Adding a little Easter or Spring to your homemade pet treats can start with holiday theme cookie cutters, but you can also decorate pet treats with naturally-nutritious pastel colors. Besides making your own pets hop, they make great Easter gifts for the pet-lovers on your list, including pet-sitters, dog walkers, groomers, etc. They’re also fantastic fundraisers.
Below are some ideas for making your homemade pet treats more colorful using natural dyes and decorations. Remember that not all will be safe for all species of pets – always research before feeding and consult with your veterinarian.
Decorations for Homemade Pet Treats
Tip: Glaze treats with egg yolk to make powdered decorations adhere to the surface.
Fruit – Juicy berries like strawberries can be finely chopped and mixed into pet treat yogurt or cream cheese icing for a pink & red effect. Powdered freeze-dried fruit makes very pretty sprinkles on pet treats. Freeze-dried fruit can create some cool effects if you rehydrate them and used the ‘juice’ as a substitute for the liquid in your recipe, along with the actual fruit. The freeze-drying process preserves even more nutrients than freezing.
Ground Krill – Sparkling orange and packed with nutrition, including omegas & minerals.
Carob Powder – Get the cocoa dusted look with carob powder.
Seaweed/Algae – More bio-available vitamins and minerals than any plant in the world and it creates a unique Easter grass look. Seaweed doesn’t have the binding issues of terrestrial plants and it’s low in carbohydrates, making it suitable for virtually all pets.
Calcium Montmorillonite Clay – Get a confectioner’s sugar look by sifting Calcium Montmorillonite Clay on homemade pet treats. It offers natural bonuses as a very healthy mineral supplement, digestive aid, detoxifier, and it has anti-parasite properties.
Baby Carrots – Place a whole baby carrot on a cream cheese frosted muffin or cookie pet treat to bring visions of the Easter Bunny to mind.
Natural Food Coloring for Pets
You can purchase natural food dyes derived from plant sources quite easily these days and they usually won’t add flavor to the end product. Processing limits or eliminates the nutritional value of natural food coloring, however, so you may want to try using whole foods for pet treat dyes.
Green: A little Chlorella or Spirulina Algae mixed with yogurt or cream cheese icing makes a beautiful pastel greenish blue. Frozen or boiled spinach juice produces a a nice green shade. Powdered Green Tea will produce a lighter green with antioxidants.
Pink – Red: Elder Berries, Cherries, Raspberry, Beet or Cranberry juice. Concentrated fruit juice is often recommended for homemade food coloring, but with pets we have to check the labels. Many flavored juices include grape juice or other ‘base’ juices, added sugar, etc.
Orange: Paprika mixed with yogurt or cream cheese icing will give you a pretty pastel orange without a clashing flavor. Pure, unsweetened orange juice is an easy way to add natural orange color and nutrition to pet treat recipes.
Yellow: Turmeric is a very healthy, standard source of yellow. You can also crush a little Saffron and steep in boiling water for a rich gold.
Blue – Purple: We use mashed blueberries and/or blueberry juice for natural blue food coloring and a wonderful dose of antioxidants. You can also use red cabbage or black berries.
How to Make Your Own Natural Food Dye
Making natural dyes is super-easy. Although boiling does reduce the nutrient content, some will remain and it will still beat manufactured products.
1 part natural dye ingredient (blueberries, cabbage, etc.)
3 parts water
- Simmer over low-medium heat until you are happy with the dye color (at least 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- If you don’t mind bits of the dye ingredient, pour through a strainer. If you prefer a clear natural dye, pour through cheesecloth.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover natural dye.
Please share your pet treat decorating tips in the comments below.
We’d like to wish a very happy and safe Easter & Passover to those who celebrate!
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