Can Horses Eat Marshmallows?

a close-up of a pile of white marshmallows.

No, horses should not eat marshmallows. Despite their seemingly harmless appearance, marshmallows pose several risks to horses and are not recommended as a treat. As a horse owner, you are constantly searching for ways to provide your equine with delicious treats. While horses enjoy fruits such as apples, bananas, and grapes, you might be wondering if marshmallows are a safe snack to give to them. We will explore the answer to this question in this article and help you determine if feeding your horse marshmallows is a good idea.

Can Horses Eat Marshmallows?

a close-up of a pile of white marshmallows.Yes, horses can eat marshmallows, but only in small amounts. Marshmallows are made of gelatin, corn syrup, starch, and sugar. While the sugar in marshmallows is not harmful, excessive consumption can lead to health problems in horses. Therefore, marshmallows should not be used to replace normal meals and nutrition and should be fed sparingly, possibly once or twice a week as a reward.

Ingredients in Marshmallows

A jar of shaped marshmallows on a white wooden surfaceGelatin, corn syrup, starch, and sugar are the components used to make marshmallows. Gelatin is healthy for horses as it helps in growing new hair and strengthens their feet. Corn syrup is safe for horses to consume in moderation. Starch is a component of plant tissue, and it works remarkably well as an energy booster, aiding in their metabolism, exercise, and other daily activities. Small amounts of sugar can be given to a healthy horse as a reward.

Are Marshmallows Safe for Horses?

Marshmallows are made from a combination of gelatin, corn syrup, starch, sugar, and water. While sugar is the only ingredient that may cause concern for horse owners, the other components are generally safe for horses to consume. As long as marshmallows are given in moderation, they shouldn’t pose a risk to your horse’s health.

Exceptions: Horses with Insulin Resistance

A cup of pastel-colored marshmallows on a wooden surfaceHorses with insulin resistance, which is a condition that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, should avoid consuming marshmallows. These horses are at a higher risk of developing Laminitis and EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) due to their sensitivity to sugar. Marshmallows, like any other high-sugar treat, can contribute to the development or exacerbation of these conditions.

Moderation is Key

For horses without insulin resistance, marshmallows can be safely consumed as long as they are given in moderation. Marshmallows are soft and chewy, so they don’t pose a significant choking risk, and the ingredients are easily processed by a horse’s digestive system. However, it’s important to keep in mind that marshmallows are high in sugar, and overfeeding can lead to weight gain, dental issues, and other health problems.

As with any treat, moderation is key.

Risks of Feeding Horses Marshmallows

Close-up of white marshmallows on a white backgroundWhile marshmallows are not inherently harmful to horses, too much sugar is never a good thing. As candy, they should only be consumed in moderation. Horses require a high-fiber diet to support healthy digestion, so hay and grass often form the basis of their diet. Marshmallows don’t include any fiber, and therefore, excessive consumption could lead to colic and digestive problems.


A black mug filled with pink and white marshmallows on a table with a pink and white checkered tablecloth and string lights in the backgroundIn conclusion, marshmallows are generally safe for horses to consume in moderation. However, if your horse has insulin resistance, it’s best to avoid giving them marshmallows altogether. As with any treat, it’s important to be mindful of the amount given to avoid negative health consequences.

Horses can consume marshmallows, but only in small amounts. As a responsible horse owner, it is crucial to be mindful of what you are feeding your equine and to understand the impact that it will have on their health. Therefore, it is best to give your horse treats that are more natural, such as carrots or apples, and to reserve marshmallows for occasional rewards.


Gel-like support for digestive and respiratory systems. Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis) is a demulcent herb that has mucilaginous properties to provide a soothing coating for the horse's stomach and intestinal tract, as well as support the respiratory system.
Horses love sugar and fruit flavors, so those Halloween candies are sure to be a hit. But proceed with caution. “Hard candies like peppermints are okay in strict moderation if the horse is able to tolerate small amounts of sugar,” says Getty.
No, they are not. Gelatin is a principle ingredient in marshmallows. A lot of people believe that the gelatin in marshmallows is made from from horse hooves, but that isn't true. You can't make marshmallows out of horse hooves; however, you can make glue out of horse hooves.
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