Wednesday, 31 January 2018

{RECIPE} All Natural Hot Pink Valentine Gummy Dog Treats

These bright pink gelatin gummy dog treats get the pretty pink from combining our go-to simple stock base with plain yogurt and beetroot powder. They only take a few minutes to make (plus set time) and are something that I feel great about giving to our boys as a treat since they are jam packed with healthy goodness. 

We started giving our senior Oli a sprinkle of high-quality gelatin on his food (I use Great Lakes) and in gummy treats to help with his ageing joints and mobility issues (along with a variety of other natural and medial support) and so  Humphrey gets a sprinkle or a treat too. Fair is fair after all, and prevention is better than senior treatment. The purported health benefits of gelatin for dogs are similar to humans: supporting healthy cartilage and connective tissue, countering "leaky gut" and maintaining a healthy balanced digestive system, reducing inflammation and joint pain, supporting cardiovascular health, aiding detox and liver health, aiding weight control by increasing saiety, and improved skin, hair, and nails. Sounds pretty good, right?

Wild carnivores get plenty of collagen from the skin, ligaments, tendons, and bones of their prey. Since my boys do their hunting around our freezer, refrigerator, and bickie boxes, adding bone broth and gelatin supplements their domestic diet. Sprinkling works well, but turning their daily gelatin guilt-free treats is pretty awesome, too!  I also find that Oli seems to get greater mobility benefit from having a few treats over the course of the day than the sprinkle - I'm not sure if it's the distribution or or perhaps better absorption disparate to meals. Either way, win win treaties in!  We'll be sharing easy gummy treat ideas regularly here on the blog and for the gummy haters (my boys are wild for them, but some dogs dislike the texture) we're working sneaky gelatin into some of our non-gummy baked, no-bake, and frozen treats too so stay tuned for more ideas!

Note: These treats are made in two stages to preserve the probiotic content of the yogurt. Beneficial bacteria can't survive high temperatures, but will rejuvenate from chilled/frozen.  This is also helpful for allowing you to see the gelatin fully bloom and then dissolve in your stock/water. Whether they are all-natural or mostly natural depends on your yogurt choice, but they're good either way (see tips below on yogurt). If your yogurt is thick, you can create a thinner mixture with yogurt and water before mixing to help avoid pesky lumps in your gummy mix. Beetroot powder can be added at any time, but adding is last allows you to see the colour for customisation.  

All Natural Hot Pink Valentine Gummy Dog Treats

3/4 cup low sodium stock (pale works best for tinting) or cold water
3 to 3.5 tbsp plain gelatin powder
1/4 Cup low fat plain yogurt
1+ tsp of beetroot power (adjust quantity to suit your preferences for flavour and colour)

Measure stock/water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the surface with gelatin powder and let sit for approximately five minutes or longer for the gelatin powder to 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, as this can reduce the setting strength of your gelatin.  Remove from heat. Check that your liquid temperature is below 50C (120F) to protect your probiotic content (allow to cool a little if needed), then add the yogurt and stir to thoroughly combine. Mix in beetroot power to tint. Pour into your molds and chill to set fully before removing from molds.

Tips and Tricks:
  • Remember to go natural or take care when shopping to avoid artificial sweeteners in ingredients like yogurt for your dogs – xylitol (also identified as sweetener E967) is particularly dangerous for dogs.  If you are using a thick-style yogurt, you may find it helpful to water it down for easier mixing. I also find measuring the yogurt and letting it sit to warm a bit while I prep the rest of the gummy base can be handy for smoother blending than straight cold yogurt.
  • If your dog is sensitive to dairy, you can use an alternative ingredient such as lactose-free milk or coconut milk to turn your stock base white/opaque, or skip it and use stock to make a basic red gummy.  You can also check out our other gummy recipes for alternative ideas.
  • These are firm gummies, since I like to supplement my dogs with gelatin, especially my senior.  If you prefer, you can use less gelatin for a jigglier jelly treat. Individual gelatin powders may be a little stronger/weaker. Find a ratio that works for your preferences and, of course, your dog.
  • Yield will depend on your treat size and thickness. Volumes are easily scaled.  If you want a precise measure of a specific pan/mold capacity, you can do a test pour from a measuring cup of water to measure the volume required to fill.
  • If you're using shaped pans, keep them simple for easy breakage-free removal. I find that flexible molds work best as stiff molds can be tricky for removal. Supple silicon molds are tricky to move when full of liquid, so place of a portable surface to help you get things into the fridge without mess and stress.
  • Once set, they are now ready to eat, but for an even better "real" gummy texture/feel, after you have taken the treats out of the mold (or cut into pieces from your pan), return them to the refrigerator on a plate/tray uncovered to dry for a day before normal container storage.
  • These treats should be kept refrigerated and can be frozen for longer storage, although this can affect consistency. If gummies are frozen, I find that defrosting in the fridge uncovered on a plate or dishtowel helps to make sure that they thaw semi-dry instead of getting a little slippery. Freezing causes gelatin to separate which tends to bleed out some liquid content in addition to condensation factors. 

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes here. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes/dislikes) and dietary needs. 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.

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