These pretty rainbow marbled unicorn bone dog treats were made for Oli’s 11th barkday pawty. They are deceptively simple to make and doggone delicious, too! I promise that no actual unicorns were harmed in the course of our festivities. Hehehe… Don’t let the colours deceive you, either. These are almost all natural thanks to some tasty healthy naturally coloured ingredients. Here’s how the bone treats were made.
Pretty? Tasty? Pretty Tasty!
Contrary to what many people believe, dogs are not colour blind. They just see colours (and more) quite differently than people. Check out our post on dog vision vs. human vision for details and side-by-side photo examples. They don’t really care about colourful or pretty treats, though. They care about delicious scents and flavours. But we humans can have a little fun, too!
Making Marbled Unicorn Bone Dog Treats
Choosing a Base Dough
Marbled dog treats using tints, like these unicorn bones, can be made using any (yep, any!) roll-and-cut pale neutral coloured dog treat dough. For these, I used the same dough as my Valentine puzzle heart treats. The lighter the dough, the easier it will be to tint true colours. Alternatively, if you dough has a natural colouring, you can adjust your tints to mix compatible colours, just like you would with paints.
Choosing Tinting Colours and Ingredients
Any dog-friendly tints can be used to make coloured dough for marbling. Don’t forget about the important elements of flavours and smells when choosing and mixing colours. Treats are for eating after all, and the dogs definitely don’t care about looks, just yum! You can read more about tinting treats in our post on using natural food colourings for dog treats.
Marbling is easy, but you need to take care not to over mix, which will muddy the colours together. If this is your first attempt at marbling and looks are important to you (the dogs won’t care!), you might find it easy to start by experimenting with a simple two colour combination and/or use tints that will blend together nicely if you overdo mixing.
How to Make Marbled Unicorn Bone Dog Treats
- Pale neutral roll-and-cut dog treat dough ingredients for your chosen recipe
- Tinting ingredients
I used five colours to create the unicorn bones pictured in this post:
- yellow (turmeric powder)
- pink (beetroot powder)
- green (wheat grass powder)
- blue (food colouring)
My efforts at creating a natural blue are still a work in progress, so I used a drop of blue colouring to perk up my blue dough. If you’d prefer to keep the treats all natural, skip the blue. Want other colours or different ingredient ideas? See our post on natural dog treat colourings.
Making the Treats:
Preparing the dough:
- Preheat the oven and mix the dough according to your chosen recipe.
- Divide your dough into smaller portions for tinting.
- Tint individually to your preference.
Marbling the dough:
- Separate the dough into small pieces.
- Gather the pieces together and squeeze into a loose ball. Since repeat reforming and rolling will muddy the marbling, you can keep some of your starting pieces aside to add back in on a later re-roll to extend the marble-life.
When marbling dough, the easiest option is ripping, scattering by hand, and then combining. I did for the treats shown, and do for most marbled treats. I prefer the larger patches of different colours. Alternatively, you can form and twist canes or separately roll each colour of dough flat, then layer, twist, and re-roll for a finer marble blend. See the throwback to our first experiment later in this post for an example. Whatever method you choose, ensure a good distribution for variety and don’t make the pieces too tiny, else your marbling will quickly become muddy when rolled.
Cutting and baking the treats:
- Roll and cut into shapes. I used a basic bone cookie cutter for the treats and a small circle plunger for the little confetti bites.
- Chill if needed for your recipe, and then bake according to recipe. Cool before serving and storage.
Since repeat reforming and rolling will muddy the marbling, cut your larger shapes first and the smaller-pieces from the gaps and any re-rolled dough. Confetti bites work perfectly for this! If you want to maximise the impact of your marbled colours, try not to brown your treats during baking. This may require lowering your temperature and/or adjusting the baking time. Cooling in the oven can help make things crisper, if you’d like, or you can pop baked treats into a dehydrator to dry them into a crispy cracker-like treat.
Our Original Experiment with Marbling Treats
The idea for these unicorn bone dog treats popped into my head after Humphrey’s second birthday party. I’d mixed several colours to make edible birthday candles and instead of making heaps of extra candles, I decided to try marbling the dough. I often marble polymer clay, and figured I could probably do something similar with dough. The result was a gorgeous batch of marbled hearts and confetti bites, pictured below. Since clay was my starting point, I used a cane roll-and-twist method, and the marbling is much finer at the first pass, but muddied quickly. That led me to try the rip and scatter method for the bones above and that’s been my preferred dough marbling method ever since.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can use the category and tag labels to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.