International Dog Biscuit Day is a bone-a-fide holiday that canines adore! Cookie or treat, a dog biscuit by any other name is still a pleasure to your pet’s palate. Dog biscuits tend to be made of various flours and grains, flavored with meaty and vegetable goodness, and baked into hard, dry circles, squares or even flat bone shapes. Available in many flavors, colors, shapes and sizes, the world’s largest dog biscuit, baked by Hampshire Pet Products, weighed in at 617 lbs. (279.87 kg), 2,000 times larger than average dog biscuit! Whether used as training treats, to promote oral health by scraping off plaque and tartar, or just to tell your dog you love him, the dog treats of today are definitely not your dog’s granddaddy’s biscuits!
During the height of the Roman Empire, low quality bread, deemed “unfit for human consumption,” was referred to as “dog bread” and fed to stray and companion dogs. Over the centuries, it transformed into the treats we give our own pooches today. Of note in this transformation from rotten bread to fine treat, is James Spratt of Cincinnati, who is the mid-19th Century, travelled to England and observed dogs scavenging on hardtack (the cracker-like rations made to sustain soldiers). He quickly came up with a prototype biscuit made of meat, grains and vegetables that would provide hunting dogs, of the country gentlemen, the extra energy they needed for a day in the field. Spratt patented the idea and marketed his “Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes,” and they eventually made their way to the States.
A few years later, an American inventor named Carleton Ellis, was asked by a slaughterhouse to come up with a use for “waster milk,” so he devised the milk-based biscuit we have all heard of and that dog’s love, and put the finishing touch on it by shaping it into a bone. The F.H. Bennett Biscuit Company of New York then began selling the biscuits they called “Malatoid” until 1915 when the product name was changed to “Milk Bone.” Nabisco Biscuit Company eventually acquired these bone-shaped treats, and dominated the marked for the next decade or more until they were purchased by the National Biscuit Company (aka Nabisco). After World War II, the focus shifted from making biscuits as a meal or supplement, to more of a dessert snack or treat for dogs. Still, the Milk Bone remained the preeminent dog biscuit until the end of the 1960s when other manufacturers jumped on the dog treat bandwagon producing similar products.
Today, there’s no need to search far for a new and different dog biscuit on the market. Many are considered nutritious with additional benefits such as keeping teeth clean, aiding with arthritis, being lower fat or for restricted diets. Regardless, the dog biscuit industry is big business, but has come a long way from the stale bread, food scraps, rotten leftovers and hard grains that were once savored by canine companions.
Ways to Celebrate
Here are some GRRReat ways to make International Dog Biscuit Day a special celebration for the dog in your life.
- Set up a date for all your pooch’s friends and invite each pet parent to bring small samples of their dog’s favorite treat to share.
- Host a biscuit making party for humans and dogs alike. You know you will have plenty of taste testers ready and able!
- Ask your local animal shelter if you may purchase or make homemade treats for all of the dogs in their care. It would be a feel-good for you, and so doggone appreciated by dogs looking for a special friend and desirous of a special treat!
Here are a couple recipes to try your paw, eh, hand at:
APPLE CARROT DOG COOKIES
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 ½ cups Brown Rice Flour or other healthy, gluten-free flour
1/2 cup Oatmeal (uncooked)
1 Tablespoon Molasses
½ cup peeled and grated/shredded raw carrot
1 apple, cored (not peeled) and grated or cooked till soft
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup coconut, grapeseed or vegetable oil
¼ cup water if needed (apple often creates enough juice)
Mix together and roll out and cut out with cookie cutters OR…
Form into small balls and flatten with a moist fork.
Bake 40-45 minutes until apple juice is soaked up and biscuits are firm
Store in air-tight container 5-7 days if cool environment, or keep in ziplock bag in refrigerator.
PEANUT BUTTER/COCONUT OIL NO BAKE DOG TREATS
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter (xylitol- & sugar alcohols-free)
2 ½ cups Rolled Oats
½ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- Add Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter and Rolled Oats to food processor and mix until well combined.
- Scoop out bite sized pieces with a spoon and roll into little balls.
- Gently roll each ball in the shredded coconut.
- Place on a flat tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes till firm. Store in refrigerator.
Denise Fleck is the Pet Safety Crusader™ having personally taught more than 31,000 humans to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better. Her mission is to help YOU make a difference in the life of an animal through Pet First-Aid, Senior Pet Care and Disaster Preparedness classes and books. Learn more at www.PetSafetyCrusader.com