International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
Also known as
National Dog Biscuit Day
annually on February 23rd
Dogs bark with joy today, because this holiday is for them, and it's celebrated by giving them biscuits. Dog biscuits are hard and dry and usually shaped like bones. Their color often reflects their flavor; common flavors include beef, chicken, turkey, and bacon. They are often fortified with vitamins and minerals and are formulated to be digestible, nutritious, and palatable for dogs. Low-fat varieties are available for overweight dogs, and varying sizes are available. Dog biscuits are used as rewards during training, or as treats in general. It is thought that more than half of dog owners give their dogs treats such as biscuits.
Early dog treats and dog food consisted of old bread, food scraps, rotting leftovers, and hard biscuits of grain, such as hardtack. But it all began to change after Ohio electrician James Spratt took a trip to England to sell lightning rods in 1860. He saw dogs scavenging for food and being given hardtack, and decided he would come up with something that could be a primary food source for them. He created "Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes" made of meat, vegetables, and grains. These turned out to not be cheap, however, and the target consumers were the country gentlemen of England who had dogs. But, by 1895, Spratt's biscuits were being sold in the United States.
In 1907, American inventor Carleton Ellis came up with the idea of making dog biscuits into the shape of a bone. A slaughterhouse had asked him to come up with something to do with "waste milk," and he came up with a milk-based biscuit. His dog didn't care for it much until he shaped it liked a bone. The following year, the F.H. Bennett Biscuit Company of New York began selling the biscuits, which along with the cow's milk had minerals and meat products as ingredients. Their name was Malatoid until 1915 when it was changed to Milk-Bone.
Nabisco Biscuit Company eventually acquired the Milk-Bone, and it was the preeminent dog biscuit until the end of the 1960s when other manufacturers started coming out with similar products. After World War II, there was a shift from using dog biscuits for meals to using them for desserts and treats. They were eventually also marketed as being useful for giving dogs cleaner teeth and fresher breath. On International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, or any day, dogs don't really care what benefits biscuits give them, they just know they love them!
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by buying or making some dog biscuits for your dog or the dogs of others! If you can't decide which type of biscuits to get, you probably can't go wrong by getting the original bone-shaped biscuit, the Milk-Bone!