It might come as a surprise to many, but horses are one of those pets that are crazy about having variety in their treats. These equine animals love to be rewarded with something new every time. Most of the horse-owners already use fruits like apples, bananas, and grapes for their pets. What’s something new that you can feed them as a treat? What about marshmallows?
Can horses eat marshmallows? Yes, horses can eat marshmallows. Marshmallows are made of gelatin, corn syrup, starch, and sugar: all these ingredients are good for them except the sugar. But if you can follow moderation with these treats, they can’t cause any harm to your pet’s health. However, if your horse has any sugar-related disease, don’t feed them marshmallows.
Below, we will talk about everything you must know before feeding marshmallows to your equine pets.
What are marshmallows made of? Are they safe for horses to eat?
As a responsible pet parent, you must have a little knowledge about anything that you are about to feed your pet horse. Although many of us have had marshmallows since we were little, do we know what it is made up of? It’s okay if you don’t because we are here to help you out with it.
The process of making marshmallows has evolved with time. Back in the 19th century, all you needed to make marshmallows was mallow root sap, sugar, and egg whites; these three ingredients were mixed together to make a fluffy mold that we call marshmallows.
However, today, the recipe has changed a bit. The mallow root sap has been replaced with gelatin, and starch and corn syrup have been added to speed the process along.
Now let’s take a look at all these ingredients individually to see if they’re okay for horses to eat:
Gelatin is a flavorless, colorless, gummy substance derived from the collagen of animal body parts that is used as a gelling agent in a variety of food and beverages.
Gelatin is completely healthy for horses as it strengthens their hooves and promotes their hair growth. In fact, it is commonly used as a feed supplement for horses.
As the name suggests, corn syrup is a food syrup that is made up of the glucose extracted from corn. Horses can eat it safely in moderation.
A healthy horse can have small amounts of sugar as a treat.
Starch is a tasteless and odorless white substance found in plant tissue. It works surprisingly well as an energy booster for horses, helping them with metabolism, exercises, and other life functions.
So far, we have learned that if horses eat marshmallows in moderation, they will be fine. Marshmallows are, thus, safe for horses to eat. However, can all horses eat it? Let’s find out:
When should you not feed marshmallows to your horse?
While most horses can safely eat marshmallows as a treat, if your horse is suffering from a sugar-related illness, feeding them marshmallows is a bad idea.
Therefore, if a horse is suffering from insulin-resistance, laminitis, or equine metabolic syndrome, you should not feed them marshmallow or any other sugary treat.
Are marshmallows healthy or unhealthy treats for horses?
This is the most common question all pet-owners have when they are about to feed their pets a new treat. Coming to our current subject, marshmallows are neither healthy nor unhealthy for horses.
They have little-to-no nutritional value and contain small amounts of sugar and sodium. When fed in excess, they can be fatal to your pet’s health. However, if served in a limited quantity, they can make delicious treats for them.
How many marshmallows can you feed your horse?
The first and foremost thing you should know is that feeding marshmallows to your horses on a daily basis, no matter how small the quantity, is a bad idea.
You must remember that if you want your horses to safely have these treats, going overboard with them is a bad idea. We would recommend you to feed them 3-4 medium-sized marshmallows twice a week.
Plain or colorful marshmallows: which one is better for horses?
If you had to feed your horse marshmallows, which one would you choose: plain or colorful? We’re sure most people would go with the plain ones, considering it safer. But here’s one thing you need to know: both plain and colorful marshmallows are equally safe for your equine pets.
Both of them are made of the same ingredients. The additional coloring added to the colorful marshmallows has been proven to be completely safe for animals, including horses.
So, the next time you’re about to pick a bag of plain marshmallows at the store for the sake of your pet, remember that it’s all the same to them. So, you might as well go ahead and pick whatever you like best.
Is it safe to feed horses cooked marshmallow treats?
Do you like your marshmallows raw or roasted? Most likely roasted, right? The roasted marshmallows have a unique flavor of their own. But what about your pet horses?
Do they get to enjoy these roasted treats or not? Yes, they do. There’s no reason why they can’t eat roasted marshmallows safely.
All you need to be careful about is waiting for the roasted marshmallows to cool down properly before feeding them to your horses.
If they eat a hot marshmallow, it can burn the inside of their mouth, leaving them in pain and discomfort for days. Moreover, hot marshmallows are also extremely sticky, and horses don’t really enjoy eating them.
Is the marshmallow plant toxic to horses?
Endemic to Europe, Asia, and northern parts of Africa, the marshmallow plant (Malva parviflora) is a perennial herb that is known by several other names such as “smallflower mallow”, “little mallow”, “Egyptian mallow”, and “cheeseweed mallow”.
Although these plants share their name with marshmallows, they have no other similarities. Moreover, they’re highly toxic to horses and can cause cardiovascular issues if consumed in a large quantity.
Myths associated with marshmallow and horses
There are several common misconceptions about marshmallows that make horse-owners hesitate before feeding their pets these treats. Let’s talk about a couple of them and see if they’re true:
Marshmallow roots are unsafe for horses
The sap extracted from marshmallow roots were once used in the production of marshmallows.
Many people consider it unsafe for horses, but in truth, these roots are quite healthy for them as they can cure many equine digestive issues, such as constipation and diarrhea.
Moreover, these roots are no longer used to make marshmallows.
Marshmallows are made of horse hooves
This widespread rumor has led many to believe that feeding marshmallows to horses is cannibalism. While it is not entirely true, it is not that far from the truth.
Marshmallows are made of gelatin, the collagen that is extracted from the bones of various animals, including horses. However, the hooves of horses do not contain gelatin, only keratin. Therefore, their hooves have nothing to do with marshmallows.
Frequently asked questions
Can horses eat rhubarb? No. You should never feed them rhubarb, as the leaves of these plants contain a toxin that irritates their digestive system and can cause severe damage to their kidney.
Can I feed my horse coconut? Yes, you can feed them the flesh of coconut occasionally. However, feeding them its husk is a bad idea.
Conclusion: Can Horses Eat Marshmallows?
So, we can sum it up by stating that marshmallows can be fed to horses in moderation without any issues. But you should try not to overfeed them these treats for too much sugar is not good for them.
Just so that there is no room for any further confusion, we’re repeating what we’ve learned above: the sweet marshmallows that we commonly eat as a treat is different from the marshmallow plant. And while horses can eat the former occasionally, the latter is extremely toxic to them and can damage their heart.