Making your homemade pet treats more festive can start with holiday theme shapes, but you can also ‘spruce’ up treats. They make great gifts for the pet-lovers on your list, including pet-sitters, dog walkers, groomers, etc. They’re also fantastic fundraisers.

Below are some ideas to make your homemade pet treats more festive and colorful in healthy, natural ways. Remember that not all will be safe for all species of pets – always research before feeding.

Tip: Glaze treats with egg yolk to make powdered decorations adhere to the surface.

Vegetables – Bell peppers come in red, gold and green, and there’s lots more pet-safe (varies by species) vegetables to choose from for a nutritious Christmas theme. Chopped tomato, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, and cauliflower are just a few. Mix them in or decorate the top.

Fruit – Juicy berries like strawberries can be finely chopped and mixed into pet treat yogurt 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.

Ground Krill – Sparkling orange. Mix with powdered seaweed/algae for more color and even more health benefits.

Carob Powder – Get the cocoa dusted look with Carob powder.

Ground Seaweed/Algae – More bio-available vitamins and minerals than any plant in the world and lots of classic Christmas color. Seaweed doesn’t have the binding issues of terrestrial plants and it’s low in carbohydrates. Cats love the smell. Mix it into homemade pet treats or press into the top to decorate.

Cinnamon – Safe and beneficial for most pets and a holiday favorite.

Bentonite Clay – Get a confectioner’s sugar look by sifting Bentonite Clay on homemade pet treats. It offers a holiday bonus of being a very healthy mineral supplement, digestive aid, and has anti-parasite properties.

Natural Food Coloring for Pets

You can purchase natural food coloring derived from plant sources quite easily these days. Processing limits the nutritional value of natural food coloring, however, so you may want to try using whole foods such as:

Green: A little Chlorella or Spirulina Algae will give you a deep green color.

Red: Paprika, Elder Berries, Raspberry 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.

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: We use mashed blueberries and/or blueberry juice for natural blue food coloring and a wonderful dose of antioxidants.

??? Do you have any suggestions for more festive pet treat recipes? We would also love to see your homemade holiday decorated pet treats!

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Natural Dog Treat Recipe – Seasonal Seaweedies
Holistic Canine Cranberry Christmas Cookie Recipe
25+ Animal Charities with Gift Shopping


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6 thoughts on “How to Add Natural Holiday Color To Homemade Pet Treats

  1. We have a tradition of baking on December 30, and that also includes baking pet treats for our little Tiny. She just loves fruit and citrus-based sweets. There’s something so rewarding about creating homemade treats for the four-legged members of our family. We’ve never used food coloring, which leads to a rather unappealing appearance. Thank you for your all natural color suggestions.

  2. Fun! The dogs don’t care but my kids are grown and it makes the holidays fun again to spoil my furbabies with treats.

  3. I usually just use cookie cutters and don’t decorate but this is inspiring me. Decorating seemed like a waste of time since the dogs don’t care but it never occured to me that it would make them more nutritious too. I do a little dog walking and pet sitting (I’m a senior) and decorated treats would make a nice gift. Must get around to doing it.

  4. I love a powdered look for the holidays so I’ll put those tips to good use. My dogs will even eat plain cocoa dusted on top of yogurt “frosting”. So many ways to make treats healthy and I use the same methods to make treats for my kids.

  5. I used crushed berries for blue, purple and red. Delicious and nutritious and my dogs lap them right up!

  6. Great ideas! Some I haven’t heard of and I’ve been making pet treats for 11 years! Well done, thanks.

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