Many pet owners enjoy making their fur babies treats at home and would like to color the food.

Unfortunately, many of the food colorings used in human food are not safe for dogs as some studies have shown they are linked to cancer, changes in brain chemistry, and cell damage in mammals. This information has driven many pet owners to look elsewhere.

Keep in mind that food coloring does not add any nutritional value and is not necessary, but we get it, you want your dog treats to look pretty but know that as long as they taste delicious your dog doesn’t care what they look like.

Here are 6 food choices you can safely use to create color in your dog’s food

Red

Strawberries

The juice of strawberries can add a pink hue to most treats

Beets

First up is beets, you can use beets in so many ways to color your dog’s food. While you don’t want to feed beets to your dog in excess they are great to use in a treat every now and then.

  • Beet pulp: you can use the actual beet finely chopped to add some color
  • Beett water: if you boil or cook your beets you can use the water as a food coloring
  • Beet juice: if you juice the beet or even if you simply cut into the beet you can get a small amount of color to add to your treats
  • Beetroot powder: because this is more concentrated you will get a deeper hue of red

Uses: To make treats red or pink, if you mix it with something white like plain Greek yogurt you can also make pink

One great tip for revving up your red color is from Dalmation DIY. She adds yellows and oranges like those from turmeric powder to get a deeper and stronger red.

Brown

Carob Powder

Dog-safe carob is a great way to impart a rich dark brown to your treats

Orange

Carrots

Carrots can be used to give your dog’s treats an orange hue, while carrot water has little color you can juice the carrot to get more of an orange color.

Pumpkin

Making treats with plain dog-friendly canned pumpkin will give them an orange hue

Green

Spirulina Powder

You should use spirulina powder sparingly when making your dog’s treats which is great because you don’t need much to add a vibrant green color to your dog’s treats

Peas

Peas can be used to make green treats and are safe for dogs when given every once and a while. Keep in mind that you should cook or boil the peas first

Chlorella

Similar to Spirulina Chlorella can add a nice green tint to your dog’s treats

Spinach

Boil spinach and use the juice as part of your color will give you a nice shade of green

Wheatgrass powder

Can be used but do so sparingly

Blue

Blueberries

Both of these berries are very dog-friendly and can be mashed or mixed into your treats to give them a blue hue

Blackberries

Blackberries can also impart a bluish hue to your dog’s treats, it is usually a deeper more purple color.

Yellow

Turmeric

If you are looking for a yellow to orange color you can use turmeric, keep in mind that it does stain

Purple

Purple Cabbage

Boil a purple cabbage and use the water as dye

Things to keep in mind when making your dog’s food coloring naturally

Don’t be afraid to combine colors, especially with white from yogurt. This makes for a great icing

The hues from naturally prepared food coloring are often not as vibrant as manufactured food coloring so you may have to add a bit more than you usually would when using lab-made food colorings as these are usually more concentrated and therefore vivid.

Some natural food colorings may lose some of their vibrancy with cooking but most do well when used in low-heat, frozen, or no-bake treats

If you are baking your treats you can add some apple cider vinegar as the acidity can help reduce the loss of color when treats are exposed to heat.

In addition, if you are dehydrating your treats you can blanch them to help them hold more color

Happy Baking!

The Chew Chef