Kirby isn't really going to care if his treats are brightly decorated but sometimes I just want to be a little more creative. I would consider commercial food coloring to be unsafe for dogs since the synthetic or unnatural ingredients used in food coloring is considered unsafe for both children and adults. These artificial food dyes have been linked directly to multiple forms of cancer in adults in addition to behavior problems and hyperactivity disorder in children.
You can purchase safe, all natural food dyes like India Tree Natural Decorating Colors but it’s quite expensive. Even better is you can make your own safe colors. Each ingredient will impart its own flavor which can become too strong if you are trying to create a vivid color. Another important factor is the amount of juice needed to achieve a deeper color which will end up making the "frosting" too runny. I prefer the powder forms which are so simple to make and can be stored for up to a year.
Safe Food Color Options
- YELLOW - turmeric powder
- I like the turmeric powder since I cook with it anyway
- ORANGE - carrots or pumpkin
- Juice or pulverize.
- RED/PINK - beets or raspberries
- Use the juice from canned beets or pulverize a raw beet. Adds little flavor.
- Crush or pulverize the raspberries.
- PURPLE - red cabbage
- Boil the red cabbage.
- GREEN - spinach, spiralina.
- Boil the leaves. Adds no flavor.
- BLUE - blueberries or blackberries
- Crush or pulverize the berries.
The Basic Recipe
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add the sliced fruit or vegetable.
2. Let simmer for several hours.
The Powder Recipe
Use a dehydrator to make a powder from any vegetable or fruit. Lay out your thinly sliced vegetable or fruit on the trays leaving room for the air to circulate all around. Dehydrate for 2 to 6 hours on high or 150 degrees until completely dried. Grind into a fine powder and store in an air tight container for up to a year. It will only take a pinch or two to color your icing. (I use plain greek yogurt)