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!
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