If you own a horse or have been around one long enough, you know that they love to eat treats of almost any kind.
We know horses love the typical treats like apples, sugar cubes and bananas but are marshmallows a viable option?
Can Horses Eat Marshmallows?
Horses can eat marshmallows in small quantities.
Marshmallows, the sweet treat we all know and most of us love, are safe to feed horses in moderation.
As with any treat, marshmallows should be given as a treat only and should never take the place of a horse’s regular meal.
Special precautions should be taken when feeding marshmallows to your horse.
The more you know about marshmallows and their relationship to horses, the better prepared you will be as a responsible horse owner.
Are Marshmallows Safe for Horses to Eat?
Marshmallows are safe for horses to eat. Marshmallows were first created using the marshmallow root, hence their name.
Today marshmallows only contain water, sugar, air, a whipping protein, and coloring, if needed.
None of the ingredients in modern day marshmallows are toxic or unsafe for horses. (source)
I would avoid the extra-large campfire marshmallows and stick with medium to small ones to make them easier for horses to eat.
How Healthy are Marshmallows for Horses?
Marshmallows are not what you would call healthy, but they are not overwhelmingly unhealthy either.
They contain sugar, some sodium, a smidge of protein and water. Healthy horses can easily process all these ingredients if the marshmallows are fed in limited quantities. (source)
Overall, they are not considered a healthy treat for horses.
Which Horses Should Avoid Marshmallow Treats?
Unfortunately, some horses should not eat marshmallows or marshmallow-based treats.
Since marshmallows contain a significant amount of sugar, horses that suffer from insulin-resistant diseases should not eat them.
A sugary treat like a marshmallow could spell disaster for an insulin-resistant horse.
Avoid feeding these horses sweet treats that contain marshmallows.
Can Horses Eat Plain Marshmallows?
Horses can eat plain marshmallows. Plain marshmallows have basic ingredients that are all safe for horses to consume in moderation.
There is nothing toxic about plain marshmallows and a healthy horse can eat them with no problem!
Can Horses Eat Colorful Marshmallows?
Colored marshmallows contain a small amount of coloring to give them their unique appearance. As far as equestrians know, the coloring does not contain anything that is considered toxic for horses.
As with any new treat, it is important to monitor your horse when they first eat them.
A healthy horse should be able to safely eat a colorful marshmallow.
Can Horses Eat Cooked Marshmallow Treats?
Horses can eat cooked marshmallow treats including roasted marshmallows.
Always make sure that any cooked marshmallow treat like Rice Krispie treats or roasted marshmallows are completely cooled before feeding them to your horse.
Not only can they burn the inside of a horse’s mouth, but hot marshmallows are extremely sticky and not enjoyable for the horse trying to eat them.
How Many Marshmallows Can Horses Have Daily?
There is not an exact number of marshmallows that a horse can safely consume daily, but the trick is to not go overboard.
A handful of small marshmallows or a couple medium-sized marshmallows are more than enough for your horse to eat as a daily treat.
Horse treats of any kind should never make up the bulk of your horse’s diet or take the place of their regular meals.
Overfeeding treats can lead to gastric issues and malnutrition in horses.
Marshmallow Treat Ideas for Horses
Making homemade treats for your horses is not only a fulfilling experience, but also the best way to monitor your horse’s diet.
Make sure all the ingredients that you use are horse-friendly and avoid adding sugar to the mix.
Rice Krispie Treats for Horses
Mix butter, marshmallows, and horse-quality grain along with Rice Krispies cereal.
Press into a rectangle or square pan and bake in the oven.
You basically just make human Rice Krispie treats with a little horse feed mixed in.
Marshmallow Bran Mash
A simple way to incorporate marshmallows into your horse’s food is to mix it into their daily bran mash.
Add a handful of marshmallows as an added treat for your horse!
Horse Cookie Treats
You can add marshmallows, in small amounts, to almost any homemade horse treat that you make for your horses.
They make great additions to horse-friendly cookies, oatmeal treats, and other oven-baked horse treats.
You may need to adjust your ingredients to account for the melting and stickiness of the marshmallows, but your horse will thank you for it!
Are Marshmallow Roots Safe for Horses?
Marshmallow roots, no longer included in the production of modern sweet marshmallows, are good for horses.
The root helps in the treatment of equine digestive issues including ulcers, constipation and diarrhea.
It is often crushed into a powder to be added to a horse’s regular diet. (source)
Is the Marsh Mallow Plant Toxic for Horses?
Not to be confused with the sweet treat or the root discussed previously, the marsh mallow plant (malva parviflora), is considered extremely toxic for horses.
A plant found in Europe, Asia, North Africa and the United States, the marsh mallow is dangerous when consumed by horses in large quantities.
Overeating marsh mallow plants can cause heart damage in horses and is almost always fatal. (source)
Are Marshmallows Made from Horse Hooves?
No, but the answer is both good and bad. First off, gelatin is often used in the production of marshmallows.
Gelatin is produced by removing the collagen from various animal bones, including those of horses. (source)
That is the bad news. The good news is that despite all this, horse hooves cannot be used to produce gelatin.
Hooves contain a significant amount of keratin and keratin cannot be used in the production of gelatin. (source)
Horses can safely eat sweet marshmallows in moderation.
Just to be clear, sweet marshmallows and marshmallow roots are healthy for horses while the marsh mallow plant is toxic for them.
There is nothing toxic about sweet marshmallows when it comes to horses, if the horse can process sugars naturally.