A: As we come up to the holiday season, where the color red is featured quite a bit when it comes to icings and frostings, this question surfaces. The reader wonders if there is a problem with this particular color being difficult for dogs to digest.
Let's clear up the issues about RED coloring.
Backhund dog bakery in Austria made these decorated dog treats using Fido's Frosting brand Royal Icing. These "gingerbread men" are really liver and carrot!
|Liver carrot dog cake from Backhund dog bakery decorated with Fido's Royal Icing|
Red dye # 2 was linked to cancer after laboratory rats (that were fed very large amounts of it) developed cancers. A panic regarding red food coloring was started due to this. Even red M&M's were discontinued at the time, even though it is reported that the candy never contained this coloring.
Later, red dye # 40, which was substituted, was blamed for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but there has been no conclusive evidence that there is a link.
The red coloring is used as a decoration, not as a full entree, so your dog is not going to be consuming large amounts. It just may be that the color red, which in nature does signal danger (e.g. poisonous snakes, insects and plants often have red coloring) has a psychological effect on some people in the same way.
If it truly was dangerous, it would be pulled off the shelves, due to so much public scrutiny. In conclusion, there is no need to worry, and you should enjoy making beautiful holiday dog treats using red dog treat icing and royal icing
for dogs if you wish!