptoms.

Symptoms to Look for

If you're worried that your dog got into marshmallows, be sure to watch for concerning signs. Keep in mind that vomiting and diarrhea can occur even with regular marshmallows that contain sugar instead of xylitol. If these symptoms persist or worsen, it's important to call your vet.

Symptoms of xylitol toxicity can appear within 30 minutes up to 12 hours following ingestion. Seek urgent care if your pup shows any of the following signs of poisoning.

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty standing on walking
  • Collapse
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Related: Symptoms of Dog Poisoning

Peeps & Marshmallows Are Not a Safe Treat for Dogs

Technically, classic Peeps and marshmallows are not toxic to dogs. These sweet treats are made up of sugar, gelatin, and corn syrup, which aren't inherently bad for a dog.

If a dog eats one or a few of this kind, it probably won't hurt them, but these sugary confections don't provide your dog with any nutritional value. Plus, they're packed with harmful sugar and empty calories. It's best to avoid offering this food to your dog and instead give them something healthier.

Dangers of Sugar

Even though it's technically not toxic, sugar is still harmful for dogs. Consuming large amounts of sugar increases a dog's risk of developing dental cavities, obesity, diabetes, and hormone-related diseases. Sugar also disrupts the natural good bacteria of the gut, resulting in unpleasant digestive upset like diarrhea and vomiting.

Dog looking at coffee cup with marshmallow in woman hands

What About Sugar-Free Peeps & Marshmallows? 

So, if sugar is bad, are sugar-free types a better option? The answer is a big NO. Many marshmallow varieties advertised as sugar-free or low-carb contain xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. These are the marshmallows to worry about. If your dog gets ahold of even one small marshmallow containing this ingredient, it can make them very sick or even be fatal.

Dangers of Xylitol

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute used in sugar-free products like marshmallows. Although it's fine for humans to consume, it's highly toxic to dogs. When xylitol enters their system, it signals an immediate release of insulin, which then leads to a sudden and dangerous drop in blood sugar.

This response typically occurs within 10 to 60 minutes after consumption. Without treatment, low blood sugar can lead to seizures and eventually death. There's also evidence that xylitol can cause liver damage or failure.

Fast Fact

Sugar-free Peeps contain malitol and sorbitol, which are two artificial sweeteners that are not toxic to dogs the way xylitol is. If your dog gets into these, just confirm this with the packaging. 

Related: Training Tricks to Stop Your Dog From Counter Surfing

Better Sweet Treat Options for Dogs

Does your dog have a sweet tooth? There are plenty of healthy, sweet treats you can share instead.

Dog eating fresh watermelon from woman's hand

Some people recommend using a marshmallow to hide pills when medicating their dog. Although a regular marshmallow might be fine every once in a while, this isn't a treat you should feed often or regularly. Try Greenies Pill Pockets or a small amount of cream cheese to hide medications instead.

Related: 5 Irresistible Homemade Easter Dog Treats Your Pup Will Drool Over

Avoid Marshmallows for Dogs

Because of the risks Peeps and marshmallows carry, it's best to avoid giving your dog these sugary treats. Instead, give them a dog-safe fruit or treat made specifically for dogs. But if your pup does get into Peeps or marshmallows, find out if they contain any toxic ingredients like xylitol and seek help accordingly.

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Can Dogs Eat Peeps & Marshmallows? Not Toxic but Unsafe