It’s already October, and many of us are preparing for a spooky Halloween season. Thoughts of childhood costumes, haunted decorations, and free candy keep us busy as we get ready for a night of magical trick-or-treating. Of course, this holiday is not only about us. Our dogs deserve to take part in the action as well, and we know the best way to help your dog get into the Halloween spirit!
The spooky Halloween costumes have been picked and the basket of candy for the trick-or-treaters awaits by the door. Now is the time to put our imaginations to the test and come up with unique Halloween-themed treats for our canine friends! Although Halloween doesn’t always scream “healthy,” your dog can still be a part of this holiday with our selection of 100% natural, sugar-free treats. Dogs will love them, and we know you will, too!
What to Avoid: Artificial Colors
The first and foremost detail that we notice when it comes to Halloween treats is the bright colors - the deep purples, neon oranges, bewitching blacks, and bloody reds - which draw us in and excite us with their playful, seasonal designs. The food industry has noticed our love of brightly colored foods and has been capitalizing on it for decades. Unfortunately, this trend has led to the increased use of artificial food colors (AFCs) in our food, and not without repercussions.
Numerous AFCs are present in dog treats and the most dangerous of them all are:
- #1: Yellow 5 - Known as tartrazine or E102, it can cause neurochemical behavior issues, such as insomnia, aggression, and hyperactivity. Furthermore, scientists have linked the Yellow 5 with other medical issues, like allergies, asthma, tumors, lymphomas, and chromosomal damage. No surprise why foods containing Yellow 5 are sold with a warning label in Europe.
- #2: Red 40 - One of the most notorious AFCs, Red 40 comprises several chemical compounds that cause behavior issues (e.g., hyperactivity and ADHD) and several types of cancer.
- #3: Blue 2 - A well-documented culprit behind cancer and tumor development, especially in the brain, some studies have also linked Blue 2 with hypersensitivity and allergic reactions.
- #4: Yellow 6 - Skin issues, asthma, allergies, tumors, and hyperactivity have all been linked with the Yellow 6 AFC.
Since the 1950s, the Food and Drugs Administration (i.e., FDA) has been withdrawing its pattern of approval from AFCs, bringing the total number of FDA-approved AFCs down to only seven. Over time, we’ve realized that AFCs bring no health benefits whatsoever and that the complete removal of AFCs from our foods is in the interest of public health. Rather than falling into the food industry’s trap and uselessly poisoning ourselves, we can bring color to our culinary delights the natural way, using simple and accessible ingredients. This is not only healthiest for our families, but for our beloved pets, as well!
Simple Ingredients for All-Natural Colors
You can easily obtain those same mysterious Halloween colors by including these dog-friendly ingredients:
- Red or Pink - Cream cheese mixed with Beets, Strawberries, or Raspberries
- Yellow - Egg yolk or fresh Turmeric
- Orange - Mashed Carrots, Turmeric, Pumpkin, Squash, or Sweet potatoes
- Blue - Blueberries
- Green - Spinach, Green Spirulina, Wheatgrass, or Kale
- Brown - Liver, Blackstrap molasses, or All-Natural Peanut butter
- Deep purple - Blackberries
- Black - Mashed black beans
Pay Close Attention to Frosting
Although no Halloween party would be the same without it, frosting is not a dog-friendly presence on treats and unless you have made it yourself, or know its ingredients, should not be fed to canines. Frosting’s typically high concentration of AFCs means that a safer, all-natural replacement should be mixed specifically for dogs, rather than allowing them to share in left-over human treats. Fortunately, we have an easy, canine-safe frosting recipe for you to mix up for them before the guests arrive!
Prep time: 5 minutes.
Ingredients: 1 (4 oz.) packet of low-fat cream cheese, flavoring (e.g., 1 Tbsp. of maple syrup, honey, or pumpkin).
How to prepare: Allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature and whip it with the chosen flavoring ingredient until smooth and creamy. Use a piping bag or a spatula to decorate treats.
Prep time: 5 minutes.
Ingredients: 1 (4 oz.) package of low-fat cream cheese, 3 tsp. pure pumpkin.
How to prepare: Allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature and mix with the pumpkin until smooth and creamy. Use a piping bag or a spatula to decorate treats.
8 Scrumptious Dog Treat Recipes for Halloween
Now that we have our all-natural dyes and cream cheese frosting ready to go, let’s get down to business and concoct eight of our most delicious, canine-friendly Halloween treats:
Ingredients: 4 cups oats, 1 cup millet (or barley), 1 cup whole wheat flour, 4 eggs with shells, 1/2 cup safflower oil, 1/2 cup molasses, 2 Tbsp. local raw honey, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 cup pumpkin, 1/4 cup boiling water.
How to prepare: Sprayyour chosen pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix everything, then bake at 350°F— 10-15 minutes for cupcake pans and 45-60 minutes for 9x13 pans. If your dog prefers crispier treats, turn the oven off and leave them in for an additional 10-30 minutes.
- Protein: 7.18%
- Fat: 11.91%
- Ash: 1.28%
- Fiber: 4.83%
- Net Carbs: 37.76%
- Total kcal in recipe: 3,318
- Kcal per gram: 2.59
Prep time: 15 minutes plus freezing time.
Ingredients: 32 oz. plain or vanilla full-fat yogurt, 1 package blueberries, water, strawberry jam.
How to prepare: Place the strawberries in ice cube trays. Whisk together yogurt and water until the mix reaches a pourable consistency. Pour the mix over the strawberries and freeze, then serve.
Ingredients: 2/3 cup organic pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut butter), 2 large eggs, 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour.
How to prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the pumpkin puree, the peanut butter, and the eggs with an electric mixer while gradually adding flour for about two minutes until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead the dough 3-4 times on a lightly floured surface until it comes together. Roll the dough to a ¼-inch thickness, then use cookie cutters to cut the desired shapes. Place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Allow the treats to cool, then serve.
Ingredients: 1/3 cup coconut oil, 2-3 Tbsp. natural peanut butter, 2 1/2 cups rolled organic oats, 1/3 cup finely shredded organic coconut.
How to prepare: Mix coconut oil, peanut butter, and rolled oats together until well combined. Scoop out the mix with a spoon and roll into little balls. Sprinkle the balls with shredded coconut. Refrigerate on a tray lined with baking paper for 30 minutes and serve.
Ingredients for approx. 20 treats: 2 Tbsp. canola oil, 1/2 cup peanut butter (all-natural or organic), 1 cup water, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups white flour.
How to prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix canola oil, peanut butter, and water together. Add both flour types to create the dough. Wrap in plastic and leave for approx. 30 minutes. Roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Sprinkle with peanuts and press them into the mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then cool. Store in a jar with a tight lid and feed to your dog as a treat.
Ingredients: 1-2 small bananas, 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt, 1/2 cup pumpkin.
How to prepare: Fill ice cube trays ⅓ with yogurt and freeze. Mix ½ cup yogurt with pumpkin and pour ⅔ over the frozen yogurt, then freeze. Mash bananas and mix with remaining yogurt, then pour over the frozen pumpkin layer. Freeze again and serve.
Prep time: 50 minutes.
Ingredients for 12 servings: 2 cups water, 1/4 cups apple sauce, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 egg, 4 Tbsp. honey, 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 cup chopped apples (about 1 apple).
How to prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk water, apple sauce, vanilla, egg, and honey together in a bowl. Mix the ingredients with the whole wheat flour and the baking powder. Fold in the chopped apples, then spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins. Bake for 35 minutes, then allow to cool. Store in an airtight container and serve.
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cake ingredients: 1 3/4 cup almond flour, 2 Tbsp. raw honey, 3 eggs, 2-3 Tbsp. coconut oil, A handful of chopped organic strawberries/blueberries, and a couple extra for the topping.
Icing ingredients: 1 cup organic plain yogurt (with low sugar content), 2-3 Tbsp. almond butter or natural peanut butter.
How to prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the cake ingredients in a blender until smooth. Fold in the berries. Pour the mixture 3/4 into ramekin dishes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then cool. Mix the yogurt and the butter until smooth. Spread the icing onto the cake and garnish with berries of your choice.
A Parting Reminder
This year, your canine will share in the celebration of Halloween with their scrumptious, 100% natural dog treats, devoid of AFCs or any other harmful chemicals. We hope that you will try as many of these Halloween treat recipes as possible. Your dog is sure to love them and wish that Halloween would never end! For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us or check out our blog!