The ho ho howliday season is almost here! These naturally coloured Christmas gummy dog treats are easy, festive, healthy, and delicious. Talk about being on the nice list! Here’s the scoop on how to make small-batch Christmas gummies in your favourite flavours and colours.
Christmas Colours Through a Dog's Eyes
Before we dive into the simple Christmas dog treat recipe and instructions, Santa’s elves wanted me to remind you that although they see everything, dogs might not. Dogs don’t see colour the same way as humans do. These white, red, and green gummies look downright festive from a human perspective, but red and green are actually kind of similar for dogs. Not to worry, though! No matter the colour or shape of a treat, the smell and taste are always the most important and appealing factor for dogs.
Colouring homemade dog treats with tasty, healthy, natural tints is a fun way to create special treats that look great without adding extra artificial colours. As an added bonus, many dog-friendly natural food colourings have scents and flavours that can add to the delicious variety of the treats. Some also have nutrition or potential health benefits, too. Guilt free festive fun? Count us in!
And on the subject of eyes, check out Humphrey intently watching as I was taking photos for this post. As a pawfessional blog dog, he knows that taste testing is the next step. Haha! His festive bandana is one of our simple DIY dog bandanas with serged edges.
How to Make Small-Batch Christmas Gummy Dog Treats
Fresh and Festive
As most of our readers will already know, I love gummy dog treats and so does Humphrey (and his friends). They’re a treat that we almost always have in our fridge, and I usually like to make smallish batches to use fresh rather than freezing. Freezing gummies is fine for longer storage, but it can change their consistency. Check out our pet chef intro on making and storing gummy dog treats for more info.
Small Batches with Big Variety
By splitting a simple base recipe for tinting, I can make a small batch with big variety. It’s quick, simple, and works for all sorts of different bases and colourings. Check out our full pet chef help post on making multi-coloured or multi-flavoured gummy dog treats for a more detailed look at options and ideas for small batches. It’s perfect for variety, but also handy for testing new ingredients, tints, or flavours.
Any dog-friendly colouring can be used to tint homemade treats. Remember to keep your combos delicious, though! Choice and quantities will depend on your add-in, desired colour and/or flavour level, and (of course) your individual pets. Check out our post on natural food colourings for ideas. Small quantities of water-soluble ingredients work best for adding flavour and colour to a base without altering the consistency or set of the gummies. Large quantities of added ingredients are best suited to a specific recipe instead of being added to a generic base. You can explore all of our gummy treat recipes and ideas in the blog archives.
For the treats pictured here, I’m using beetroot powder (red), spirulina powder (green), and yogurt (white). My base is chicken stock, so the little dab of added yogurt tints the gummies a creamy off-white rather than a true white. But my taste tester says stock is always a fav!
Colourful Christmas Gummy Dog Treat Recipe
Naturally Coloured White, Red, and Green Christmas Gummy Dog Treats
These gummies were made in moulds (affiliate link) as individual shaped treats. Gummies can be made as set-and-slice treats in a pan, but I love shapes! Moulds are also an easy option when working with small split batches, like these separately coloured gummies. The recipe below is a tinted adaptation of our simple stock and gelatin homemade gummy dog treats. You can adapt the tinting tips to use with any favourite clear or lightly coloured transparent base mixture. Note that if you use a white base instead, like a yogurt gummy dog treat, you’ll end up with pastel colours instead of the more Christmasy reds and greens when tinting. Also pretty, but not quite the look we want here.
- 1 cup cool clear stock or similar dog-friendly liquid (see tips below)
- 3 tbsp quality powdered gelatin
- Add-in colouring ingredients. Spirulina powder (green), beetroot powder (red), and yogurt (white) are used in the pictured treats.
If using yogurt, just a tiny dab will do. My firm go-to gummies can handle a little extra in the mixture, but if you add too-much then the extra liquid will reduce the setting power. My ever helpful sous-chef happily pre-cleaned all the extra yogurt from the little prep bowl I used for staging the ingredient photos. Life is good in the dog treat kitchen!
Making the Treats:
Preparing the Gelatin Base:
- Measure the water into a small pan.
- Sprinkle the surface with gelatin powder.
- Wait and let sit for approximately five minutes or longer for the gelatin powder to fully bloom / gel.
- Gently stir the mixture over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Take care not to shortcut with high temperatures or overheat. Heat can reduce the setting strength of gelatin.
- Remove from heat.
- Optional: Before mixing, check that your liquid temperature is below 50C (120F) to protect your yogurt’s probiotic content (allow to cool a little if needed).
Colouring and Setting:
- Measure your add-ins to individual small suitable containers for mixing.
- Mix a small spoonful of the prepared liquefied gelatin with the powder/yogurt in each of the divided containers to mix with minimal lumps and clumps. Then add in the rest of their portion of the remaining prepared gelatin base and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Optional: Before transferring into moulds, you can let the mixtures sit a little for the colours to develop. This isn’t required, but can be helpful for some powders to get a richer colour. You might also find it helpful if you have any suspended solids in the mixture. Some powders don’t fully dissolve so a cooler and slightly thicker thicker liquid will help to hold them dispersed in the gummy.
- Spoon or pour the finished gelatin mixture into separate moulds. As noted above, small silicon food moulds (affiliate link) are great for making gummy treats, especially if you’re separating different flavours and colours.
- Chill to set.
Gummy Dog Treat Making Tips and Tricks
- I prepped these treats using glasses to help show you the process and colours. Normally, I prefer to use something with a pouring spout, and then pour instead of spooning into the moulds. My current go-to method is to use stainless steel coffee milk jugs (affiliate link). The jugs are easy to handle, stain-resistant, and can be popped in the dishwasher for easy clean-up. Very convenient.
- As noted in the options above, if you’re using add-ins that don’t completely dissolve, it can help to hold the mixtures at room temperature until they start to thicken slightly. This helps the base hold the add-ins suspended instead of having bits settle or float as the gummy fully sets. It’s handy if you’re using an unstrained stock (hello tasty chicken bits) or other chunky add-ins too.
- See our comprehensive post on making and storing homemade gelatin gummy dog treats for additional information about making gummy treats including helpful gummy making tips, troubleshooting, and safe treat storage. Gummy treats should be kept refrigerated and can be frozen for longer storage, although freezing can affect consistency.
Recipe and Ingredient Tips and Tricks
- Light stocks work better than dark stocks for tinting, as the stock can have a significant affect the colour. You can read more in our FAQ post on stock for making homemade dog treats.
- Not your dog’s favourite flavours? Looking for different holiday colours? It’s easy to swap the tinting ingredients to create different colour and favlour combos. See our post on natural food colourings for dog treats for alternative tinting ideas.
- In my experience, 3 tbsp of gelatin powder per cup of liquid makes firm gummies. If you prefer, you can use more gelatin for added supplementation or less for a jigglier jelly treat with lower gelatin content. Individual gelatin powders may be a little stronger or weaker. Find a ratio that works for your preferences and, of course, your dog.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can also 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.